Tax Break

Essential reading: Waiting on the phone for the IRS, and more

February 5, 2013

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

 * Tactics for getting the IRS on the phone. Ann Carrns – The New York Times. Millions of people call the IRS each year. Last tax season, the average wait time to speak to a live representative was 17 minutes, up from 12 minutes in 2011, the Government Accountability Office found. Link

 * James Tobin’s big idea is back, again. David Cottle – The Wall Street Journal. The European Commission wants to press ahead with an EU-wide tax on secondary-market bond, equity and derivatives transactions, which it called for in 2011. However, at present it seems that only 11 out of 17 euro-zone countries intend to apply the tax. Link 

 * Accountant-advisers tackle tax-time crunch. Thomas Coyle – The Wall Street Journal. For the growing ranks of those who also offer investment and financial planning, it poses a special challenge: While you’re scrambling to keep up with the demands of tax-filing season – typically putting in late nights and weekends – how do you meet your clients’ other needs? Link

 * Amazon will charge sales tax in Connecticut. Stephen Singer – The Boston Globe. Amazon said on Monday that it has agreed to collect Connecticut’s sales tax, ending a two-year dispute over the tax that the online retailer had previously refused to charge. Link 

 * Shell to challenge Indian tax demand. James Crabtree – The Financial Times. The Indian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell has said it plans to challenge a tax order related to the underpricing of a share sale to its parent company in 2009. Link 

 * Obama’s thirst for taxes. Jennifer Rubin – The Washington Post. Obama wants more revenue precisely so he can minimize spending cuts. That way he won’t make a “huge impact” on the size of government. This is a beautifully clear explanation as to why Republicans need to hold the line on taxes. If they don’t, Obama will keep on spending with abandon. Link 

 * It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad ObamaCare. The Wall Street Journal editorial. No fewer than 18 Democratic Senators and Senators-elect came out last week against ObamaCare’s $28 billion tax on medical device sales — and not just the usual penitents from Massachusetts and Minnesota. The list includes Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray. Link

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