Tax Analysts®Tax Analysts®

My Subscriptions:

Featured News

December 23, 2013
District Court Rebukes IRS Church Plan Rulings
by David Cay Johnston
David Cay Johnston reports on the first court case in an expanding effort to exempt pension plans from ERISA on religious grounds; the decision implicitly criticizes the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.
December 18, 2013
Kentucky Judge Expresses Skepticism Over DOR's Refusal to Release Letter Rulings
by Jennifer Carr
Based on the tone and content of his comments, a Kentucky circuit court judge appears likely to order the Department of Revenue to release redacted copies of the agency's final letter rulings.
December 16, 2013
Tax Policy and the Bible
by Bruce Bartlett
Bruce Bartlett uses a recent statement by Pope Francis to examine what the Bible says about tax policy, and he finds that academic opinion about biblical principles of taxation has shifted in a more progressive direction over the last 10 years.
December 12, 2013
12 States Compete for Boeing Jobs, but Few Disclose Details
by Henry J. Reske; Maria Koklanaris
Executives at aerospace giant Boeing Co. on December 10 received a pile of early Christmas presents chock-full of tax breaks and incentives from states hoping to secure production facilities for a new line of commercial jets, the 777X.
December 12, 2013
Koskinen Pledges Transparency and Accountability in Confirmation Hearing
by William Hoffman
The Senate Finance Committee will vote December 13 on the nomination of John Koskinen to be the next commissioner of the IRS, after finishing the second half of his two-day confirmation hearing December 11.
December 9, 2013
Billions of Tax Dollars Later, No New Jobs for New York
by David Cay Johnston
The fast-increasing use of tax incentives by all 50 states has failed to increase jobs or investment, two respected experts on state tax policy found after reviewing more than 50 years of giveaways.
December 6, 2013
IRS Cites Exceptional Circumstances as Reason for Delayed Response to FOIA Request
by Lindsey McPherson
Arguing that the unexpected volume of information requests it has received regarding the IRS determinations process for tax-exempt organizations constitutes exceptional circumstances under the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to delay proceedings in litigation with Tax Analysts.
December 2, 2013
Property Taxes in the United States
by Benjamin H. Harris and Brian David Moore
Ben Harris and Brian Moore provide an overview of the distribution of property tax rates in the United States.
December 2, 2013
Minnesota's Tax Hike: The Executive Director's Cut
by Billy Hamilton
Public policy issues have many sides, and where you stand depends on where you sit.
November 25, 2013
NFL's Tax Exemption Faces Scrutiny
by David van den Berg
David van den Berg discusses the organizational structure of the NFL, the history and reasons behind its tax-exempt status, and why that designation may not last.
November 22, 2013
Opinion: Sparrows and Blue Jays Balk at Wind Energy Cronyism
by David Brunori
Let's think about wind. Wind is renewable, which means we do not have to wait for dead dinosaurs to turn into crude oil. It also means we do not have to wait for peat to turn into coal, which takes even longer.
November 22, 2013
Time to Rethink Green Tax Preferences
by Diana Furchtgott-Roth
Furchtgott-Roth argues that tax breaks for alternative energy do not make sense because wind and solar power raise the cost of electricity, disproportionately affecting low-income Americans and slowing economic growth.
November 14, 2013
Taxpayer Advocate Decries IRS Customer Service
by Kristen A. Parillo
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson in a November 9 speech decried as pitiful the level of IRS customer service given to taxpayers, which she attributed to inadequate funding that has forced the Service to automate many of the most important tax administration functions and skimp on training employees on taxpayer rights.
November 8, 2013
IRS Releases EO Training Documents Following Tax Analysts Lawsuit
by Chuck O'Toole
In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Tax Analysts, the IRS has released nearly 3,000 pages of training materials used by the Service's scandal-plagued exempt organizations determinations office.
