Posts Tagged ‘Peter Suderman’

Tax Roundup, 9/23/14: Lois Lerner interview goes over… not well. And: Inversion action!

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 by Joe Kristan

man-wichLois Lerner’s interview with Politico published yesterday got some reaction. The Tax Prof has a great roundup in The IRS Scandal, Day 502, including these wonderful headlines:

American Thinker:  Politico Does Weepy Story About Poor Lois Lerner

PJ Media:  Politico Disguises A Slobbering Love Letter To Lois Lerner As An Interview

Breitbart:  News Site Seeks Mutually Beneficial Exclusive with Former IRS Exec (Must Love Dogs)

And my favorite:

Daily Caller:  Lois Lerner Compares Herself To Jeffrey Dahmer

So Tea Party-friendly web sites were not won over, apparently.  Some other reaction:

 

Instapundit:

LOIS LERNER TOOK THE FIFTH, but now she’s telling Politico that she did nothing wrong, and that she’s the real victim here. And note the prominent play Politico gives to alleged anti-semitic epithets, and to Lerner’s brownie-baking. So why the media-rehab operation — and that’s what this is — and why now?

But it’s nice to hear that even the Washington revolving-door apparat finds her “untouchable.” Perhaps that’s because nothing much in this story suggests that she didn’t target Tea Party groups for partisan political reasons.

 

David Hirsanyi, Sorry, Politico, But Lois Lerner Is Not A Victim:

 She has already admitted and apologized for the practice of targeting conservatives groups with terms like “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their titles. She claims that it was done in an effort to deal with the surge in applications for tax-exempt status asking for permission to participate in the political process. Yet, she didn’t aim at groups with the “climate change” or “fairness” in their names to mitigate this alleged crush of work she was facing.

Peter Suderman, Unapologetic Lois Lerner Insists She’s Done Nothing Wrong (Reason.com):

Lerner thinks she did nothing wrong, and she won’t apologize. “Regardless of whatever else happens, I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did,” she said in an interview with the paper.

That’s basically all she says about her role in the scandal. Lerner, who, after reading a statement, exercised her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination when called to testify before Congress last year, doesn’t really add anything to her defense with the statements in her piece. She declares that she stands by her work—and that’s it.

And James Taranto reports “Politico landed an exclusive interview with Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the still-unresolved scandal, and to call it a whitewash would be an insult to lime.”

I think we can safely say of this PR stunt, so far, not so good.

Prior Tax Update coverage: Lerner speaks, sort of. And: a federal tax amnesty?

 

No Walnut STTreasury “does something” about inversions.  The moral panic over inversion transactions took its next logical step when the Treasury announced it would issue regulations out of nowhere to “crack down” on corporations trying to escape our awful U.S. corporation income tax. Notice 2014-52 has the technical details.

The Treasury has previously issued such notices, generally describing future regulations, when it is in a hurry to stop some kind of transaction and doesn’t want to wait for the usual regulation comment period to “do something.”

The Wall Street Journal explains the rules in general terms:

The Treasury rules will make it harder for companies that invert to use cash accumulating abroad—a big draw in recent deals. In addition, the government has made it more difficult to complete these overseas mergers.

The tax changes took effect immediately, officials said, and applied to all deals that hadn’t closed by Monday.

The article addresses how the deal might affect pending deals: (I removed the WSJ’s obligatory stock price info):

The new guidelines could impact a number of pending mergers and acquisitions, including Medtronic Inc. s proposed acquisition of Irish medical-device maker Covidien PLC; Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd.’s acquisition of a division of Italy’s Cosmo Pharmaceuticals SpA; and Mylan Inc.’s  pending deal for Abbott Laboratories overseas generics business. It could also interfere with the merger of fruit grower Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Fyffes PLC.

Less clear is how it would impact Burger King Worldwide Inc. BKW -0.48% ‘s proposed acquisition of Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc., THI.T +1.92% a deal that was designed to move the new corporate headquarters to Canada. 

That deal is structured somewhat differently, and experts disagree whether it would be affected by the new government rules. Most agree the rule changes aren’t likely to end inversions altogether.

