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

May 30, 2013

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    

* Fund manager in Dakota suit faces tax lien. Josh Barbanel – The Wall Street Journal. The Internal Revenue Service has filed a $1.4 million income-tax lien against Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr., the hedge-fund manager who sued the famed Dakota co-op for discrimination and defamation after the board turned down his request to buy another apartment there next to one he already owned. Link   

* The IRS’s approval ratings are free falling. Scott Clement – The Washington Post. A Fox News poll released last week found 57 percent of registered voters profess “not much” or no confidence at all in the IRS. Link    

* Any closer to tax reform? Jennifer Rubin – The Washington Post opinion. Unless lawmakers and the White House can get creative with a series of small deals, it is hard to see how a tax deal gets done. Link    

* The IRS scandal is about targeting conservatives, not scrutinizing 501(c)4s. Ezra Klein – The Washington Post opinion. Whether the intent was benign, as the IRS swears, or rogue agents were carrying out a political vendetta, the effect was to politicize the IRS’s filtering process. That’s a huge problem. Link

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