Tax Break

Essential reading: Push on corporate tax rules goes global, and more

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

* Push on corporate tax rules goes global. Howard Schneider – The Washington Post. A global effort to tighten corporate tax rules is gaining momentum as politicians in Europe and the United States take aim at American tech giants whose savvy use of international tax laws has provoked a public backlash. Link    

* Europe pushes to shed stigma of a tax haven. Andrew Higgins – The New York Times. There is relentless pressures being piled on opaque money centers around the world amid a sweeping global assault on tax evasion and the secrecy that enables it. Link    

* Tax fairness top agenda at European summit. Gebriele Steinhauser and Sam Schechner – The Wall Street Journal. Faced with public outrage over tax-evasion scandals at a time of austerity budgets, European leaders pledged Wednesday to ensure that everybody—from high rollers to big multinationals—pay their fair share to cash-strapped governments. Link 

* From Google to FedEx: The incredible vanishing subsidiary. Jessica Holzer – The Wall Street Journal. Some of the biggest U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and FedEx Corp. have quietly removed hundreds of offshore subsidiaries from their publicly disclosed financial filings over the past several years. Link 

* Google defends taxes in face of Labour onslaught. Elizabeth Rigby – The Financial Times. Eric Schmidt defended Google’s tax practices on Wednesday and said the internet group would continue to invest in the UK “no matter what” after Ed Miliband, Labour leader, criticised the company for going to “extraordinary lengths” to avoid paying tax. Link

Essential reading: Uneven IRS scrutiny, and more

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines:   

* Uneven IRS scrutiny seen in political spending by big tax-exempt groups. Nicholas Confessore – The New York Times. For the I.R.S.’s bipartisan legion of critics, the agency’s record has underscored its contradictory and seemingly confused response to the fastest-growing corner in the world of unlimited political spending. Link    

 * Q&A: Details of the IRS controversy. Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal. The Internal Revenue Service is embroiled in a controversy over its handling of applications by tea-party and other conservative groups seeking to set up as tax-exempt nonprofits known as 501(c)(4)s. Link 

* IRS officials in Washington were involved in targeting of conservative groups. Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed. Link    

Essential reading: Falling deficit alters budget debate, and more

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

* Falling deficit alters debate. Damian Palleta – The Wall Street Journal. Rising government revenue from tax collections and bailout paybacks are shrinking the federal deficit faster than expected, delaying the point when the government will reach the so-called debt ceiling and altering the budget debate in Washington. Link    

* Who would win or lose on online sales tax. Jayne O’Donnell and Hadley Malcolm – USA Today. Major retailers and local stores will be the big winners if the House follows the Senate and requires Internet retailers to collect sales taxes on online purchases. Link    

* Weigh taxes when picking a state for retirement. Arden Dale – The Wall Street Journal. When it comes to choosing the best state in which to retire, some people look beyond traditional needs like nice weather and recreational opportunities. Link    

Essential reading: State Republicans divided on tax cuts, and more

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks after the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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

* Governors, GOP allies clash over tax cuts. Mark Peters and Neil King – The Wall Street Journal. Republican lawmakers in several states are blunting plans by GOP governors to reduce or eliminate income taxes, putting the legislators at odds with figures many in the party see as leading voices on reshaping government. Link

* FATCA treaties held up in U.S. Senate. Ben DiPietro – The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Senate is unable to ratify three Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act treaties because of a hold by Senator Rand Paul, and if the delays continue much longer they could complicate implementation of the law, which is due to take effect in January. Link

Essential reading: Businesses become REITs to avoid taxes, and more

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

* Restyled as real estate trusts, varied businesses avoid taxes. Nathaniel Popper – The New York Times. A small but growing number of American corporations, operating in businesses as diverse as private prisons, billboards and casinos, are making an aggressive move to reduce — or even eliminate — their federal tax bills. Link    

*  European FTT could cost U.S. funds ‘up to $35 billion.’ Mark Cobley – The Wall Street Journal. Europe’s proposed levy on financial transactions could cost U.S. money market funds up to $35bn, according to the first quantitative analysis of the impact of the tax on the U.S. funds industry. Link    