Of course it won’t. As long as the U.S. has an uncompetitive business tax climate — better only than France and Portugal in the developed world — corporations will be forced to seek self-help, like inversion deals.

Tax Analysts has a story about how the last round of inversion rules created dangers for corporations who aren’t even inverting ($link): “The existing anti-inversion rules under section 7874 create several traps for foreign companies and individuals that could cause transactions to be treated as inversions when no inversion has taken place.”

Unintended consequences result, traps are created for the unwary, and the awful U.S. corporation income tax gets a little worse. Well done, Jack Lew!

The TaxProf has a roundup.  Howard Gleckman asks Does Treasury Have the Legal Authority To Curb Tax Inversions? (TaxVox): “This issue is the subject of heated debate among tax lawyers.”

 

 

buzz20140923Robert D. Flach brings the Tuesday Buzz, including links to posts covering ground from tax holidays to How Does a Sole Proprietor Get Paid?

TaxGrrrl, Back To School 2014: Moving Expenses

Tony Nitti, Tax Court: Anxiety, Depression Are Not Physical Injuries

Russ Fox, They Both Begin With “E”. Embezzlement, evasion. Add another: eventually detected.

Kay Bell, Identity theft tax refund fraud is increasing, but ways to prevent the crime are not likely to be popular

Jason Dinesen, Entrepreneurial Maturity. “In other words, a business owner who has entrepreneurial maturity knows what they don’t know.”

Annette Nellen, Points from your bank. On the “frequent flyer miles” Tax Court case.

Steven Olsen, Summary Opinions for 9/12/14 (Procedurally Taxing). Rounding up recent developments in tax procedure.

Jack Townsend has some Comments on the Warner Sentencing Oral Argument: “The panel was also concerned that, if Warner’s conduct were so bad, why did the Government argue at sentencing for only a sentence of 1 year and 1 day when the Guidelines range was significantly higher.”

 

20140923-1Alan Cole, The U.S. Tax Code is its Worst Competitive Weakness (Tax Policy Blog). “Simply put, while assessments of the U.S. tax code – both at Tax Foundation and elsewhere – are bleak, there is much to be optimistic about in America.”

Martin Sullivan, Should We Give Up On Reagan Style Tax Reform? (Tax Analysts Blog) “The landmark 1986 Tax Reform Act is an inspiration to all would-be tax reformers. But reforms following that basic framework have gotten nowhere in Congress.”

Steve Warnhoff, The Estate Tax Is Not Doing Enough to Mitigate Inequality: State-by-State Figures (Tax Justice Blog). It’s not working, so lets do it more, harder!

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Tax Roundup, 11/12/13: Mason City is cold edition. But: a reprieve!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 by Joe Kristan

The ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation Farm and Urban Tax School makes its Mason City stop today.  7 degrees and sunny.

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But we have a sold-out house today to keep us warm!  We are also sold out for Thursday in Ottumwa.  Meanwhile Paul Neiffer helps with the second day of the show today in Sheldon and tomorrow here.  Seats are going fast for our remaining sessions in Waterloo, Red Oak, Denison and Ames, so register today!  And if you come to one of the shows, please come up and say hi!

 

The first chart for any tax policy debate is in this post from Andrew Lundeen at the Tax Policy Blog,  Government at All Levels Redistributed $2 Trillion in 2012

 givers and takers

 From the study referenced in the post:

As Chart 1 illustrates, the typical family in the lowest 20 percent in 2012 (with market incomes between $0 and $17,104) pays an average of $6,331 in total taxes and receives $33,402 in spending from all levels of government. Thus, the average amount of redistribution to a typical family in the bottom quintile is estimated to be $27,071. The vast majority of this net benefit, a total of $21,158, comes as a result of federal policies.

Before considering any more taxes on “the rich,” it’s worth stopping to understand what is already happening, and to consider that if this isn’t solving the problem, maybe more of the same isn’t the answer.

 

You don’t get a “reprieve” from something you should look forward to: “Iowa gets Obamacare reprieve.”  Coming from Press-citizen.com, the party newspaper of the People’s Republic of Iowa City, that’s probably not the sort of headline to cheer up the administration.

