Unstructured Finance


Important tax and accounting events in the week to come:

Monday, June 3

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George testify before a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee. 3 p.m. ET, Rayburn House Office Building. Washington, D.C.

 Monday, June 3 – Tuesday, June 4

Treasury and tax officials from around the world discuss transfer pricing, profit shifting, cross-border compliance and other issues at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s international tax conference. Four Seasons Hotel. Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 4

* Financial Accounting Standards Board advisory council meeting on FASB’s future agenda and other topics. 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET, FASB offices. Norwalk, Connecticut.

* American Bar Association webinar on significant recent trends in the U.S. Tax Court and other federal court tax litigation. Noon-1:30p.m. ET.

* National Society of Accountants webinar on U.S. taxpayers with foreign assets navigating the new rules about reporting foreign bank accounts and complying with the tax rules governing them. 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. ET.

Essential reading: EU’s trading tax takes slow road, and more


A banner featuring a Euro coin at the European Commission headquarters building in Brussels. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * EU’s trading tax takes slow road. Tom Fairless – The Wall Street Journal. Deep disagreements among 11 European Union states that have pledged to introduce a tax on financial transactions mean the proposal faces delays and could be significantly scaled back, EU diplomats involved in the discussions said on Thursday. Link    

 * North Carolina’s far-reaching Senate tax plan closes loopholes, adds sales tax. Dan Kane and John Frank – The News and Observer. Senate leaders on Thursday rolled out the most comprehensive proposal to overhaul the state’s tax code, eliminating dozens of loopholes, but also shutting down popular tax breaks on food, mortgage interest payments and prescription drugs that would bring in more than $1 billion in revenue to help reduce income tax rates and the overall sales tax rate. Link    

Essential reading: Evidence that tax breaks favor the rich, and more

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

* Richest 20 percent get half the overall savings from U.S. tax breaks, CBO says. Lori Montgomery – The Washington Post. The 10 largest breaks in the U.S. tax code will save taxpayers more than $900 billion this year, with just over half the benefits flowing to the richest 20 percent of households, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday. Link 

* Swiss bow to pressure for more bank data. Laura Saunders and John Letzing – The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. government won a victory against tax cheats with offshore bank accounts after Swiss officials agreed Wednesday to let banks release information on the overall holdings of their American clients. Link    

* To tax or not? The NFL’s relationship with the IRS. Brent Schrotenboer – USA Today. Now some think it’s time to add another expense to the NFL — federal income taxes. For decades, the NFL and other big-time sports leagues such as the PGA Tour and NHL haven’t been required to pay any. Link    

Essential reading: IRS gets a new risk officer, and more

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

 * New IRS chief taps GAO’s Fisher as senior adviser. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Danny Werfel, acting commissioner of the embattled Internal Revenue Service, went outside the agency for a top lieutenant, tapping David Fisher of the Government Accountability Office to be the tax agency’s chief risk officer and senior adviser to the commissioner. Link  

* Republicans stoking fire of IRS scandal with eye toward 2014. Josh Hicks – The Washington Post. Republicans have been trying to take advantage of the Internal Revenue Service’s politically toxic targeting scandal to better position their party for the 2014 midterm elections. And one big area of focus is President Obama’s new health-care law. Link 

* Nokia’s India tax troubles widen. Prasanta Sahu – The Wall Street Journal. India has demanded that Nokia Corp. pay about 2.09 billion rupees ($37.53 million) of taxes that it alleges the Finnish handset maker didn’t pay claiming an exemption given on software exports. Link  

Essential reading: Groups test political tax rules, and more

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

 * Groups targeted by IRS tested rules on politics. Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo – The New York Times. A close examination of some conservative groups and others reveals an array of election activities that tax experts and former IRS officials said would provide a legitimate basis for flagging them for closer review. Link  

* High-end health plans scale back to avoid ‘Cadillac tax’. Reed Abelson – The New York Times. Companies hoping to avoid the tax are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered and to look harder for ways to bring down the overall cost of care. Link  

