Tax Break

Essential reading: Luxembourg backs info exchange in fight against tax evasion, and more

April 10, 2013

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

* Luxembourg agrees to automatic information exchange to help fight tax evasion. The Washington Post. The initiative, which is to start in 2015, follows international pressure on Luxembourg to end its policy of banking secrecy that critics say has helped people hide money from tax authorities. Link

* FBI probes trading as KPMG quits Herbalife, Skechers audits. Martinne Geller and Emily Fitter – Reuters. In a blow to one of the world’s largest accounting firms, KPMG said it resigned as auditor of two U.S. corporations amid an FBI investigation into insider trading allegations involving leaked information and a former senior partner. Link

* Golf pal chats led to probes. Hannah Karp and Jean Eaglesham – The Wall Street Journal. Scott London’s path from KPMG LLP partner to subject of insider-trading investigations began with a casual conversation in 2010 with “someone I’d known from the golf club, ” he said in an interview. Then the FBI called. Link

* Looking for KPMG’s mystery man. David Reilly – The Wall Street Journal. The identity of the auditor of a public company shouldn’t be a secret. Unfortunately, in the U.S., it is—to the detriment of investors and financial markets. Link

* Obama to pitch Buffett tax, killing corporate tax breaks. Kim Dixon – Reuters. President Barack Obama on Wednesday will issue a greatest hits list of ideas to raise $580 billion in new tax revenues over a decade, including a minimum tax on the wealthy and putting an end to some corporate tax breaks, administration officials said. Link:

* Louisiana lawmakers weigh options on eliminating income tax. Stephanie Grace – Reuters. Louisiana lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the wisdom of eliminating the state’s income tax without raising sales taxes, one day after Governor Bobby Jindal said he would delay his plan to scrap the income tax. Link

* Hearing to expose IRS informant program to scrutiny. Nanette Byrnes – Reuters. Seven years after Congress passed a new whistleblower law for the Internal Revenue Service, the tax-collecting agency stands accused of not doing enough, or of not acting swiftly enough, to reward informants who expose tax improprieties. Link

* Could tax reform really happen? Jonathan Bernstein – The Washington Post opinion. The only way tax reform can happen is if it’s bipartisan. Link

 * An oldie – The “offshore” witch hunt. Holman Jenkins – The Wall Street Journal. One wonders what percentage of account holders in domestic banks would have to be accused of something in a lawsuit to justify all account holders having their records ransacked by the media. Link

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