November 7, 2013
Camp Asks IRS for Breakdown of ACA Premium Tax Credit Application Info
by Eric Kroh
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., on November 6 asked the IRS to provide more information about applications the agency has received to determine eligibility for health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
November 4, 2013
Jury Convicts Three KPMG Defendants, Acquits Another
by Jeremiah Coder
What was once the United States' largest criminal tax prosecution ended with a spectacular fizzle on December 17, 2008 when a jury in the KPMG LLP case convicted three of the remaining four defendants for participation in the sale of tax shelters the IRS deemed illegal.
November 4, 2013
Former BDO Seidman CEO Acquitted of Tax Shelter Charges, Attorney Convicted
by Andrew Velarde and Kristen A. Parillo
A federal jury on October 31 acquitted former BDO Seidman CEO Denis Field of all charges that he led and participated in purported fraudulent tax shelters.
October 30, 2013
Top 10 Things to Know Heading Into the Budget Conference
by Lindsey McPherson
As the joint conference committee on the budget gets ready to hold its first meeting October 30, here are the top 10 things you need to know about the budget conference.
October 25, 2013
Recent Granite Trust-Type Ruling May Accelerate All Losses if Basis Hops
by Amy S. Elliott
Practitioners are latching on to a recent private letter ruling that could allow corporations to accelerate 100 percent of their losses in a subsidiary's stock through a Granite Trust fact pattern, provided Rev. Rul. 71-563, 1971-2 C.B. 175, applies to allow basis hopping.
October 23, 2013
FATCA and Offshore Trusts: A Second Bite of the Elephant
by Peter A. Cotorceanu
Peter A. Cotorceanu discusses the classification of trusts under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and concludes that most trusts will be foreign financial institutions under the final regulations and model intergovernmental agreements.
October 21, 2013
Loving v. IRS: Treasury's Authority to Regulate Tax Return Preparers
by Lawrence B. Gibbs
Lawrence B. Gibbs takes issue with the prior decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Loving v. IRS and urges a reversal by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
October 17, 2013
Goodlatte Considering New Audit Framework for Marketplace Fairness Act
by Amy Hamilton
As he considers what his version of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 might look like, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is examining whether to rework not only the small-seller exemption but also the single-audit requirement, according to several sources.
October 17, 2013
Fiscal Deal Sets Up Budget Conference, Raising Questions About Tax Reform
by Lindsey McPherson
At press time October 16, Congress appeared ready to approve a bill that would reopen the government, prevent a debt ceiling breach, and set up a joint conference committee on the budget where the House and Senate could further negotiate fiscal issues such as tax reform.
October 15, 2013
This Is Why We Fight: A Survey of New York Tax Issues
by Aaron M. Young, Jack Trachtenberg, and Jennifer S. Goldstein
As a result of ambiguous and antiquated state tax codes, taxpayers and their advisers struggle to determine and comply with their state and local tax obligations.
October 10, 2013
IRS Shutdown Adds to Economic Headwinds for Businesses, Individuals
by William Hoffman
For a small but growing number of businesses and families across the United States, the week-old federal government shutdown has left a gaping -- and expanding -- IRS-sized hole in the economy.
October 8, 2013
In Search of a Win-Win for the Virginia BPOL Tax
by Brian Strahle
In light of recent calls for its elimination, Brian Strahle outlines the issues with the Virginia business, professional, and occupational license tax and says that because many localities rely on revenue generated by the tax, it should be retooled, not repealed.
October 7, 2013
Tax Reform Is Coming -- Just Not Yet
by Christopher Bergin
Bergin writes that although tax reform is unlikely in the short term without presidential leadership, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees are laying the groundwork for the future, when reform is inevitable.
October 2, 2013
Headaches Abound for Practitioners, Public as Shutdown Enters Second Day
by William Hoffman
The IRS's decision to furlough all employees of the Taxpayer Advocate Service during the federal government shutdown could cost some taxpayers their property or even their lives, said Nina Olson, speaking as a private citizen and not in her capacity as the National Taxpayer Advocate, on October 1.