* Former IRS chief recalls defying Nixon. David Dykes – USA Today. In the early 1970s, when embattled President Richard Nixon sought to use the Internal Revenue Service as a weapon to investigate his enemies, the administration turned to Johnnie Mac Walters, head of the tax agency, to do the dirty work. Walters, now 93, said he refused. Link  


Some important dates in the week ahead:

Tuesday, May 28 • D.C. Bar Taxation Section panel discussion of ethical considerations for state tax professionals. 12 noon – 2 p.m. ET. D.C. Bar Conference Center. Washington.

Wednesday, May 29 • Representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and taxing authorities from around the world speak to the U.N. Economic and Social Council one-day meeting on international tax cooperation, transfer pricing and related matters. U.N. Headquarters. New York.

Thursday, May 30 • D.C. Bar panel on developments in transfer pricing in India and China. 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. ET. D.C. Bar Conference Center. Washington.

Essential reading: Tax moves pit large companies against small, and more

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

 * In tax overhaul debate, large vs small companies. Graham Bowley – The New York Times. Some of the biggest companies in the United States are fighting for a cut in the official corporate tax rate. But the nation’s millions of small businesses fear they will be the ones paying for it. Link  

* States’ rift on taxes widens. Mark Peters – The Wall Street Journal. Minnesota’s move to raise new taxes puts it among a handful of states controlled by Democrats that are adopting more liberal fiscal policies at a time when many Republican-dominated statehouses are pushing to cut taxes. Link 

* The joys of no income tax, the agonies of other kinds. Aman Batheja – The New York Times. In Texas the state’s tax system is not universally beloved. The way the state employs property, sales and business taxes to finance services, particularly education, draws criticism and debate across the political spectrum. Link  

Essential reading: Push on corporate tax rules goes global, and more

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

* Push on corporate tax rules goes global. Howard Schneider – The Washington Post. A global effort to tighten corporate tax rules is gaining momentum as politicians in Europe and the United States take aim at American tech giants whose savvy use of international tax laws has provoked a public backlash. Link    

* Europe pushes to shed stigma of a tax haven. Andrew Higgins – The New York Times. There is relentless pressures being piled on opaque money centers around the world amid a sweeping global assault on tax evasion and the secrecy that enables it. Link    

* Tax fairness top agenda at European summit. Gebriele Steinhauser and Sam Schechner – The Wall Street Journal. Faced with public outrage over tax-evasion scandals at a time of austerity budgets, European leaders pledged Wednesday to ensure that everybody—from high rollers to big multinationals—pay their fair share to cash-strapped governments. Link 

Essential reading: White House knew of IRS scandal in April, and more

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

* IRS inquiry status told to White House in April. Jonathan Weisman and Brian Knowlton – The New York Times. The chief White House lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, learned last month that a Treasury inspector general had concluded an audit of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, weeks before the matter became public, according to a senior White House official. Link 

* How the IRS seeded the clouds in 2010 for a political deluge three years later. Zachary Goldfarb and Kimberly Kindy – The Washington Post. The story of the IRS’s policy of targeting right-leaning groups was one of a bureaucracy caught in a morass of uncertainty and outside pressure. Link    

 * How the IRS spun out of control. Joseph Tanfani – The Los Angeles Times. With little oversight from Washington, agents in Ohio had been singling out some conservative groups for extra scrutiny, seeking to make sure they were not too heavily involved in politics to qualify as tax-exempt. Link    


Some important dates in the week ahead:


 Monday, May 20


Securities and Exchange Commission accountants address SEC financial reporting at the Compliance Week annual conference. Washington.


 Monday, May 20 – Tuesday, May 21


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants conference on income and estate taxes and high-income taxpayers, and other topics. Las Vegas.


 Monday, May 20 – Wednesday, May 22


The Council on State Taxation program on state income and franchise taxes. New Orleans.