Tax Break

Essential reading: Pension managers become opportunistic amid volatility, and more

September 25, 2012

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

* Pension managers become opportunistic amid volatility-survey. Min Zeng – The Wall Street Journal. Greater volatility after the 2008 global financial crisis has conquered and divided the investing community. The latest report from a global survey of investors by asset management firm Principal Global Investors and U.K.-based consultancy CREATE-Research indicated that while retail investors have become more conservative, professional managers have responded with a more dynamic, opportunistic approach. Link  

* New York Attorney General rebuffs Congressional Republicans. Nicholas Confessore – The New York Times. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York on Monday rebuffed demands from Congressional Republicans to refrain from requesting tax returns and other information from tax-exempt groups that have spent heavily on campaign ads. In a letter to Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Schneiderman asserted the right to request federal tax documents from such groups and subpoena them if necessary. Link

* Ad attacks Romney on taxes, secret video. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The ad says that according to the just-released 2011 Romney tax return, the candidate and his wife “paid just 14.1 percent in taxes last year.” And it says that “he keeps millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands” and won’t release his tax returns before 2010. Link

* Republicans champion ‘voluntary taxes.’ Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives took a break last week from doing nothing to pass a bill to facilitate voluntary taxation. Almost simultaneously, Mitt Romney released his final tax return for 2011, showing that he voluntarily overpaid his taxes by taking less of a deduction for his charitable contributions than he was permitted. Link  

* The 10 percent president. The Wall Street Journal editorial. Liberals continue to claim that the main causes of the current fiscal mess are tax rates established in, er, 2001 and 2003 and the post-9/11 wars on terror. But by 2006 and 2007, those tax rates were producing revenue of 18.2 percent and 18.5 percent of GDP, near historic norms. Another quandary for President Obama’s apologists is that he has endorsed nearly all of these policies. The 2003 Medicare drug benefit wasn’t offset by tax hikes or spending cuts, but Democrats expanded the program as part of ObamaCare. Link  

* Tax on wealth is true to Tory principles. Janan Ganesh – The Financial Times opinion. Nick Clegg has one idea that can claim to be big, distinctive and popular: his enthusiasm for taxing wealth, especially property. The party’s mission to raise the threshold of income tax to 10,000 pounds ($16,200) is proceeding apace, but to little acclaim. This is their own fault. Link

($1 = 0.6174 British pounds)

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