October 1, 2013
Transcript Available of Tax Analysts' Forum on Implications of Sun Capital
The transcript is available of a September 27 roundtable discussion sponsored by Tax Analysts on the tax implications of the First Circuit's trade or business determination in Sun Capital Partners.
September 30, 2013
100 Years of the Tax Code: 100 Tax Quotes
The quotes presented are from the 10th edition of As Certain As Death: Quotations About Taxes, which will be published by Tax Analysts in 2015.
September 30, 2013
'Outside Limit' on Tax Refund Suits After Bormes
by Mary Monahan and Victoria O'Connor
In this article, Monahan and O'Connor point out that the Supreme Court's decision in Bormes sheds new light on the Court's holdings that the tax-specific statute of limitations applies to refund suits.
September 27, 2013
News Analysis: The Sun Capital Decision in Perspective
by Lee A. Sheppard
One of the benefits of being a fashionista is the ability to understand when other phenomena that people believe herald some brave new world are just fads.
September 27, 2013
Private Equity Is a Business: Sun Capital and Beyond
by Steven M. Rosenthal
The First Circuit recently decided that a private equity fund is a trade or business for purposes of ERISA. This article describes that decision and its implications for tax law and policy.
September 26, 2013
Scandal at the IRS: Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic
by Alan J. Wilensky
This article discusses the IRS's recent problems in the exempt organizations area. It recommends that these and other problems the agency has had since the enactment of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 be studied in detail by a bipartisan panel. It also suggests that the notion of having professional managers head the agency, rather than tax professionals, decreased the sense of duty to the tax system that has been critical to the organization's historically high ethical and cultural standards.
September 23, 2013
Baucus Not Planning to Mark Up Separate Tax Extenders Bill This Year
by Lindsey McPherson
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., told Tax Analysts September 19 that he does not plan to have his committee mark up a separate tax extenders bill to renew tax provisions that expire at the end of the year.
September 23, 2013
EU Tax Dodging Costs Developing Nations $100 Billion Each Year, NGO Report Says
by Stephanie Soong Johnston
Developing countries are losing out on at least $100 billion in tax revenues each year because of EU corporate tax dodging resulting from inadequate international tax policies, according to a report published September 18 by a coalition of European nongovernmental organizations.
September 20, 2013
Lerner E-Mails Reveal Some Considerations Behind IRS Scrutiny of Tea Party Applications
by Lindsey McPherson
Select e-mails between embattled IRS official Lois Lerner and other IRS employees during 2011 and 2012 provided to Tax Analysts on September 12 reveal some of the issues IRS employees were considering when they decided to more closely scrutinize conservative groups' exemption applications.
September 19, 2013
TIGTA Says Chief Counsel Offices at Risk for Outside Influence on Letter Rulings
by Amy S. Elliott
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on September 18 released a report finding that the IRS Office of Chief Counsel doesn't have policies or systems in place to prevent taxpayers and their representatives from influencing the assignment of their private letter ruling requests to preferred chief counsel attorneys.
September 18, 2013
IRS Needs to Improve Tax Gap Estimates, TIGTA Finds
by William Hoffman
The IRS should produce more timely and accurate estimates of the tax gap and consider new ways to measure businesses' contributions to the gap, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report released September 16.
September 18, 2013
IRS Enforcement Revenue and Employment Both Down Double Digits, TIGTA Finds
by William Hoffman
The IRS in fiscal 2012 collected less in enforcement revenue for a second straight year, bringing in just $50.2 billion compared with $55.2 billion in fiscal 2011 and $57.6 billion in fiscal 2010 -- a 13 percent drop in the same two years that the agency also lost 14 percent of its enforcement personnel.
September 16, 2013
EU Council Opinion Casts Doubt on Legality of Financial Transaction Tax
by David D. Stewart and Stephanie Soong Johnston
An internal legal opinion prepared by the EU Council Legal Service has raised concerns that the proposed financial transaction tax, currently under consideration, would have an extraterritorial reach that infringes on the tax rights of nonparticipating member states.
