Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Boehner holds firm on no tax-hike pledge. David Lawder – Reuters. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday dismissed suggestions that Republicans were warming to raising revenue as part of a plan to cut the deficit, adding that tax hikes on millionaires would cost jobs. The top Republican in Congress blasted a proposal from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to raise taxes only on those earning more than $1 million, saying it would hurt too many small business owners, who hire the most U.S. workers. Link
* US House panel backs medical device tax repeal. Patrick Temple-West – Reuters. A Republican-controlled congressional panel voted on Thursday to repeal a tax on medical devices, a key revenue provision in President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform law, but the measure was not expected to become law. Approval in the House, which is dominated by Republicans, was viewed as probable, possibly as soon as next week. But the measure faced an uphill climb in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where parallel legislation lacks bipartisan sponsors. Link
* On sidelines of tax-writing panel, estate-tax policy is debated. Siobhan Hughes – The Wall Street Journal. A debate over estate-tax policy is being waged on the sidelines of Congress, where policy isn’t developed but where Republican lawmakers are eager to draw battle lines over the year-end expiration of the Bush tax cuts. On a day when a House tax-writing panel was voting to dismantle portions of the 2010 healthcare law, Rep. Joe Walsh on Thursday used his perch as chairman of a House Small Business Committee subcommittee to shine a spotlight on the estate tax. The freshman Republican stepped into an area in the jurisdiction of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee in order to call attention to the dilemma of certain small-business executives who face the prospect that their businesses will have to be sold or dismantled if tax policy reverts to 2001 levels in order for heirs to come up with the money to pay the estate tax. Link
* Did light touch tax become soft touch? Vanessa Houlder – The Financial Times. To critics, the UK’s former head tax collector Dave Hartnett is the most wined-and-dined civil servant in Whitehall whose alleged sweetheart deals with big business cost Britain billions of pounds of tax. Hartnett’s role in encouraging “far too cozy a relationship between HMRC and large companies” was cited in a scathing report by parliament in December. Though HMRC, the UK customs and tax department, slammed the report as inaccurate, Margaret Hodge, the MP who led the investigation, hailed it as a “damning indictment”. Link