* Survey: Economists say higher taxes, lower government spending not affecting businesses. The Associated Press. The National Association for Business Economics survey asks how higher taxes and lower government spending effected businesses in the first three months of 2013. Link    

Essential reading: TurboTax’s lobbying fight, and more

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

 * How the maker of TurboTax fought free, simple filing. Liz Day – ProPublica. Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit’s disclosures pointedly note that the company “opposes IRS government tax preparation.” Link 

 * Post analysis of Dow 30 firms shows declining tax burden as a share of profits. Jia Lynn Yang – The Washington Post. Most of the 30 companies listed on the country’s most famous stock index, the Dow Jones industrial average, have seen a dramatically smaller percentage of their profits go to U.S. coffers over time. Link    

 * On the second day, Supreme Court considers DOMA. Robert Barnes – The Washington Post. When Thea Spyer died in 2009, she left her estate to Edith Windsor. Because their marriage was not recognized, Windsor paid a tax bill of more than $360,000. She has sued for a refund. Link    

Essential reading: Sandy damage leads to tax trouble, and more

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

* After the hurricane, a mound of tax math. Charles DeLafuentie – The New York Times. People who lost their homes or suffered extensive property damage in Hurricane Sandy may qualify for some help from the Internal Revenue Service, but with the usual caveats: the tax code isn’t simple, and not everybody will qualify. Link 

* A doubly trying tax season for same-sex couples. Peter Applebome – The New York Times. For same-sex couples across the United States, an offshoot of being married is a dizzying set of complications in computing taxes. Link  

* McCain says ‘maybe’ to new taxes to avert sequestration. Ed O’Keefe – The Washington Post. Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he is willing to consider supporting new tax revenue as part of a plan to avert $85 billion in looming budget cuts, as the White House pushed back against Republican lawmakers who say President Barack Obama is solely responsible for the spending reductions. Link  

Virginia plan to end gas tax quickly panned

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, entering his last year in office, offered on Tuesday a bold plan to finance badly needed road work and transportation expansion in the state.

His plan, to end the state’s 17.5 cent per gallon gas tax and replace it with a 0.8 percent increase in the state sales tax, was quickly booed by tax experts, however.

Their argument: removing the tax’s connection to gas would shift the burden of road repairs and upgrades to the broader population from the daily drivers who use roads most.

Essential reading: Cliff bill means some pay more taxes, and more

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

* Analysis: 77 percent of households to see tax increase. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The fiscal cliff bill’s impact would be far-reaching for American taxpayers, and particularly painful for very high-income households, according to a new analysis. About 77 percent of American households would see a tax increase compared to their 2012 tax levels, according to the analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Link 

* Amid pressure, House passes fiscal deal. Jennifer Steinhauer – The New York Times. Ending a climactic fiscal showdown in the final hours of the 112th Congress, the House late Tuesday passed and sent to President Obama legislation to avert big income tax increases on most Americans and prevent large cuts in spending for the Pentagon and other government programs. Link

* Congress’s feeble finish to the ‘fiscal cliff’ fiasco. The Washington Post editorial. The compromise bill passed by Congress to avert the worst effects of the “fiscal cliff” is a small, imperfect package that will do too little to address the nation’s long-term debt problem. But for all its weaknesses, the bill’s enactment is far better than a failure by this Congress to act before it adjourns Thursday. Link

Essential reading: Tax offer pits big companies against small, and more

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

 * Tax offer for firms pits big vs. small. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The Obama administration’s offer to revamp the corporate tax code as part of the “fiscal cliff” budget talks raises the prospect that tax rates for large and small companies could diverge significantly. Link  

* Boehner tries to contain defections on fiscal unity. Jonathan Weisman – The New York Times. Speaker John A. Boehner moved Wednesday to maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership and some pragmatists pressed for quick accommodation on tax rate increases on the rich. Link

 * Executives push for ‘fiscal cliff’ deal, even if their tax concerns have to wait. Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. The business executives, while unenthusiastic about higher taxes, say that avoiding the “fiscal cliff” is their No. 1 priority and that many other key issues can be taken care of in broader tax reform negotiations they hope would take place next year. Link