September 16, 2013
The FATCA Registration Process -- A Primer on the IRS FFI Net
by Dean Marsan
In this report, Marsan examines the new foreign financial institution registration process created by the IRS and how it will fit into the larger FATCA and tax information global ecosystem.
September 10, 2013
U.K.'s Retroactive Shortening of Tax Restitution Statute of Limitations Violates EU Law, Advocate General Says
by Randall Jackson
In a September 5 opinion, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet recommended that the European Court of Justice hold that a member state may not retroactively and without notice shorten the statute of limitations on the restitution of illegal taxes.
September 10, 2013
News Analysis: FATCA Arbitrage Through London
by Lee A. Sheppard
Britain and the United States have a special relationship. Actually, the term special relationship is relatively recent. The special relationship has often taken the form of the Americans asking the British to do something big, messy, or ugly with only speculative returns. Many Brits are still wondering what the United Kingdom got in return for assisting in the invasion of Iraq.
September 10, 2013
News Analysis: What Should the OECD Do About Base Erosion?
by Lee A. Sheppard
Tivoli Gardens, a tiny amusement park situated in central Copenhagen, is either a charming reminder of a more innocent time or an accident waiting to happen, depending on your point of view. Copenhagen was the site of the 2013 International Fiscal Association annual congress, the official color of which was fuchsia pink (yes, your correspondent did don a pair of pink tights one day).
August 21, 2013
Baucus, Camp Talk Tax Reform 'Trade-Off' at California Tech Company Visits
by Lindsey McPherson
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., visited Intel on August 20 and Square Inc. on August 19 in the third stop on their Simpler Taxes for America Tour.
August 21, 2013
News Analysis: Can Any Company Be a REIT?
by Lee A. Sheppard
What is a hedge fund? A tax practitioner might think of a hedge fund as a U.S.-managed, Cayman-organized partnership that really ought to be redomesticated so we can stop wasting our time arguing about the application of the effectively connected income rules.
August 20, 2013
More Personnel Moves in IRS EO Function
by Fred Stokeld
The IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division is continuing to make personnel changes amid the Tea Party scandal, with some officials receiving new assignments.
August 20, 2013
Conservative Groups Still May Be Getting Secondary Screening
by Fred Stokeld and David van den Berg
Three months after an uproar erupted regarding the IRS's mishandling of conservative organizations' exemption applications, the agency still appears to be subjecting Tea Party groups to extra scrutiny, according to House Ways and Means Committee majority staff.
August 20, 2013
ALEC Task Force Adopts Washington State Tax Transparency Law as Model Bill
by Maria Koklanaris
The Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council has voted to move forward with model legislation that would require lawmakers to shine light on their votes to provide tax preferences, an ALEC director said in an interview with Tax Analysts.
August 20, 2013
How Broad Should State Sales Tax Bases Be? A Review of the Empirical Literature
by William F. Fox and LeAnn Luna
In a perfect world, sales tax practice would be relatively straightforward because many concepts are agreed on by most economists and are supported by well-articulated models. However, the reality is that state sales taxing systems in the United States do not accord well with normally espoused statements that are at least purportedly drawn from theory and that vary widely from state to state and even between localities in the same state.
August 16, 2013
Debunking the Economic Boom Myth
by Carl Davis, Matthew Gardner, and Harley Heimovitz
In November 2011, Arthur Laffer's consulting firm (Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics) prepared a study for the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs (OCPA) that has been repeatedly cited in recent debates over cutting state personal income taxes.
August 15, 2013
15 Years After RRA '98: Time to Re-restructure the IRS?
by William Hoffman
Angry taxpayers descend on Capitol Hill complaining of abuse by the IRS and prompting multiple investigations and congressional hearings, as well as the introduction of legislation that would reform -- or even abolish -- the nation's tax-collecting agency.
