Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Tangled tax code primed for pruning. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. President Barack Obama’s business-tax-overhaul plan underscores the growing likelihood of a serious effort to revamp the nation’s much-criticized tax system, no matter who wins the White House. The question now isn’t whether a tax rewrite will happen, but how far it will go, and whether it will stop at business rules or also extend to individuals. Increasingly the answer appears to be that the entire tax code, all 70,000 pages, could be in play. Powerful dynamics are reducing the significance of partisan differences. One is the expiration of Bush tax breaks at the end of 2012. A broad tax overhaul could give each party a way to break the cycle of short-term tax extensions that is frustrating businesses and individuals. Another is the government’s grim fiscal situation. Many Democrats and even some Republicans see a streamlined tax system as a way to generate more revenue. Link
* Plans for US manufacturing may yield more votes than jobs. Andy Sullivan – Reuters. U.S. factories are hiring again, and Democratic President Barack Obama and some of his Republican rivals are pitching tax breaks to fuel a rebound in manufacturing and help rebuild a battered middle class. Economists on the left and the right say promises to bring back factory work may yield more votes than jobs. Industry experts say the United States is long past the days when steel mills, auto plants and machine shops boosted millions of unskilled Americans into the middle class. Economists say the middle class would benefit more from efforts to boost the economy as a whole, rather than a particular sector such as manufacturing. Link
* Germans volunteer for Greek tax mission. Chris Bryant and Kerin Hope – The Financial Times. German tax collection experts have volunteered to go to Greece to help combat widespread evasion, in a move that risks reigniting tensions between Berlin and Athens. Germany’s federal states have recruited about 160 experts to serve under a European Union and International Monetary Fund initiative to improve tax administration in Greece. Link
* My economic reform plan. Rick Santorum – The Wall Street Journal opinion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates. I’ll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10 percent and 28 percent. To help families, I’ll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5 percent. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. Link