Tax Break

Essential reading: Global focus on taxing the rich, tax day crashes, and more

April 11, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak about tax fairness and the economy at Florida Atlantic University, April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Soaking the rich might not be a panacea. Vanessa Houlder – The Financial Times. The super rich are under fire across much of the developed world. U.S. President Barack Obama is on the road this week promoting the “Buffett rule”, a minimum tax on millionaires. In France, François Hollande is proposing a 75 per cent tax rate on the rich. In Britain, George Osborne, chancellor, has expressed shock at evidence showing the scale of tax planning by some of the wealthiest people in the country. Link

*Obama to enlist millionaires in Buffett Rule campaign. Margaret Talev – Bloomberg News. President Barack Obama is intensifying his campaign for higher taxes on top U.S. earners, casting the issue against Republican opposition as one of fairness and support for the middle class. Link

*UBS fends off lawsuit of billionaire tax evader. Lynnley Browning – Reuters. A U.S. federal judge ruled on Tuesday in favor of Swiss bank UBS AG in a lawsuit brought by Igor Olenicoff, a billionaire former client who ran afoul of tax collectors and tried to blame the bank. Olenicoff accused the bank of fraud in handling some $200 million he kept in offshore accounts, claiming that UBS had wrongfully advised him that he did not have to report them to the IRS. Link

*EU CO2 law could scupper global climate talks-India. Krittivas Mukherjee – Reuters. A European Union law that charges airlines for carbon emissions is “a deal-breaker” for global climate change talks, India’s environment minister said, hardening her stance on a scheme that has drawn fierce opposition from non-EU governments. Link

*Nortel accounting change made to avoid rewriting press release, court told. Janet McFarland – The Globe and Mail. Senior officials at Nortel Networks Corp. scrambled to change an accounting provision and bolster income for the fourth quarter of 2002 to avoid having to rewrite a media release that had already been prepared, a Toronto court heard Tuesday. Three former top executives stand accused of manipulating Nortel’s accounting reserves to push the company into profitability and trigger special “return to profitability” bonuses for executives. Link

* Fatal traffic accidents more common on tax day. Amina Khan – The Los Angeles Times. Deaths from traffic accidents rise 6 percent on tax day, says a study. Stress is a likely culprit. Link

* What’s a ‘fair’ tax for the mega millionaires? Brian J. Gaines and Douglas Rivers – The Wall Street Journal Opinion. Polls often show that the public favors raising taxes on “the rich,” “millionaires” or “families earning over $250,000.” Yet advocates of more progressive taxes rarely say exactly what would be a fair rate of taxes. According to a recent poll most Americans do not think that 35 percent or anything close is a fair tax rate, even for windfalls such as winning a lottery. Link

* Mr. Obama and the ‘Buffett Rule’ – New York Times Opinion. President Obama accomplished two things when he made the case on Tuesday for the so-called Buffett Rule, which would require millionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. He persuasively argued that it would be a step toward fairness in a tax code tilted in favor of the wealthiest Americans. It also allowed him to take a shot at his opponent, Mitt Romney, both personally and politically. Link

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