August 14, 2013
U.S. Senators Move to Make Ban on Internet Access Taxes Permanent
by Henry J. Reske
U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Thune, R-S.D., introduced legislation August 1 to make permanent the ban on state and local jurisdictions taxing Internet access.
August 7, 2013
Don't Rush to Judgment on IRS-FEC E-Mails, Practitioners Say
by Fred Stokeld and David van den Berg
Practitioners and law professors on August 6 said it's important not to jump to conclusions over e-mails between the Federal Election Commission and the former director of the IRS's exempt organizations function that some lawmakers say may reveal the two agencies' collusion in targeting conservative political groups.
August 5, 2013
Manufacturing Tax Break Gone Wild
by David Cay Johnston
A federal judge has held that putting wrapped candy bars and wine bottles into gift baskets qualifies for a 2004 tax break for manufacturing. David Cay Johnston argues that the decision is too broad an interpretation of manufacturing for the purposes of the section 199 deduction.
August 5, 2013
Sales Tax Holidays on the Planet of the Apes
by David Brunori
Some aficionados of the genre may remember this from the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes: After the climactic battle, former underwear model Mark Wahlberg and the always alluring (even when dressed as a gorilla) Helena Bonham Carter convince man and ape to make peace and work together for the common good. The idea of man and ape together shocks those who followed the seven Planet of the Apes movies. Man and ape don't reconcile. I experience that same shock when organizations on opposite ends of the political spectrum agree. But it is happening more often, and I plan to highlight it when it occurs.
August 2, 2013
Obama to Nominate John Koskinen as IRS Commissioner
by Eric Kroh and William Hoffman
President Obama on August 1 announced his intention to nominate John Koskinen to be the next IRS commissioner.
August 1, 2013
Tax Analysts Joins Kentucky Suit Seeking Release of DOR Rulings
by Maria Koklanaris
Tax Analysts has intervened in a state transparency case asking the Kentucky courts to order the release of final rulings issued by the Department of Revenue and the Finance and Administration Cabinet, the organization's president said July 30.
July 30, 2013
Baucus and Camp Tout Simplification at Tax Reform Tour Stop in Philadelphia
by Lindsey McPherson
Simplification was the theme of the day as House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., took to the road July 29, visiting two businesses and a taxpayer in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
July 29, 2013
Saving Private IRS
by Christopher Bergin
Bergin uses Mortimer Caplin's 97th birthday as an occasion to highlight the former IRS commissioner as an example of the hardworking and dedicated people who work at the nation's tax collection agency, and he calls on congressional critics of the IRS to take a more reasonable approach to funding and supporting tax administration.
July 26, 2013
Can The G20 Make Multinationals Pay Tax?
by Lee A. Sheppard
Can the G20 make multinationals pay tax? Finance ministers adopted an ambitious action plan to partially rewrite current international rules to prevent mostly American multinational corporations from avoiding tax in countries where they do business. Is this a serious effort or an attempt to paper over problems? It’s a little of both.
July 26, 2013
Tax History: Who Stands for the Public Tax Interest?
by Joseph J. Thorndike
In tax history, Joseph J. Thorndike looks at the role of Tax Analysts in helping to represent the public interest in tax policy and at a proposal that would give some organizations standing to sue on behalf of the general public.
July 25, 2013
Decision to Seal Tax Reform Submissions Until 2064 Prompts Participation, Baucus Says
by Lindsey McPherson and Meg Shreve
The Senate Finance Committee has pledged to effectively lock up until the end of 2064 any submissions it receives from senators in response to the chair and ranking minority member's call for feedback on tax provisions that should make it into a new tax code -- an odd procedure that has apparently prompted more senators to engage in the process.
July 24, 2013
Photo Op With President Turns Wilkins Into Latest EO Scandal Target
by Amy S. Elliott
What may have been a harmless photo opportunity with President Obama has turned into a public relations crisis for IRS Chief Counsel William J. Wilkins, who has become a top suspect for those convinced that the Service's mishandling of the exemption applications of politically conservative organizations was orchestrated by the White House.
