Essential reading: Simpson, Bowles revive deficit plan, and more

February 19, 2013

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, testify on Capitol Hill, Nov. 1, 2011.

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

* Simpson and Bowles to offer up new deficit fix. Damian Paletta – The Wall Street Journal. Deficit hawks Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles on Tuesday will propose a detailed plan for rewriting the tax code and implementing deep new spending cuts, hoping to offer a path to compromise for Democrats and Republicans, according to an outline of the plan. Link

* Facebook tax refund sparks outrage, but company did pay taxes. Salvador Rodriguez – The Los Angeles Times. A recent report saying Facebook will receive $429 million in tax refunds has sparked outrage on the Web, given that the company made more than $1 billion in profits in 2012. Link

* A new prescription for taxes. Anna Wilde Mathews – The Wall Street Journal. This year, several important tax changes tied to the federal health overhaul will start affecting consumers—including new limits on medical deductions and higher tax rates for some higher-income taxpayers. Link

* What to look for in a tax preparer. Tom Herman – The Wall Street Journal. Be “cautious” of anyone claiming to be able to get you a larger refund than other preparers, the IRS says. Beware of anyone who wants to charge you based on a percentage of your income-tax refund. Link

* Mining your calendar to cut taxes. Nick Wingfield – The New York Times. A lot of people have to take the deduction for car mileage themselves because their employers do not provide reimbursement. They may be interested in a new Web service, MileLogr, which is designed to log business trips in personal vehicles. Link

* Will higher taxes on the rich deail California’s economic comeback? Jim Tankersley – The Washington Post. If there’s any place in the country where rising tax rates should choke off an economic recovery, it’s California. Link

* Tax avoiders ‘run rings’ around UK’s HMRC. Vanessa Houlder – The Financial Times. Promoters of tax avoidance schemes are winning a game of cat and mouse with the tax authority, Ministers of Parliament said on Tuesday. Link

* French cite recession in delaying budget goal. Steven Erlanger – The New York Times. The economic squeeze combined with an already high rate of taxation will make it easier for the government to focus on spending cuts, senior ministry officials said. The government is working on a new tax for the wealthy, but refused to commit to a rate of 75 percent. Link

* Reaganism after Reagan. Ramesh Ponnuru – The New York Times opinion. A Republican Party attentive to today’s problems rather than yesterday’s would work to lighten the burden of the payroll tax, not just the income tax. Link

* The Coolidge lesson on taxes and spending. Amity Shlaes – The Wall Street Journal opinion. The 30th president cut the top income-tax rate to 25 percent (lower than the 28 percent of the historic Reagan cut of 1986). And there was plenty of evidence that greater revenues might follow tax rate cuts. Link

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see