Tax Break

Essential reading: IRS staff say Washington officials helped direct the probe of tea-party groups, and more

June 6, 2013

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

* IRS staff cite Washington link. John McKinnon and Dionne Searcey – The Wall Street Journal. Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington helped direct the probe of tea-party groups that began in 2010. Link

* Corporate taxes don’t cause recessions. But do they hurt growth? Dylan Matthews – The Washington Post. It’s hard to look at the body of research on this topic and not notice that there’s something of a consensus around the idea that increases in the corporate tax rate hurt growth and cuts to it help growth. Link

* Rep. Gutierrez pays Chicago lobbyist with tax dollars. Paul Singer – USA Today. Over the past 10 years, Rep. Luis Gutierrez has paid a Chicago lobbyist more than $500,000 in taxpayer funds to work side-by-side with his congressional staff. Link

* Brazil shifts tack to woo wary investors. Jeff Fick – The Wall Street Journal. A day after Brazil’s government scrapped a tax on bonds purchased with money from outside the country, Brazil’s currency neared a four-year low. Link

*  India increases import tax on gold. Rajesh Roy and Biman Mukherji – The Wall Street Journal. India Wednesday increased the tax it levies on gold imports as part of the government’s efforts to curb domestic consumption of the metal that it says is widening the country’s current-account deficit. Link

* Jack White pays Detroit concert hall’s back taxes to save it. James McKinley – The New York Times. Jack White has saved the historic Masonic Temple in Detroit, a well-known performance space for rock bands, paying $142,000 in the building’s back taxes to keep the structure from being auctioned. Link 

* The split between the states. The New York Times editorial. In Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, is energetically trying to repeal the state’s income tax and replace it with an increase in the sales tax, unconcerned that the move would shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class. Link

* The SEC is ‘bringing sex back’ to accounting investigations. Peter Henning – The New York Times opinion. The challenge for the SEC is that accounting fraud cases have never been “sexy” by any stretch of the imagination. Link

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