Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Boxed in on taxes, Romney says Obama dislikes success. Sam Youngman and Steve Holland – Reuters. Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of demonizing business success, as the Republican tried to ignore questions about his personal finances that threaten to damage his presidential bid. Some senior Republicans worry that Romney is becoming boxed in by the Obama team, just at the time in the race when many Americans begin to tune in and form clearer opinions about candidates before the November 6 election. Link
* Defense firms open to higher taxes to avert cuts. Damian Paletta – The Wall Street Journal. Two top defense contractors told a House committee Wednesday that Congress should consider including increasing taxes as part of a package of changes to reduce the deficit, a sign that industry fear over the impact of spending cuts next year could challenge party orthodoxy. Top executives from Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, EADS North America, and Williams-Pyro told the House Armed Services Committee that the $50 billion in projected military spending cuts set to begin in January already has had a chilling impact on military planning, delaying projects and raised the possibility of layoffs before the end of 2012. Link
* U.S. utilities fear approach of fiscal cliff. James Politi – The Financial Times. The largest US utilities blitzed Capitol Hill this week to lobby for a deal to avert the effects of the “fiscal cliff” on their industry, warning that increases in tax rates on dividends could damage their normally steady shares and delay investments in the country’s electrical grid. The threat of tax increases on dividends has alarmed companies with steady cash flows that pay a lot out to shareholders. Link
* Aiming for Romney, Democrats push for disclosure of offshore accounts. Ashley Southall – The New York Times. Senate Democrats intensified their campaign to pressure Mitt Romney to release more information about his finances with a push for legislation requiring candidates for federal office to disclose holdings in foreign tax havens. Senator Richard J. Durbin, the majority whip, and Senator Carl Levin, took to the floor to urge support for the Financial Disclosure to Reduce Tax Haven Abuse Act. Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing similar legislation that would require presidential candidates to release at least 10 years of tax returns and disclosures of overseas accounts and other financial transactions. Link
* Obama plan to lift to tax rates would plague millions of small businesses, study warns. J.D. Harrison – The Washington Post. Should Congress allow the tax rates for the nation’s highest earners to expire at the end of the year, millions of small businesses could be forced to cut jobs and wages, placing an enormous strain on the already sluggish economic recovery, according to a new study. Commissioned by a host of pro-business advocacy groups, Ernst & Young conducted this latest study in an effort to predict the long-term economic impact of letting the top rates increase at year’s end — and the findings stand in stark contrast to the repeated assurances from Democrats that their proposal would have minimal effect on small business owners. Link