Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Groups targeted by IRS tested rules on politics. Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo – The New York Times. A close examination of some conservative groups and others reveals an array of election activities that tax experts and former IRS officials said would provide a legitimate basis for flagging them for closer review. Link
* High-end health plans scale back to avoid ‘Cadillac tax’. Reed Abelson – The New York Times. Companies hoping to avoid the tax are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered and to look harder for ways to bring down the overall cost of care. Link
* In tax overhaul debate, large vs small companies. Graham Bowley – The New York Times. Some of the biggest companies in the United States are fighting for a cut in the official corporate tax rate. But the nation’s millions of small businesses fear they will be the ones paying for it. Link
* States’ rift on taxes widens. Mark Peters – The Wall Street Journal. Minnesota’s move to raise new taxes puts it among a handful of states controlled by Democrats that are adopting more liberal fiscal policies at a time when many Republican-dominated statehouses are pushing to cut taxes. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lois Lerner, an Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the scandal over the agency’s extra scrutiny of conservative groups, was put on administrative leave on Thursday after she refused to resign, a U.S. senator said.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said new acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel was the one who asked for Lerner’s resignation.
* Push on corporate tax rules goes global. Howard Schneider – The Washington Post. A global effort to tighten corporate tax rules is gaining momentum as politicians in Europe and the United States take aim at American tech giants whose savvy use of international tax laws has provoked a public backlash. Link
* Europe pushes to shed stigma of a tax haven. Andrew Higgins – The New York Times. There is relentless pressures being piled on opaque money centers around the world amid a sweeping global assault on tax evasion and the secrecy that enables it. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three congressional hearings during the past week have allowed lawmakers to vent their anger at the U.S. tax agency for its targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny, but the sessions have yielded few answers about who was responsible.
The frustration on Capitol Hill seemed to reach a crescendo on Wednesday when Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official who first acknowledged the targeting – and the day’s star witness before a House panel – refused to testify.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Internal Revenue Service official at the center of a tax scandal about extra scrutiny of conservative groups told a congressional hearing on Wednesday she had done nothing wrong but asserted her constitutional right not to answer questions.
“I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws,” Lois Lerner, head of the IRS tax-exempt unit, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made no apology on Tuesday for the iPad maker saving billions of dollars in U.S. taxes through Irish subsidiaries and told lawmakers that his company backs corporate tax reform, even though it may end up paying more.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found that Apple in 2012 alone avoided paying $9 billion in U.S. taxes, using a strategy involving three offshore units with no discernible tax home, or “residence.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Apple Inc’s chief executive officer defended the company’s tax record at a Tuesday Senate hearing where lawmakers said the maker of iPads, iPods and Mac computers kept billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries to avoid U.S. taxes.
The hearing marked another foray by the Senate’s most powerful investigative committee into corporate offshore tax avoidance, which is increasingly a target of many governments from the United States to Western Europe.
WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) – Apple Inc came under
fire on Tuesday at a Senate hearing over an investigation that
alleged the U.S. high technology icon has kept billions of
dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries and paid little or no
taxes to any government.
“Apple effectively shifts billions of dollars in profits
offshore, profits that under one section of the tax code should
nonetheless be subject to U.S. taxes, but through a complex
process avoids those taxes,” said Senator Carl Levin.
WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, May 20 (Reuters) – Using an
unusual global tax structure, Apple Inc has kept
billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries to pay
little or no taxes to any government, a U.S. Senate report on
the company’s offshore tax structure said on Monday.
In a 40-page memorandum released a day before Apple CEO Tim
Cook is scheduled to testify before Congress, the Senate’s
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations identified three
subsidiaries that have no “tax residency” in Ireland, where they
are incorporated, or in the United States, where company
executives manage those companies.