Tax Break

Essential reading: IRS targeted groups critical of government, and more

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

* Health insurance tax ‘scares the daylights’ out of some small-business owners. J.D. Harrison. Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law’s capacity to lower their health-care costs. Link  

* IRS targeted groups critical of government, documents from agency probe show. Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution. Link  

* IRS focus on conservatives gives Republicans an issue to seize on. Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Wald – The New York Times. The accusations of IRS abuse are sure to fuel an effort that appears to be uniting dispirited Republicans and their conservative political base: investigating President Barack Obama and his administration. Link  

* Greek crackdown on tax evasion yields little revenue in tackling the deficit. Landon Thomas – The New York Times. Politicians, business executives and bankers are being raked through the headlines or incarcerated in a white-collar crackdown as the Greek government goes after people suspected of tax dodging. Link  

* Australia, Switzerland revise tax treaty to target evaders. Enda Curran – The Wall Street Journal. Australia has worked out a revised tax treaty with Switzerland that will give authorities new powers to target millionaire tax evaders, as the government scrambles to shore up its budget ahead of elections in September. Link  

Calendar

Some important tax and accounting events in the week ahead.

Monday, May 13 – Thursday, May 16

* Government and private sector attorneys and accountants speak to Practicing Law Institute program, Basics of Accounting for Lawyers. New York.

* Federation of Tax Administrators electronic filing symposium. New Orleans.

Tuesday, May 14

Voters in south Florida’s Miami-Dade County go to polls to decide whether to increase local hotel taxes to help pay for a $350 million upgrade to the Miami Dolphins stadium.

Wednesday, May 15

Financial Accounting Standards Board meeting on not-for-profit financial reporting. 1300ET, Norwalk, Connecticut.

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: Tax collections from wealthy are saving government, and more

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

* Swiss bank tied to indictment ponders U.S. registration -sources. John Letzing – The Wall Street Journal. A Swiss private bank that recently suspended an executive who allegedly helped U.S. taxpayers evade obligations is considering opening a U.S. branch, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, a step intended to help it comply with U.S. regulations. Link 

* Tax collections from wealthy are saving government. Robert Frank – CNBC. Call it proof that the system is working—or proof that the system is broken—but taxes paid by the nation’s top earners are putting government back in the black. Link 

* Economists see deficit emphasis as impeding recovery. Jackie Calmes – The New York Times. The nation’s unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011, according to private-sector and government economists. Link

Essential reading: Airline industry’s tax troubles, and more

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

* Tax proposals open a debate on airline industry’s troubles. Susan Stellin – The New York Times. A $300 domestic airline ticket now includes about $60 in taxes — or 20 percent of the total fare — which pays for things like air traffic controllers, airport improvements, customs and immigration inspections and checkpoint screening. Link     

* Indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings on the rise. Maxwell Murphy – The Wall Street Journal. Foreign profits at U.S.-based multinational companies will soon top $2 trillion. But much of that sum is unlikely to return to the U.S., regardless of the status of U.S. tax rules, as it already has been spent abroad. Link   

* A strategy for business owners to avoid investment tax. Arden Dale – The Wall Street Journal. Before the tax strategy can be employed, advisers need to examine their business-owning clients’ Forms K-1 to determine if they are actively involved or whether they only have a passive role like an investor. Link    

Essential reading: Tax rewrite favored by Republicans, and more

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

* Tax rewrite in play on Capitol. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Talk about overhauling the tax code is picking up across Capitol Hill this spring, with lawmakers of both parties agreeing on the need to simplify the system but remaining far apart on the details of how to do it. Link    

* In Commerce pick’s ’08 answers on finances, possible hints at road ahead. Charles Savage – The New York Times. Republican senators are likely to be interested in the Pritzker family’s reputation as innovators in the use of offshore trusts and foreign bank secrecy laws to shelter their wealth from income, capital gains and inheritance taxes. Link    

* Leniency for offshore cheats. Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal. Despite a high-profile government crackdown on secret offshore financial accounts since 2009, the average sentence in those cases has been about half as long as in some other types of tax cases. Link    

Calendar

Some important events in the week ahead:

Sunday, May 5 – Tuesday, May 7

Offshore investigators, service providers and clients attend the Offshore Alert Conference. The Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Miami.

Tuesday, May 7

* Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Private Company Council meeting. 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. Norwalk, Connecticut.

* Public Company Accounting Oversight Board open board meeting covering auditing standards and other proposals. 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET, PCAOB offices. Washington.

Essential reading: Corporate taxes come up for review, and more

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

* The corporate tax game. Graham Bowley – The New York Times
. Despite the widespread support, the campaign for a tax reform overhaul is exposing deep fault lines within the business world that suggest it may fall apart. Link

* Senate considering bill to ban tax scofflaw contractors. Tom Vanden Brook – The USA Today. The Senate is considering a bill the House unanimously passed last month that would prevent contractors with tax debts from doing business with the federal government. Link

* California tax revenue yields multibillion-dollar surplus. Chris Megerian – The Los Angeles Times. California has been flooded with revenue this tax season and is on track to finish the fiscal year with a surplus of billions of dollars, according to officials. 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: U.S. tax receipts may slow borrowing, and more

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * Rising tax receipts spark bets on reduced U.S. Treasury sales. Min Zeng – The Wall Street Journal. A surge in tax receipts has reduced the U.S. government’s borrowing needs, fueling speculation that a reduction of sales in notes could be coming for the first time since 2010. Link 

* To satisfy its investors, cash-rich Apple borrows money. Peter Lattman and Peter Eavis – The New York Times. By raising cheap debt for the shareholder payout, Apple also avoids a potentially big tax hit. Link 

* Ebay boss expects ‘uproar’ from small business over online tax. Tom Gara – The Wall Street Journal. eBay CEO John Donohoe believes small online sellers — who make up the majority of its customers — will face crippling costs complying with the proposed law, and wants them to be exempted from the new system. Link