Tax Break

Essential reading: Tax offer pits big companies against small, and more

December 13, 2012

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

 * Tax offer for firms pits big vs. small. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The Obama administration’s offer to revamp the corporate tax code as part of the “fiscal cliff” budget talks raises the prospect that tax rates for large and small companies could diverge significantly. Link  

* Boehner tries to contain defections on fiscal unity. Jonathan Weisman – The New York Times. Speaker John A. Boehner moved Wednesday to maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership and some pragmatists pressed for quick accommodation on tax rate increases on the rich. Link

 * Executives push for ‘fiscal cliff’ deal, even if their tax concerns have to wait. Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. The business executives, while unenthusiastic about higher taxes, say that avoiding the “fiscal cliff” is their No. 1 priority and that many other key issues can be taken care of in broader tax reform negotiations they hope would take place next year. Link  

* Lobbying on taxes usually pays dividends. T.M. Farnam – The Washington Post. One group of accountants, from the University of Mississippi and the University of Nebraska, found that companies that invest in lobbying pay roughly one percentage point less in taxes. Link

* Income malaise of middle class complicates Democrats’ stance in talks. Annie Lowrey – The New York Times. Many Democrats have derided the expiring tax cuts as irresponsible since President George W. Bush signed them a decade ago. Yet the party is united in pushing to make the vast majority of them permanent, even though President Obama could ensure their expiration at year’s end with a simple veto. Link  

* Effort to save German-Swiss tax deal fails. James Shotter – The Financial Times. The landmark Swiss-German tax deal designed to regularize the estimated 200 billion euros ($260.80 billion)of undeclared German assets hidden in Swiss bank accounts has finally collapsed, after a last-ditch attempt to save it failed in the German parliament. Link  

* Fixing the tax code at the cliff’s edge. George Will – The Washington Post. Washington, with its (at most) one-track mind, is fixated on the “Bush tax rates” but cannot even accurately describe its monomania. It actually is the Bush-Obama rates. Link  

* Coffee break. Oliver Bullough – The New York Times opinion. Over the past three years, economic growth in the U.K. has been almost nonexistent, the government has cut spending on almost everything, yet Starbucks sold close to $1.9 billion worth of coffee and food, and paid less tax on its income than one of its baristas. The appearance of unfairness has touched a nerve. Link

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