Tax Break

Essential reading: Republican donors drew IRS scrutiny, and more

June 3, 2013

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * Donors to Republican group drew IRS scrutiny. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. At the same time the Internal Revenue Service was targeting tea-party groups, the tax agency took the unusual step of trying to impose gift taxes on donors to a prominent conservative advocacy group formed in 2007 to build support for President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge. Link    

 * IRS training videos spoof ‘Star Trek,’ Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘Cupid Shuffle.’ Ed O’Keefe – The Washington Post. The Internal Revenue Service is acknowledging that the agency spent tens of millions of dollars in recent years on conferences for thousands of its employees. Link    

* Don’t expect special prosecutor for IRS, Plouffe says. David Jackson – USA Today. David Plouffe, a long-time adviser to President Obama, rejecting the idea of a special prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service citing ongoing reviews by the Justice Department, Treasury Department, and various congressional committees into the IRS targeting of conservative groups over their tax-exempt status. Link   

* Deficit deal even less likely. Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook – The Wall Street Journal. Shrinking near-term federal deficits, slowing health-care cost increases and partisan gridlock have all but wiped out the likelihood for a deal this year to reduce long-term U.S. deficits, perhaps delaying a compromise until after the 2014 midterm elections, White House officials and congressional lawmakers said. Link    

* France puts UBS under investigation for aiding tax evasion. Susanne Craig – The New York Times. A unit of the Swiss bank UBS has been placed under formal investigation in France following allegations that it designed investments to help its clients evade taxes. Link    

* Tax burden soars 65 percent for UK’s big retailers. Andrea Felsted – The Financial Times. The tax burden on big retailers has increased two-thirds over the past seven years, reaching nearly 8.3 billion pounds ($12.58 billion) last year, according to new research from PwC. Link    

 * Should you buy taxable muni bonds? Joe Light – The Wall Street Journal. This year through Monday, issuers have originated $19.6 billion in taxable municipal bonds, nearly double the amount of the same period a year ago, according to investment researcher Municipal Market Advisors. Link   

 * Tax cut or not? The dispute simmers in Kansas. Brad Cooper – The Kansas City Star. The debate over the tax plan that was approved early Sunday featured a high-stakes battle to gain the messaging high ground going into next year. Link    

($1 = 0.6596 British pounds)

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