Welcome to the top tax and accounting news from Reuters and other sources.
* The case for raising top tax rates. Eduardo Porter – The New York Times. The wealthy are feeling defensive about their taxes. Most Americans may think the rich pay too little but, not surprisingly, only 30 percent of the rich agree. More than two-thirds of families earning a quarter of a million dollars a year or more tell Gallup’s pollsters that their taxes are too high. It is true that high-income Americans carry the biggest tax burden. While fewer than 1 in 20 families make more than $200,000, they pay almost half of all federal taxes. However they feel about the tax man, there is a case to be made that they can pay much more. The reason has nothing to do with fairness, justice or ideology. It is about economics and math. Link
* US FASB weighs reform to accounting used by MF Global. Sarah Lynch – Reuters. The U.S. accounting standard-setting board could this year revamp the accounting treatment that MF Global used to mask risky European sovereign debt exposure, an official at the board will tell lawmakers on Wednesday. “Moving forward with this project will involve a series of public education and decision-making meetings and the exposure of a proposed standard for public comment,” said Financial Accounting Standards Board Technical Director Susan Cosper in prepared testimony. Cosper noted that while historically most repo-to-maturity transactions have involved U.S. Treasury securities, the range of instruments involved has broadened over the years to include other debt instruments such as those seen in the MF Global case. Link
* House could vote this week on budget pan modeled on Bowles-Simpson ideas. Rosalind Helderman – The Washington Post. The House of Representatives could vote for the first time this week on a bipartisan deficit-cutting plan, modeled on the suggestions of a presidential commission chaired by officials Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, that calls for both spending cuts and new tax revenue. Presented as an alternative to a GOP budget blueprint authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, it is expected to lose to Ryan’s plan. Any support for a proposal calling for $1.2 trillion in new revenues, particularly from tax-increase-adverse Republicans, could signal new hope for efforts in the coming year to get the kind of grand deficit-reduction bargain that eluded Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in talks over raising the debt ceiling last summer. Link
* U.S. airlines seek action on EU carbon tax. Doug Cameron – The Wall Street Journal. The trade group representing the largest U.S. airlines has called on the Obama administration to take action against the European Union in a bid to end the bloc’s carbon-trading market. The Airlines for America lobbying group dropped its own lawsuit against the EU and called on the administration to bring a case through the International Civil Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations. Link