Tax Break

Essential reading: Congress seeking ways to raise taxes but leave tax rate as is, and more

November 23, 2012

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

 * Seeking ways to raise taxes but leave tax rate as is. Jonathan Weisman – The New York Times. Congressional negotiators, trying to avert a fiscal crisis in January, are examining ideas that would allow effective tax rates to rise for the wealthy without technically raising the top tax rate of 35 percent. They hope the proposals will advance negotiations by allowing both parties to claim they stood their ground. Link  

* Boehner comments show tough road ahead for ‘fiscal cliff’ talks. Roberta Rampton – Reuters. New comments from top Republican lawmaker John Boehner slamming healthcare reforms illustrate how hard it will be for Washington to reach a deficit reduction deal when talks resume next week, analysts said on Thursday. Link  

* Higher gas-tax idea joins fiscal-cliff talks. Josh Mitchell – The Wall Street Journal. States and business advocates are maneuvering to use the current budget negotiations in Washington to win support for a long-sought increase in the federal gasoline tax—one of a grab bag of proposals various groups are seeking to tuck into a deal. Link  

* Republican shift on taxes masks a divided party. The Los Angeles Times. Lisa Mascaro – The Los Angeles Times. When Republicans in Congress say they are willing to put tax revenues on the table in budget talks with President Obama, that offer obscures a divide within their ranks that could thwart a year-end fiscal compromise. Link  

* IRS: Tax rates for wealthiest fall again in 2010. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Effective tax rates fell for high-income households in 2010, continuing a long-term trend that is fueling momentum for rewriting tax rules. Link to The Wall Street Journal, http://r.reuters.com/zax24t

 * Tax reform might start with a look back to ’86. Floyd Norris – The New York Times opinion. Republican President Ronald Reagan was the last president to preside over a significant tax reform, one that did exactly what both candidates in this year’s presidential election said they want to do: lower tax rates and close loopholes. Link  

* Politicking from the pulpit and the tax man. David Skell – The Wall Street Journal opinion. For four years, a Christian group called the Alliance Defending Freedom tried to get courts to review a law that prohibits churches from electioneering. The alliance’s strategy was to goad the IRS into enforcing the law, but the IRS wouldn’t bite. Last week, however, a secular group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation may have forced the IRS’s hand by suing it for this same failure to enforce. Link

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