Tax Break

Essential reading: Early payouts of dividends, bonuses spur a windfall, and more

February 1, 2013

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

 * Early payouts of dividends, bonuses spur a windfall. Josh Mitchell – The Wall Street Journal. Many Americans got a happy financial surprise at the end of last year, as companies pulled forward payouts of dividends and bonuses to beat anticipated January tax increases. Link  

* Exelon to take $270 million charge in tax dispute. Julie Wernau – The Chicago Tribune. The IRS is claiming that ComEd used a financial arrangement called sale-in, lease-out (SILO) in which a tax-exempt entity sells an asset to a private company and leases the asset back, a tax shelter mechanism the IRS decided in 2005 is abusive. Link  

* Staying ahead of the tax man. Catherine Rampell – The New York Times. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that in the quarter companies paid special or accelerated dividends of $39.5 billion, of which $26.4 billion was paid to individuals and so is included in personal income. Link

* The U.S. has some of the lowest energy taxes in the developed world. Brad Plumer – The Washington Post. A big new report from the OECD looks at how developed countries actually tax their energy use and carbon emissions. Link  

* Prius parade protests Gov. McDonnell’s proposed hybrid tax. Errin Haines – The Washington Post. A Prius parade descended on the Virginia Capitol on Thursday in protest of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s proposal to impose a $100 fee on alternative fuel vehicles as part of his legislative package on transportation funding. Link  

* Americans want to raise payroll taxes and Social Security benefits. Dylan Matthews – The Washington Post. Raising the payroll tax cap to include 90 percent of wages would help shore up the Social Security fund’s finances. Link  

* Depardieu vs. Beckham: Is France gaining or losing? The New York Times. French movie star Gerard Depardieu is threatening to flee France for tax reasons while soccer star David Beckham is coming to France to join the Paris Saint Germain soccer team. Link  

* Minnesota’s snowbird tax. The Wall Street Journal editorial. The idea is to tax nonresidents on their income from stocks, bonds, capital gains and dividends if they spend at least 60 days in Minnesota a year. Link

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