Tax Break

Essential reading: Sequester talks grow harsh, and more

February 20, 2013

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

* Rhetoric turns harsh as budget cuts loom. Janet Hook – The Wall Street Journal. Republicans didn’t question Mr. Obama’s assertion that the spending cuts would have a dire effect. They said the plan to avert them should include only spending cuts, not tax increases. Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, said that the public is viewing the impasse with disgust, but that the president may bear more of the blame for failing to lead the way to a compromise. Link

* Tax executives: Congress won’t revamp business taxes in 2013. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The survey of 163 tax executives by law firm Miller & Chevalier and the National Foreign Trade Council shows that only a few think that a tax overhaul will be enacted in 2013. Last year, 31 percent of respondents believed Congress would pass a tax revamp in 2013. Link

* Tax tip: Figuring out your stock’s cost basis. Jeff Reeves – USA Today. The tax man is eager to get his share after you cash out an investment win. And unless you want to irritate the Internal Revenue Service, it’s important to accurately report profits each year to the penny. Link

* The president is raging against a budget crisis he created. John Boehner – The Wall Street Journal opinion. The president has repeatedly called for even more tax revenue, but the American people don’t support trading spending cuts for higher taxes. They understand that the tax debate is now closed. Link

* President Armageddon – The Wall Street Journal editorial. President Barack Obama is actually demanding another tax increase on top of the one he just beat out of Congress. His trick is to pretend that this is “tax reform” that would eliminate loopholes. Link

* Who pays the corporate income tax. Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times opinion. The United States has had a corporate income tax since 1909, but in all the years since there is a major question about it that economists haven’t been able to answer satisfactorily: who pays it? Link

* Why the income tax is worth celebrating. Molly Michelmore – The Washington Post opinion. The income tax was once quite popular. In fact, it was farmers in the South and the West, small-business owners and middle-class consumers — people who might belong to the tea party today — who put the income tax on the national agenda. Link

* A great debate. Gary Gutting – The New York Times opinion. Representatives of the rival parties exchange one-liners: “The rich can afford to pay more” is met by “Tax increases kill jobs.” Slightly more sophisticated discussions may cite historical precedents: “There were higher tax rates during the post-war boom” versus “Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenues.” Link

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