* Navigating between tax avoidance and evasion. Paul Sullivan – The New York Times. It is fairly difficult to evade taxes on legitimate investments because the I.R.S. can crosscheck the forms supplied by the company and the individual. Where people run afoul of the law is when they cut corners. Link
By Matthew Goldstein
Don’t be surprised if President Obama includes a line or two in his State of Union address this evening about the need for a plan to allow millions of struggling homeowners whose mortgages are packaged into so-called private label mortgage-backed securities to get a chance to either refinance their loans or restructure them.
* After the hurricane, a mound of tax math. Charles DeLafuentie – The New York Times. People who lost their homes or suffered extensive property damage in Hurricane Sandy may qualify for some help from the Internal Revenue Service, but with the usual caveats: the tax code isn’t simple, and not everybody will qualify. Link
* Higher payroll tax pinches those with the least to spare. Nelson Schwartz – The New York Times. At street level, the pain from the expiration of a two-percentage-point break in Social Security taxes in 2011 and 2012 is plain to see. Link
Monday, Feb. 11 – Tuesday, Feb. 12
International Bar Association Taxation Section/Chartered Institute of Taxation European Branch conference on the taxation of offshore income of financial institutions, transfer pricing, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and other topics. London.
* A new Rx for tax bills. Jonathan Rockoff – The Wall Street Journal. Drug makers are taking new steps to lower their taxes significantly, in a boon to their bottom lines. Efforts typically involve shifting revenue overseas where it can be taxed at a lower rate than in the U.S. Link
* Tactics for getting the IRS on the phone. Ann Carrns – The New York Times. Millions of people call the IRS each year. Last tax season, the average wait time to speak to a live representative was 17 minutes, up from 12 minutes in 2011, the Government Accountability Office found. Link