Essential reading: Republicans waver over wind tax credit
Good morning and welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Wind-state Republicans in tough spot. Siobhan Hughes – The Wall Street Journal. Mitt Romney‘s opposition to a $5.2 billion wind tax credit is roiling Capitol Hill, where wind-state Republicans are scrambling to figure out how to save the credit without exposing sharp differences with their party’s presidential candidate. Republicans and Democrats had agreed to include the tax break, known as a production tax credit, in a package designed to extend expiring business tax breaks. But after Romney came out against the tax credit, Republicans were put in a tough spot. The result: The tax credit was omitted from a tax-extenders plan announced shortly after midnight that is to be voted on Thursday in the Senate Finance Committee. Link
* House votes to extend tax cuts in symbolic vote. Kim Dixon and David Lawder – Reuters. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a largely symbolic plan to extend all expiring individual income tax cuts, leaving a deep rift over tax policy unresolved until after November’s elections. Link
* Senators reach tentative deal on business tax breaks. Kim Dixon and Roberta Rampton – Reuters. In a rare bipartisan pact, a group of U.S. senators clinched a tentative deal on Wednesday to renew dozens of business tax breaks that have expired or will lapse at year-end. Crafted by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, the plan would also prevent the alternative minimum tax, intended to ensure the rich pay some taxes, from creeping into the tax bite on the middle class. Link
* SocGen chief warns on France finance tax. Scheherazade Daneshku – The Financial Times. France’s new tax on financial transactions, which came into force on Wednesday, risked making European assets less attractive, said Frédéric Oudéa, chairman and chief executive of Société Générale. Oudéa said investors already had fears about the eurozone economy and anything that made the region’s assets less attractive relative to other parts of the world, could put a further brake on investment. Link
* Auditor watchdog: U.S. directors can ask for inspection reports. Dena Aubin – Reuters. In a bid to lift some of the secrecy around U.S. audit firms, a watchdog board on Wednesday told corporate directors that they may seek out non-public information about auditor inspections. U.S. law bars regulators from making public key parts of reports on inspections of audit firms. But the law does not prevent audit committees of corporate boards from seeking the reports from auditors, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said on Wednesday. Link
* The Romney plan for economic recovery. Glenn Hubbard – The Wall Street Journal opinion. The Romney plan would reduce individual marginal income tax rates across the board by 20 percent, while keeping current low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. The governor would also reduce the corporate income tax rate — the highest in the world — to 25 percent. In addition, he would broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral. Link