Tax Break

Essential reading: CEOs call for deficit action, and more

October 25, 2012

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

* CEOs call for deficit action. David Wessel – The Wall Street Journal. Chief executives of more than 80 big-name U.S. corporations, from Aetna Inc. to Weyerhaeuser Co., are banding together to pressure Congress to reduce the federal deficit with tax-revenue increases as well as spending cuts. The CEOs who signed the manifesto deem tax increases inevitable no matter which party succeeds at the polls in November. Link

* Tax Policy Center in spotlight for its Romney study. Annie Lowrey – The New York Times. A small nonpartisan research center operated by professed “geeks” has found itself at the center of a rancorous $5 trillion debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. No paper put out during the presidential campaign has proved more controversial than an August study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center, a respected nonprofit that issues studiously detailed tax analyses. Link

* Tax-evasion allegations dog Greece. Philip Pangalos – The Wall Street Journal. A former Greek finance minister on Wednesday accused financial-crime investigators of failing to pursue leads against Greeks who salted away more than 1 billion euros ($1.30 billion) in Swiss bank accounts, fueling a new round of finger-pointing over Athens’ alleged failure to move against wealthy tax dodgers. Tax evasion costs Greece 28 billion euros, according to a study by Margarita Tsoutsoura of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business—an amount equivalent to up to 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Link

* Lawmakers say IRS could sink Alaska’s small airlines. Kathy Stech – The Wall Street Journal. A fight over $1 million in unpaid taxes has already caused Jack Barber to put his Anchorage-based company, Alaska Air Taxi LLC, and its fleet of seven small airplanes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Alaska Senator Mark Begich is accusing the IRS of trying to collect years’ worth of back payments from charter operators for a tax that he says is vaguely defined and shouldn’t be charged at all on certain flights. Link

* Rep. Chris Van Hollen: Save the payroll tax cut. Suzy Khimm – The Washington Post. “Everyone would agree the economy remains fragile. This should be considered for another year,” Van Hollen said of the payroll taxcut, which is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31 as part of the fiscal cliff. Link

* Brown’s tax plan falls below 50 percent in poll. Wyatt Buchanan – The San Francisco Chronicle. Support for the ballot measure Gov. Jerry Brown is touting as crucial to averting huge cuts in public schools and universities has fallen below the 50 percent majority needed for passage, according to a poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California. The survey found support for Proposition 30 at 48 percent among likely voters, with 44 percent opposed. Link

* Australia defends budget numbers after mine tax shortfall. Reuters. Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan on Thursday defended the latest government revenue projections after a media report said that a controversial new mining tax had generated no revenue in its first three months. The Australian newspaper said global mining giants reported no liability under the tax by last Monday’s quarterly deadline, putting at risk the government’s promise to return a budget surplus this financial year. Link 

($1 = 0.7711 euros)

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