Essential reading: Sandy damage leads to tax trouble, and more

February 11, 2013

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

* After the hurricane, a mound of tax math. Charles DeLafuentie – The New York Times. People who lost their homes or suffered extensive property damage in Hurricane Sandy may qualify for some help from the Internal Revenue Service, but with the usual caveats: the tax code isn’t simple, and not everybody will qualify. Link 

* A doubly trying tax season for same-sex couples. Peter Applebome – The New York Times. For same-sex couples across the United States, an offshoot of being married is a dizzying set of complications in computing taxes. Link  

* McCain says ‘maybe’ to new taxes to avert sequestration. Ed O’Keefe – The Washington Post. Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he is willing to consider supporting new tax revenue as part of a plan to avert $85 billion in looming budget cuts, as the White House pushed back against Republican lawmakers who say President Barack Obama is solely responsible for the spending reductions. Link  

* Amazon.com keeps Patton Boggs to lobby for sales tax proposal. Catherine Ho – The Washington Post. Amazon recently renewed a contract with Patton Boggs to lobby for the Marketplace Fairness Act, a Senate bill introduced in the last Congress that would have given states the authority to require remote sellers like Amazon and eBay to collect sales tax on goods sold online. Link 

* Don’t let tax cheaters target you. Jennifer Waters – The Wall Street Journal. The IRS has long been the bane of American taxpayers, but the misery index has shot up since the advent of electronic filing and a congressional mandate to get refunds out within 21 days of receipt. That puts speed ahead of detail and accuracy at the IRS. Link  

* Food group denies tax avoidance in Zambia. Andrew England and Louise Lucas – The Financial Times. Associated British Foods, the London-listed group, has hit back at allegations that it has been avoiding paying millions of dollars in taxes to Zambian authorities on its sugar operations in the southern Africa country through the exploitation of loopholes in the tax regime. Link  

* The wind power tax. The Wall Street Journal editorial. Should businesses and families have to pay higher electricity rates to underwrite the cost of wind energy they don’t even use? The green energy lobby and Obama Administration want to socialize turbine costs on the backs of all rate payers. Link  

* A tax to pay for war. Russell Rumbaugh – The New York Times opinion. Now that Congress has discarded the idea that taxes can never be raised, we must change how we pay for the wars we ask our military to fight. We should institute a war tax. Link

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