July 22, 2013
Tax Court Holds It Has Jurisdiction to Review APA Cancellations
by Jaime Arora
Finding that it has the jurisdiction to review advance pricing agreement cancellations, the Tax Court on June 26 decided that such cancellations should be reviewed using the abuse of discretion standard.
July 22, 2013
News Analysis: Draft Senate Finance APA Report Shows Incompetent IRS
by Lee A. Sheppard
The IRS Advance Pricing Agreement Program has serious problems, according to a draft Senate Finance Committee report.
July 22, 2013
News Analysis: APA Cancellations Diminish IRS Program's Appeal
by Jeremiah Coder
In news analysis, Jeremiah Coder discusses the IRS's recent cancellation of two advance pricing agreements it had entered into with Eaton Corp., as well as Eaton's subsequent challenge of the cancellation in court, and considers the effects that the cancellations could have on the APA program.
July 22, 2013
Who Killed the Senate APA Report?
by Lisa Nadal
Lisa Nadal explores what happened to the Senate Finance Committee's investigation of the advance pricing agreement program launched in December 2003 and to the related draft report that was never released to the public.
July 22, 2013
News Analysis: OECD BEPS Action Plan: Trying to Save the System
by Lee A. Sheppard
The OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration released its action plan to deal with base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) last week. As predicted, it is a multifaceted attempt to shore up the current international consensus of separate company accounting and transfer pricing.
July 16, 2013
News Analysis: The Personal Impact of Offshore Enforcement
by Marie Sapirie
In news analysis, Marie Sapirie discusses the experience of four taxpayers who used the IRS's offshore voluntary disclosure programs and how the IRS's one-size-fits-all approach is inappropriate.
July 8, 2013
A First Look at 2007 Schedule M-3 Reporting by Large Corporations
by Charles E. Boynton, Portia DeFilippes, Ellen J. Legel, and Todd J. Reum
The study emphasizes the importance of the largest corporations to the U.S. corporate tax system and also the importance of "mixed groups," tax consolidated groups with a non-insurance parent and one or more insurance subsidiaries.
July 8, 2013
Economic Analysis: Pfizer's Tax Picture Dominated by U.S. Losses, Repatriation
by Martin A. Sullivan
Like its drug business, Pfizer's tax situation is a jumble of events and trends that eludes easy interpretation.
July 8, 2013
Economic Analysis: New Corporate Coalition Accepts That Reform Won't Be Painless
by Martin A. Sullivan
There was a time not long ago when corporate America hoped it could have it all. It would lobby for a corporate rate cut and a territorial system and let somebody else worry about footing the bill. And why shouldn't business think that way? After all, President George W. Bush pushed through huge individual tax rate cuts in 2001 and capital gains and dividend rate cuts in 2003 without paying for them.
July 8, 2013
Tax History: Abraham Lincoln Paid Income Taxes -- But He Didn't Have To
by Joseph J. Thorndike
Abraham Lincoln paid income taxes throughout the Civil War, but after his death, Treasury returned all his payments to his estate.
July 3, 2013
New York Supreme Court Denies Sprint's Motion to Dismiss Qui Tam Suit
The New York Supreme Court, New York County, denied Sprint Nextel's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general alleging that the company intentionally failed to collect the proper amount of sales tax on its wireless telephone services.
June 27, 2013
IRS Ending Relationship With IT Contractor After Oversight Probe
by William Hoffman
The IRS is taking steps to end its relationship with IT contractor Strong Castle Inc. after accusations that the company's owner had an inappropriate relationship with an IRS procurement officer surfaced in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Beth Tucker said June 26.
June 24, 2013
Separate and Unequal Standards of Performance and Integrity
by David Cay Johnston
The IRS relies heavily on contractors, but it does not hold them to anything close to the standards of performance and integrity required of its own employees.
