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

May 29, 2013

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  

* Gomez faults Markley on tax record in Massachusetts race. Steve LeBlanc – The Associated Press. Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Gabriel Gomez on Tuesday criticized what he said is opponent Edward Markey’s penchant for pushing for higher taxes, rather than spending cuts. Link  

* Kansas tax deal still on the lam. The Kansas City Star. The clouded tax debate at the Kansas Statehouse grew ever more muddled Monday after the House rejected a plan for setting the state sales tax at 6 percent. Link  

* Taxes down for Sandy-hit NYC homes, businesses. The Associated Press. More than 88,000 New York City property owners affected by Superstorm Sandy had their property values revised for this year, with many getting lower tax bills, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. Link  

* France seeks overhaul of planned EU ‘Robin Hood’ tax. Hugh Carnegy – The Financial Times. France is agitating for a full overhaul of Europe’s planned financial transaction tax to scale back its reach over derivatives markets while controversially extending the levy to currency trades. Link

* Curious IRS timing. The Wall Street Journal editorial. The IRS has admitted targeting groups that wanted to speak on issues during the 2012 election season. But did the agency also target tax-exempt groups that opposed Administration policy priorities? Link  

* Taxing the rich. Paul Krugman – The New York Times opinion. Over the past three decades we’ve seen a soaring share of income going to the very top of the income distribution even as tax rates on high incomes have fallen sharply. Link  

* The trouble with taxing corporations. Eduardo Porter – The New Times opinion. Successfully combating corporate country-hopping is likely to require international cooperation. And low-tax countries are likely to resist tighter rules. Link  

* Apple’s U.S. revenue should be taxed. Harold Meyerson – The Washington Post opinion. The system of sovereign nation-states — a pretty impressive creation in its day — has become a plaything for big business in the age of globalization and digital communication. Link

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