Tax Break

Essential reading: Congress looks at REIT tax exemption, and more

April 24, 2013

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

* Congress looks at REIT tax exemption. A.D. Pruitt – The Wall Street Journal. A powerful congressional committee is examining the tax exemption that real-estate investment trusts have enjoyed for decades as part of its comprehensive review of the tax code. Link    

* Backers and opponents of online sales tax ramp up lobbying. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Both sides in the online sales tax debate were ramping up lobbying efforts and forming new alliances Tuesday in hopes of swaying a coming Senate vote on a bill that would effectively end tax-free Internet shopping in most states. Link 

* IRS issued billions in improper refunds, report says. Josh Hicks – The Washington Post. The Internal Revenue Service issued more than $11 billion in improper payments through its Earned Income Tax Credit program last year, according to an inspector general’s report released this week. Link 

* S.E.C. gets plea: Force companies to disclose donations. Nicholas Confessore – The New York Times. A loose coalition of Democratic elected officials, shareholder activists and pension funds has flooded the Securities and Exchange Commission with calls to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations, a move that could transform the growing world of secret campaign spending. Link    

* New York mayoral candidates begin to release their income figures. David Chen – The New York Times. Joseph J. Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, reported almost $2 million in income last year, far more than any other leading candidate for mayor, according to returns released on Tuesday. Link 

* UK climate watchdog eyes tax reforms. Pilita Clark – The Financial Times. Countries such as the UK that have relatively tough rules on cutting carbon dioxide emissions might have to start taxing imported goods from countries with weaker environmental laws, the government’s official climate watchdog has warned. Link    

* The real reason Wall Street is fighting the online sales tax. Christopher Matthews – TIME Magazine. Wall Street sees the bill as a Trojan horse that will allow state governments faraway from New York City to soak the financial services industry with new sales taxes on financial transactions. Link    

* Baucus’ exit drains hope for tax reform. John Healey – The Los Angeles Times. There’s no grass-roots ferment in favor of a tax code overhaul. People don’t like the tax system, but there’s little urgency to this issue. Link

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