Tax Break

Essential reading: Tax extension after Boston attack, and more

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

* IRS announces three-month tax extension after attack. Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal. The Internal Revenue Service announced a three-month tax filing and payment extension for Boston-area taxpayers following Monday’s explosions during the Boston Marathon. Link    

* The tax implications of starting a business with retirement money. Josh Patrick – The New York Times. Retirement money is being used to finance thousands of businesses, but it has yet to receive the full blessing of either the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Labor. Link   

* IRS auditors targeting small business owners – but there are ways to protect your company. J.D. Harrison – The Washington Post. A new study used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine its auditing priorities shows small business owners in a handful of metropolitan areas are particularly likely to cheat Uncle Sam. Link    

* Tax Internet sales, stimulate growth. Arthur Laffer – The Wall Street Journal opinion. The sales tax base in the states should be broadened by treating Internet retailers similarly to in-state retailers, and the marginal income-tax rate should be reduced. Link    

* Seeking simplicity in the tax code. Robert Samuelson – The Washington Post. Judged realistically, the odds of major tax “reform” passing seem slim. Link     

Essential reading: Swiss lawyer charged in tax-evasion, and more

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

* Prosecutors charge Swiss lawyer, banker in tax-evasion case. Reed Albergotti – The Wall Street Journal. In the latest move in their crackdown on overseas tax evasion, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against a lawyer and a banker from Switzerland and accused them of helping Americans hide assets. Link  

* FATCA emerging as global standard. C.M. Matthews – The Wall Street Journal. If you didn’t report assets held overseas, it’s looking like you may regret it. The United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act appears to be emerging as an international standard. Link  

* Tax plan may provide boost. Sarah Krouse – The Wall Street Journal. Despite the austerity mood in Washington, President Obama’s proposed budget would provide tax relief to some foreign investors, a move the U.S. real-estate industry has been seeking for years. Link  

Essential reading: Tax filings slow as collection rises, and more

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

 * Tax filing is slow, but collections rise. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The fiscal-cliff deal continues to slow tax filing, thanks to changes that required the Internal Revenue Service to delay the tax season’s opening. Link

 * House votes to crack down on tax-delinquent contractors but not individuals. Josh Hicks – The Washington Post. The House on Monday unanimously backed legislation to bar federal funding for contractors that fall behind on taxes but rejected a proposal to prohibit tax-delinquent individuals from working for the federal government. Link 

* UK moves to end extreme tax avoidance. Vanessa Houlder – The Financial Times. Tax planners who exploit defects in poorly drafted laws will fall foul of the new general anti-abuse rule (GAAR), according to guidance issued on Monday that aimed to sweep away the idea that taxation was a “game” in which taxpayers could use their ingenuity to reduce their tax bills by any lawful means. Link 

Calendar

U.S. Park Police Officer Calvin Covington with his horse Harper mails his income tax returns at a mobile post office in Washington. April 15, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Some important events in the week ahead:

 Monday, April 15

* 2012 U.S. income tax returns must be post-marked before midnight.

* Urban Institute forum on government-nonprofit relationships and the charitable giving tax deduction. 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.

 Tuesday, April 16

* Internal Revenue Service Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson testify at Senate Finance Committee hearing on tax fraud and identity theft. 10 a.m. ET, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington.

Essential reading: Derivatives tax plan concerns industry, and more

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

*Derivatives-tax plan concerns industry. John D. McKinnon and Siobhan Hughes – The Wall Street Journal. The Obama administration’s proposal this week to change the way some derivatives are taxed signals common ground with Republicans on a potentially difficult and divisive tax issue that could have far-reaching implications for investors. Link

* Ex-KPMG auditor freed on $150,000 bond in tips-for-cash scheme. Emily Flitter – Reuters. U.S. authorities filed criminal and civil charges on Thursday against Scott London, who is accused of passing non-public information about five of KPMG’s clients to a friend. Link

* KPMG says it plans legal action. Michael Rapoport – The Wall Street Journal. KPMG LLP plans to take legal action against Scott London, its ex-partner accused of insider trading, said John Veihmeyer, the Big Four accounting firm’s chairman and chief executive. Link

Essential reading: Middle class tax hikes loom in Obama proposal despite pledge, and more

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

 * Middle class tax hikes loom in Obama proposal despite pledge to avoid them. The Washington Post. President Barack Obama proposed a 2014 budget that, if adopted, would break his promise to avoid any tax increases for middle- and low-income people. Link

 * Fund managers warn on taxes in Obama budget. Stephen Foley and Dan McCrum – The Financial Times. President Barack Obama surprised Wall Street by backing a plan that would force investors to pay tax on unrealized derivatives gains, opening up a new front in his attempt to raise revenues through a reform of the tax code. Link

* Hollande creates a prosecutor for fraud and vows to end tax havens. Steven Erlanger and David Jolly – The New York Times. French President François Hollande on Wednesday announced the creation of a position of special prosecutor to pursue cases of corruption and tax fraud, and vowed to eradicate tax havens “in Europe and the world.” Link 

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

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

Essential reading: Senator Baucus takes on tax code, and more

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

 * Sen. Max Baucus moves to reshape tax code. Lori Montgomery – The Washington Post. Last month, Senator Max Baucus summoned members of the Senate Finance Committee to a closed-door meeting to discuss the first full-scale rewrite of the 5,600-page U.S. tax code in more than 25 years. After two years of watching President Obama and congressional leaders take on tax policy and other areas of the committee’s vast jurisdiction, the panel’s chairman is reclaiming his turf. Link 

* KPMG fires L.A. partner over alleged insider-trading tips. Michael Rapoport – The Wall Street Journal. KPMG LLP has fired a senior partner in its Los Angeles office, saying the unidentified partner had provided inside information about its clients to someone who had used that information in stock trading. The firm has also resigned as the outside auditor of two of its clients because of the actions of the partner, who it described as the partner in charge of its audit practice in its Los Angeles business unit. Link

* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delays controversial tax plan. Reuters. Jindal said he would park his plan to get rid of the state income and corporate taxes and replace the lost revenue with higher and broader sales taxes, deferring to the Legislature on the issue. Link 

Essential reading: Small businesses shrug off Obamacare delays, and more

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

 * No big deal? Small business groups shrug off delays to Obamacare’s health care exchanges. J.D. Harrison – The Washington Post. The Obama administration has delayed part of the health care law designed to give small business owners and employees more flexibility when purchasing insurance, which could temporarily undermine lawmakers’ intent to drive down the cost of health coverage. Link  

* Why we support a revenue-neutral carbon tax. George Shultz and Gary Becker – The Wall Street Journal. Coupled with the elimination of costly energy subsidies, it would encourage competition. Link 

* Tax lobby builds ties to chairman of U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Eric Lipton – The New York Times. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s want to keep their lucrative tax credit for hiring veterans. Altria, the tobacco giant, wants to cut the corporate tax rate. And Sapphire Energy, a small alternative energy company, is determined to protect a tax incentive it believes could turn algae into a popular motor fuel. To make their case as Congress prepares to debate a rewrite of the nation’s tax code, these businesses have at least one strategy in common: they have retained firms that employ lobbyists who are former aides to Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Link