Tax Break

Essential reading: Insiders benefited from special dividends, and more

January 8, 2013

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

* Insiders benefited from special dividends. Maxwell Murphy and Emily Chasan – The Wall Street Journal. Many big companies raced to pay special dividends in the fourth quarter, ahead of potentially large tax increases on cash distributions this year. Most of the one-time payouts, however, came from smaller companies that had higher-than-average ownership by their management, employees and directors. Link 

 * Dealing on a deadline. Carmel Melouney – The Wall Street Journal. With an increase in capital-gains tax looming over the market, commercial property sales volume spurted in the weeks leading up to the new year. Sellers scrambled to close deals, worried that if they waited until 2013 their tax bill on the transactions would be higher. Link 

 * Actor Depardieu denies leaving France for tax reasons. John Irish – Reuters. Film star Gerard Depardieu denied that he was leaving his homeland for tax reasons on Monday, saying that, although he now had a Russian passport, he was still very much French. Link

* Should we tax people for being annoying? Adam Davidson – The New York Times opinion. The idea of raising taxes to help society might sound like the ravings of a left-wing radical, or an idea that would destroy American industry. Yet the nation’s leading proponent of a gas tax is N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and a consultant to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. Link

* Tax increases and bull markets. Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times opinion. I’m not going to pretend that tax increases always lead to bull markets or that tax cuts have no effect. I’m saying only that the relationship between taxes, on the one hand, and the economy and the stock market, on the other, is vastly more complex than simplistic Republican dogma would have us believe. Link

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