Tax Break

Tax clips from the Web: Best states for business tax, slow IRS returns and a very wealthy candidate

January 30, 2012

Politics!

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns to the public, shedding some light on what puts him among America’s top income earners. This chart on CNNMoney has been making the rounds all week, showing tax breakdowns for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and President Obama.

Anyone who was expecting Romney’s 2010 tax filing to expose the candidate for unscrupulous manipulations of the tax law was delivered a goose egg. The returns did show a tax rate of 13.9 percent for the multimillionaire, but due to the laws on taxation of investment income, this was exactly the amount that Mr. and Mrs. Romney were required to pay, Forbes’s Tax Girl blog writes.

Is something of a seismic shift happening in American rhetoric over taxes? Politico polled members of Congress this week and found that Democrats largely agree with the sentiment that tax increases are now needed to address an expanding gap between wealth levels in the U.S. This suggests the tax issue may have the potential to remake the campaigns for many Democrats, including the president.

State by state

Tax Prof blog pointed out a study that was released by the Tax Foundation on Wednesday, which ranked the 50 states based on their climate for business taxes. Number one on the list this year is Wyoming, while the nation’s worst climate for business taxes is in Gov. Chris Christie’s own New Jersey. “It is obvious that the absence of a major tax is a dominant factor in vaulting many of these 10 states to the top of the rankings,” write the authors of the report. Indeed, one or more of the five indices – corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax, and property tax – are often nonexistent in these states.

A more in-depth look at the ways that states levy sales taxes appeared in the New York Times on Thursday in a story about middle-men coupon sites that drive customers to online retailers. Thousands of these companies are in danger now, as “retailers sever relations with thousands of affiliates to avoid having to collect sales tax.”

Returns may be slow

Kay Bell’s Don’t Mess With Taxes blog has a piece about some early tax filers seeing their refunds come back slow-as-molasses, due to some new IRS anti-fraud guidelines.

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