 

train-wreck Megan McArdle, Hope Is All Obamacare Has Left :

When the tech geeks raised concerns about their ability to deliver the website on time, they are reported to have been told “Failure is not an option.” Unfortunately, this is what happens when you say “failure is not an option”: You don’t develop backup plans, which means that your failure may turn into a disaster.

Great idea!

 

Peter Suderman, Time to Start Considering Obamacare’s Worst Case Scenarios (Reason.com):

But it’s time to start considering the worst-case scenarios: that the exchanges continue to malfunction, that plan cancellations go into effect, that insurers see the political winds shifting and stop playing nice with the administration, and that significant numbers of people are left stranded without coverage as a result. Rather than reforming the individual market, which was flawed but did work for some people, Obamacare will have destroyed it and left only dysfunction and chaos in its wake. 

None of this makes me optimistic for a repeal of the inane 3.8% net investment income tax enacted to finance the debacle.  Cleaning up the disaster will be costly, and they’ll need the money for it.

 

Trish McIntire, The New January 21st.  “Despite the delay in the start of the tax season, taxpayers won’t get extra time to file their returns.”

 

Check out Robert D. Flach’s Tuesday Buzz!

Jack Townsend,  IRS Authority to Settle After Referral to DOJ Tax, a discussion of Ron Isley’s tax troubles.

Brian Mahany,  IRS Makes Important Changes For FBAR Appeals – FBAR Lawyer Blog

Fiduciary Income Tax Blog, Valuation of Indirect Ownership Through a Trust

Norton Francis, Narrow Tax Hikes Win Support in Several States (TaxVox)

 

All the news that’s fit to print.  NY Times: Estate Planning for Sex Toys (TaxProf)

News from the Profession.  Someone With Lots of Spare Time Has Doodled Big 4 Stereotypes (Going Concern).

 

 

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Tax Roundup, 12/20/2012: Blizzard! And meeting interesting people via social media.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

20121220-3Yes, the blizzard came.  It’s still snowing at 6 a.m., with up to 14 inches.  Here’s what happens next:

* WINDS/VISIBILITY…NORTHWEST WINDS WILL BECOME VERY STRONG AND CONTINUE THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS OVER 50 MPH ARE LIKELY. BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WILL BE WIDESPREAD BY 6 AM WITH BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW LEADING TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS AT TIMES THROUGH THE DAY.

* IMPACTS…LIFE-THREATENING BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED INTO THURSDAY MORNING. TRAVEL WILL BECOME DIFFICULT…IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE DUE TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ADVISES NO TRAVEL! POWER OUTAGES MAY BECOME MORE PREVALENT BY MORNING AS HEAVY SNOW IS WEIGHING DOWN TREES AND STRONG WINDS BY MORNING AND AFTERNOON MAY FELL TREES ON POWER LINES…RESULTING IN POWER OUTAGES.

So, telecommuting.

Still dancing on the edge of the cliff.  The President has threatened to veto House Speaker “Plan B” tax bill (see yesterday’s Tax Roundup).  The House is planning to vote on the bill today.  The Wall Street Journal reports ($link):

The talks remained frozen Wednesday as both sides awaited the outcome of Thursday’s vote. Messrs. Obama and Boehner (R., Ohio) have not negotiated since Monday and continued to take shots at each other in public.

“There are a lot of gyrations, tensions and difficulties, and this could still go awry,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.). “But we are closer on Wednesday than we were on Friday. All the other major budget deals were all last-minute deals.”

Peter Suderman has tweeted:

20121220-1

Maybe so.  Forgive me if I’m not reassured.  Not when the acting IRS Commissioner has this to say (my emphasis):

As I stated in my letter dated November 13, 2012, the IRS has maintained the programming of its systems assuming that the AMT will be patched as it has been in previous years. I also indicated that if an AMT patch is not enacted by the end of this year, the IRS would need to make significant programming changes to conform our systems to reflect the expiration of the patch. In that event, given the magnitude and complexity of the changes needed, I want to reiterate that most taxpayers may not be able to file their 2012 tax returns until late in March of 2013, or even later.

