Tax Break

Essential reading: Manhattan, where everything is lavish except the property taxes, and more

October 16, 2012

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

 * Where everything is lavish except the property taxes. Elizabeth Harris – The New York Times. The shimmering limestone tower at 15 Central Park West, where apartments routinely trade for upward of $20 million, has become symbolic of the most luxurious upper reaches of New York’s real estate market. Yet despite the residential portion of that Manhattan building is officially valued by the city, for tax purposes, at only $332 per square foot. Link  

* Treasurers worry over accounting for money fund changes. Emily Chasan – The Wall Street Journal. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner moved to reintroduce money market reforms last month, corporate treasurers who invest in the funds are focused on how structural changes might complicate accounting for them. Corporate treasurers are planning for various scenarios, but are getting stumped on accounting issues, Ronni Horillo, assistant treasurer at Google, said on a panel at the Association for Financial Professionals conference in Miami on Monday. Link  

* CEOs urge compromise on U.S. fiscal cliff debt. David Lawder – Reuters. Corporate chief executives ramped up their calls on Monday for Congress to reach a compromise deal that keeps the looming “fiscal cliff” from crushing the U.S. economy and starts to shrink U.S. debt levels. CEOs of some of the largest U.S. companies said that Congress will need to raise taxes on the wealthy and cut federal benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security to effectively shrink federal debt and safeguard economic growth. Link  

* Fed’s Williams says U.S. must get fiscal house in order. Ann Saphir – Reuters. The United States must trim the deficit and control the national debt, but take care not to jeopardize the recovery by moving too fast or cutting critical areas of government spending, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday. The economic outlook is threatened by the possibility of the looming “fiscal cliff” he said. Link  

* Revolt brews over council tax overhaul. Sarah Neville and Jim Pickard – The Financial Times. A Liberal Democrat revolt over what one peer termed the “new poll tax” was in prospect on Monday as critics warned that a proposed overhaul of council tax relief would deepen the economic pressure facing low-income families. The rebellion involves plans to cut council tax relief and give local authorities power to set their own eligibility criteria from April 2013 as part of its broader drive to cut billions from the welfare bill. Link  

* Romney’s tax plan and economic growth. Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times. In principle, a tax code rewrite that holds revenues constant while lowering marginal tax rates – the rate on the last dollar earned – should increase growth. The income effect results when taxes rise. People have to work and produce more to pay the additional tax in order to have the same amount of disposable income they had previously. Link

* The Solyndra memorial tax break. The Wall Street Journal editorial. Perhaps you thought the Solyndra scandal amounted to a $535 million government loan that will never be repaid. No such luck. In the latest twist, Solyndra’s investors could be rewarded for their failure, thanks to a tax benefit the Administration handed out in a bid to evade political accountability. Link

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