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

May 23, 2013

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 

* From Google to FedEx: The incredible vanishing subsidiary. Jessica Holzer – The Wall Street Journal. Some of the biggest U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and FedEx Corp. have quietly removed hundreds of offshore subsidiaries from their publicly disclosed financial filings over the past several years. Link 

* Google defends taxes in face of Labour onslaught. Elizabeth Rigby – The Financial Times. Eric Schmidt defended Google’s tax practices on Wednesday and said the internet group would continue to invest in the UK “no matter what” after Ed Miliband, Labour leader, criticised the company for going to “extraordinary lengths” to avoid paying tax. Link

* CBO report: The pros and cons of carbon tax. Ryan Tracy – The Wall Street Journal. Instituting a carbon tax could help reduce the deficit and “produce incremental benefits” for the environment, but could also raise the cost of many goods and services, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report Wednesday. Link    

* Apple tax critics avoiding the truth. USA Today editorial. Apparently it has come to the attention of certain U.S. senators that Apple Inc. has been abiding by the law and acting in its shareholders’ best interests. Link    

* Here comes the sun. Joe Nocera – The New York Times opinion. Apple CEO Tim Cook spent Tuesday claiming that the sun was setting when it was actually rising, and, predictably, by the time the hearing had ended, most of the senators were agreeing with him. Link

* iDodge: Apple’s new killer product. Robert Shrimsley – The Financial Times opinion. Apple has found itself under fire for its tax-avoidance techniques which include the use of offshore havens, channelling profits through low-tax regimes such as Ireland. Link

* Remaining silent on the IRS. David Firestone – The New York Times opinion. Lois Lerner, the director of exempt organizations for the Internal Revenue Service, asserted her Fifth Amendment rights this morning when asked to testify before a House committee. Link

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