Today is the extended due date for 2011 calendar year 1041, 1065, 1120 and 1120-S returns.
Was Iowa bidding against itself for fertilizer plant? From the Quad City Times:
When Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad pulled the trigger on the biggest incentive package in state history, he said he did so, in part, because of competition from neighboring Illinois.
But economic development officials with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration say they wanted no part of the project after they got wind of Iowa’s “excessive” bid for the $1.4 billion fertilizer plant for which the Branstad administration offered up to $240 million in state and local tax breaks.
“To be clear — the state never put an offer on the table. We recognized early on that Iowa’s bid was excessive, and we were not going to engage in a bidding war,” Marcelyn Love, communications manager for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, wrote in an email.
Tina Hoffman, spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said the authority relied on the word of Orascom corporate officials and news reports to determine that Illinois was making a play for the fertilizer plant.
“Company officials indicated the tax savings would be in excess of $130 million. That information was validated when an Illinois senator was quoted in several news outlets about the bill he was sponsoring to assist a project like the one Orascom was proposing,” she wrote in an email.
All right, then! If you say so, here’s your $107 million!
Subsidizing the fertilizer plant would be unwise even if there were a bidding war with Illinois. It’s never wise to take money from your taxpayers to lure and subsidize people. As I’ve pointed out, it’s like taking your wife’s purse to the bar to buy drinks for the girls. It’s neither effective or impressive. But apparently there was no real bidding war, and Orascom was going to come to Iowa anyway; if so, they just bluffed Iowa into helping pay for it — and maybe also into indirectly helping finance their purchase of The Weitz Company, Iowa’s oldest and largest construction contractor. Not exactly a shining moment for Iowa tax policy.
Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal rips wealthy whistleblower Birkenfeld, Grassley:
[Birkenfeld] told Bloomberg: “I’m the most famous whistleblower in the history of the world. It’s a question of doing the right thing, and that’s what I did.”
What would have been right was not participating in tax evasion in the first place.
The author of the whistleblower law that so benefited Mr. Birkenfeld was none other than prairie populist Sen. Charles Grassley, who issued a statement this week: “An award of $104 million is obviously a great deal of money, but billions of dollars in taxes owed will be collected that otherwise would not have been paid.”
This is the same Mr. Grassley last heard calling for AIG workers “to resign or commit suicide” during the 2009 retention bonus furor, which also saw the New York Attorney General implicitly threatening to publish the names of innocent AIG employees who didn’t “voluntarily” relinquish money they were legally entitled to.
This is the same Mr. Grassley whom Wikipedia baldly states “repeatedly introduced measures that increase the level of double taxation on American citizens living abroad, including retroactive tax hikes.”
Need we add that Mr. Grassley’s longtime aide, who actually drafted the whistleblower law, now represents Mr. Birkenfeld and stands to collect an interesting percentage of the award Mr. Grassley so obligingly applauds?
Senator Grassley has been a major play in tax policy for nearly three decades. The state of the tax law today isn’t exactly a tribute to the senator.
I’m Barack Obama, and I approve this press release. From a Department of Justice Press Release:
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.
OK, if it’s President Obama’s task force, it’s also President Obama’s IRS that is letting $5 billion annually go out the door to identity thieves. It’s President Obama’s IRS that is tormenting innocent Americans for paperwork foot-faults so that President Obama’s Justice Department can slap internationa tax criminals on the wrist. Glad that’s cleared up.
The current federal tax rates on investment income — dividends and long-term capital gains — expire at the end of this year. Today, the top tax rates for both dividends and capital gains are capped at 15 percent. But if Congress and the president don’t act to extend them, the top tax rate on capital gains will rise to 20 percent and the top tax rate on dividends will rise to 39.6 percent.
It’s worse than that. With the Obamacare tax hikes set to kick in, the actual top rate for dividends will hit 43.4% — nearly tripling the old top rate of 15%.
Kay Bell, Sequestration’s blunt and indiscriminate budget cuts. Also, tiny. From Veronique de Rugy:
Jim Maule, When Tax Ignorance Meets Political Ignorance. Yet while the good professor (rightly) bemoans voter ignorance, he insists that it is wise to put more decisions in the hands of the polticians elected by the same ignorant voters.
Paul Neiffer, Mistakes to Avoid in Lifetime Giving – Part 2
Jack Townsend, Whistleblowers for Swiss Banks Appear to be Live and Well
Jason Dinesen, RTRPs, CPAs, Attorneys and Grandfathering
True: 1099s From Insurance Companies – Don’t Ignore But Don’t Take At Face Value Either (Peter Reilly)
Patrick Temple-West, Financially troubled parts of Europe consider taxing church properties, and more
Will Freeland, NYC Ban on Large Sodas Plagued by Same Problems as Soda Excise Taxes (Tax Policy Blog)
Howard Gleckman, What Mitt Romney Didn’t Learn from Ronald Reagan (TaxVox)
Good question: WHAT TO DO? (Robert D. Flach)
News you can use: If You Get a Tax Refund That’s Someone Else’s, Don’t Spend the Money (Russ Fox)