As we consider the impact of the current policy uncertainty on the upcoming tax filing season, it is becoming apparent that an even larger number of taxpayers — 80 to 100 million of the 150 million total returns expected to be filed — may be unable to file.

That would make tax season even more fun!

Fiscal Cliff Notes:

Nick Kasprak, How do Personal Income Tax Increases Affect Small Business?  (Tax Policy Blog).  The post shows how much income that will be taxed under the President’s proposals and “Plan B” will be business income.  In Iowa, 25.1% of the adjusted gross income on returns with AGI over $200,000 is business income; the percentage is 37.24% on returns with AGI over $1 million.  In other words, increases in taxes on “the rich” punish Iowa employers.

Elaine Maag, Toppling Over the Fiscal Cliff Could Cost low-Income Families $1,000 in Reduced Tax Credits (TaxVox)

Patrick Temple-West, Boehner’s backup tax plan shakes up ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations, and more (Tax Break)

Year-end techniques from the edge of the Fiscal Cliff.  My new post at IowaBiz.com, The Des Moines Business Record’s blog for entrepreneurs.

 

Cara Smith, Just Do It. A bad idea when a big company comes to the state looking for a special tax break.

Russ Fox, “Tax Guys” Get Taxing Result.   It seems that two Michigan preparers specialized in inventing earned income for clients to commit earned income tax credit fraud.

Paul Neiffer,  Annual Exclusion Update  Paul explains the annual gift tax exclusion.

TaxProf, Ninth Circuit: NOL ‘Carryover’ Does Not Include NOL ‘Carryback’

Jack Townsend,  More Swiss Bank Enablers Indicted

Peter Reilly,  No Bankruptcy Escape From Bad Tax Shelter And Compound Interest

William Perez,  Tax Software for Planning Out Your Year-End Tax Moves.

Kay Bell, Donder says harvest investment losses; Reindeer Year-end Tax Games Tip #7

 

Oversharing.  Social media experts caution us to be discreet in what we share on our Facebook pages.  A Florida woman failed to follow that advice, reports Tampa Bay Times:

TAMPA — Rashia Wilson all but dared investigators to catch her, court records show.

“I’m Rashia, the queen of IRS tax fraud,” Wilson said May 22 on her Facebook page, according to investigators. “I’m a millionaire for the record. So if you think that indicting me will be easy, it won’t. I promise you. I won’t do no time, dumb b——.”

It’s also bad form to make promises you may not be able to keep:

Grand jurors apparently got the message and responded with a 57-count indictment charging Wilson, 27, of Wimauma and her boyfriend, Maurice Larry, 26, of Tampa with mail fraud, filing false tax returns, conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and theft of government property.

She is charged with stealing over $1 million.  If the case is like many others coming out of the Tampa area, it involves identity theft.  It shows that the IRS is just sharp enough to go after you if you go out of your way to tell the world that you are tax fraud royalty.

 

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The toothless tax bandwagon

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

Everybody seems to be noticing that the “personally responsibility requirement,” the rule fining folks who don’t buy health insurance, is toothless. There is now coverage at:
Marginal Revolution (thanks for the link!)
BigGovernment.com
TaxProf.blog
Megan McArdle
– Megan’s betrothed, Peter Suderman
And even Instapundit.
Commenters on some of the blogs suspect IRS would adopt a rule applying any withholding first to the fee. That sort of flexibility isn’t out of the question, but it doesn’t appear in the rules, so it might not work. If the IRS has no authority to enforce or collect the fee, as seems to be the case, then taxpayers could leave the fee off their returns without fear — leaving nothing for the IRS to apply payments to.
Whatever fix Congress or IRS eventually come up with, one thing is clear: considering that the individual mandate is key to making the whole Obamacare thing work, they sure screwed it up.

UPDATE
: At the TaxProf blog, two tax professors look at the statute and conclude that the IRS still has some collection tools, primarily its right of offset against other payments. But if there is no penalty for leaving the tax/fee/penalty/whatever off your tax return in the first place, and no interest charge for late payment, then not reporting is still a good bet. One prof says a technical correction would be in order. Full repeal should do the trick.

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