Tax Break

Essential reading: Swiss court hampers U.S. tax deal, “Reagan rule,” and more

April 12, 2012

Then-U.S president Ronald Reagan, October 19, 1983 REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

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

* Swiss court ruling hampers a tax deal. David Jolly – The New York Times. In a setback for efforts to end a tax dispute between the United States and Switzerland, a Swiss court announced on Wednesday that Credit Suisse could not turn over account data of its American clients to the United States tax authorities because doing so would violate the terms of a 1996 tax treaty between the two countries. Link  

* Obama dubs tax plan ‘Reagan rule’. James Politi and Richard McGregor – The Financial Times. Barack Obama suggested Ronald Reagan would be sympathetic to a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, saying the so-called “Buffett rule” could be renamed the “Reagan rule” in the Republican icon’s honor. Link 

* Groupon accounting problems put spotlight on board. Dena Aubin – Reuters. Groupon Inc, the online coupon company that floated just months ago in the strongest IPO in years, has had recurring accounting problems that critics say show a need for more financial sophistication on its board. Link  

*SEC files suit against third Chinese company. Michael Rapoport – The Wall Street Journal. U.S. regulators sued a Chinese commercial-vehicle company and 11 investors Wednesday over alleged stock manipulation, ratcheting up pressure on U.S.-traded Chinese firms with accounting problems or other issues. The SEC alleges the company and the investors boosted trading in AutoChina stock to make it seem more active than it really was to make it easier for the company to get financing. Link  

* French rich look to London as tax fears grow. Chris Vellacott – Reuters. The plushest neighborhoods of central London are attracting increased interest from a new wave of super-rich migrants from France, scared by a rising tide of tax threats from presidential candidates as the election campaign comes to a climax. French socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande has said he will target the rich with a 75 percent tax rate on annual incomes above $1.3 million. Link  

* Indonesia’s industry minister wants mining export tax soon. Matthew Bigg and Yayat Supriatna – Reuters. Indonesia should quickly impose a tax on mining exports, the industry minister of the world’s top exporter of thermal coal and refined tin said on Thursday. Government officials say a 25 percent tax on mining exports is being considered for this year and a 50 percent tax for next year. Link  

* Taxed by the boss. David Cay Johnston – Reuters. Across the United States more than 2,700 companies are collecting state income taxes from hundreds of thousands of workers – and are keeping the money with the states’ approval, says an eye-opening report published on Thursday. Link 

* A millionaire for higher taxes. Whitney Tilson – The Washington Post Opinion. A hedge fund manager argues the country is running enormous and unsustainable budget deficits that will bankrupt the country if they are not narrowed — and there is no way to do that without both cutting spending and raising revenue. Everyone is going to have to make sacrifices. Link  

*The Obama rule – The Wall Street Journal Opinion. This week the Obama Administration officially endorsed the idea that taxes must be high simply to spread the wealth, never mind the impact on the economy or government revenue. The Obama Treasury’s own numbers confirm that the tax would raise at most $5 billion a year. Link

($1 = 0.7644 euros)



  * IRS audits may dip this year because of staffing shifts. Kevin McCoy – USA Today. Coping with federal budget cuts, a hiring freeze, staffing reductions, an increasingly complex tax code and a surge in tax refund identity fraud, the IRS has found it harder to fulfill its mission of detecting and stopping fraud while responding to taxpayer needs. Link

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