Tax Break

Essential reading: Ann Romney says no more tax returns, and more

July 20, 2012

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

* Ann Romney: No more tax returns. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, said the Romney campaign won’t be releasing older tax returns in order to block further attacks from President Barack Obama. But Democrats – and some Republicans – are still calling for Romney to release more than two years of tax returns. Link

* Non-partisan report sees no harm in U.S. tax hikes for wealthy. Kim Dixon – Reuters. Letting tax rates for the wealthy rise will not put a short-term damper on the economic recovery, according to a report by the non-partisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. The study by the Congressional Research Service is likely to be used by Democrats in the looming battle over whether to extend tax cuts originally enacted during the administration of President George W. Bush when they expire at the end of the year. Link

* How the division on taxes adds up. Jonathan Weisman – The New York Times. Congress has reached a bitter stalemate over $28 billion. That is the difference in cost between extending all the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire on Jan. 1 for one year and allowing the tax cuts to expire on earnings over $250,000, which the Democrats want, according to a new analysis by Congress’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. It amounts to about 3 percent of the expected trillion-dollar budget deficit this year. Link

* Manufacturers leery of losing breaks for tax rate cut. Patrick Temple-West – Reuters. Manufacturing executives told lawmakers on Thursday they are not ready to trade major tax breaks for a 10-point cut in the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, a key feature in the major Republican proposals for tax reform. Link

* Huron Consulting settles SEC charges over accounting scandal. Jonathan Stempel – Reuters. Huron Consulting Group Inc agreed to pay a $1 million civil fine to settle U.S. regulatory charges over a 2009 accounting scandal that caused its shares to plunge and led to the replacement of its entire management team. The settlement announced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ended a three-year probe. Link

* Even if we go over the fiscal cliff, the Bush tax cuts could be applied retroactively. Suzy Khimm – The Washington Post. Democrats are now threatening to go over the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 if Republicans aren’t willing to agree to tax hikes for the wealthy. Even if legislators still haven’t come to a deal by the fiscal cliff deadline, Congress could decide to restore the tax cuts so they would start Jan. 1. That’s especially likely to happen for the middle-class Bush tax cuts, which both parties support preserving through 2013. Link

* France scraps tax breaks that symbolized Sarkozy era. Brian Love – Reuters. France’s Socialist-dominated parliament voted on Thursday to end tax breaks on overtime work and raise wealth tax, abolishing two cornerstones of the economic policy conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy pursued over the past five years. Link

* Democrats gain the upper hand. The New York Times editorial. Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a member of the Democratic leadership, said Monday that her party was prepared to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire on Jan. 1 if Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy. She is right in refusing Republican demands to end the half of the sequester that cuts $500 billion from defense over a decade, the only leverage Democrats have in preventing much bigger and more painful domestic cuts. Link

* Republicans must return to free-market principles. Paul Ryan – The Financial Times opinion. Unwilling to address the structure of government spending, President Barack Obama is committed to raising taxes. A better approach would be to overhaul the U.S. tax code to make it fair, simple and competitive. Reform should lower tax rates across the board and close special-interest loopholes that go primarily to the well-off. This would encourage equal opportunities for all and allow those on the lower rungs of the ladder the opportunity to rise. Link

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