June 24, 2013
Ways and Means Considers Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
by Jaime Arora and Matthew R. Madara
Questioning a panel of experts on the merits of a territorial regime, offshore cash stockpiles, and the promotion of American manufacturing, the House Ways and Means Committee considered how best to combat base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) at a hearing on June 13.
June 24, 2013
OECD Consults on Transfer Pricing of Intangibles
OECD Working Party 6 has issued a discussion paper on draft guidance on intangibles and transfer pricing simplification; interested parties should submit comments by September 14, and a public consultation will be held in Paris the week of November 5.
June 24, 2013
Days of Double Nontaxation Are Over, Stack Says
by Kristen A. Parillo
The days of double nontaxation for multinational companies are over, according to Robert Stack, Treasury deputy assistant secretary (international tax affairs).
June 24, 2013
Economic Analysis: The 3-Way Tug of War for Intangible Profits
by Martin A. Sullivan
In economic analysis, Martin A. Sullivan discusses the three possible approaches to handling profits from intangible assets and a recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing that highlighted each method.
June 17, 2013
Targeting of Conservative Groups Started in Cincinnati, Cummings Summary Shows
by Fred Stokeld and Lindsey McPherson
A summary of interviews congressional investigators conducted with IRS employees in the Cincinnati office responsible for handling exemption applications shows that the targeting of conservative groups originated in Cincinnati, as IRS officials had initially claimed.
June 11, 2013
IRS Management Culture Must Be Fixed
by David Cay Johnston
Serious problems in IRS management culture will only worsen as Congress focuses on trivia and ignores the problems created by conflicts in mission, law, and a lack of funds to do the work, especially training.
June 10, 2013
A Principal Purpose: There Can Be Only One
by Benjamin M. Willis
In this article, Willis explores the confusion created by the different interpretations of the principal purpose of tax avoidance standard.
June 10, 2013
IRS Is Studying Fee Waivers
by Amy S. Elliott
The IRS isn't holding its breath for direction from Congress on the taxation of carried interest and is moving forward on a tangential issue -- the treatment of fee waivers -- which it has determined is "fair game," Clifford Warren, special counsel in the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries), said April 30.
June 10, 2013
Trouble at TE/GE
by George White
George White comments on how, despite current friction, relations between the IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division and exempt organization practitioners traditionally have been quite cordial.
June 3, 2013
IRS Oversight Board Says Budget Cuts Will Harm Agency Performance Significantly in 2014
by Eric Kroh
If allowed to continue, the IRS budget cuts that are already straining the agency will lead to more significant reductions in revenue and performance in 2014, the IRS Oversight Board said in its report on the IRS's fiscal 2014 budget request.
May 30, 2013
News Analysis: Substantial Minority of Scrutinized EOs Were Not Conservative
by Martin A. Sullivan
In news analysis, Martin A. Sullivan reviews some IRS data on tax exemption applications that were subjected to extra review and finds that a substantial minority were from nonconservative groups.
May 27, 2013
News Analysis: What Treasury Should Say to Multinationals
by Lee A. Sheppard
This is a hypothetical memorandum from the Treasury Department to U.S. multinationals, in response to their disbelief that the international tax system will have to change and that they will have to pay some taxes somewhere.
May 23, 2013
The IRS Is in Big Trouble
by Christopher Bergin
Bergin discusses the catastrophic ramifications of the IRS's recent apology for mishandling the applications of conservative exempt organizations and how things might be worse for the agency now than they were after the 1998 restructuring act.
May 22, 2013
O'Neill Testimony at Senate Finance Committee Confirmation Hearing
Nomination of Paul O'Neill to be Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
May 21, 2013
Alabama Should Take This Chance at Improving Its Tax System
The Alabama Legislature is running out of time to make a significant, positive change to its tax system. Legislation (HB 264) to establish an independent tax tribunal has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.
May 20, 2013
Joe and Marilyn (and Apple)
by George White
A recent nontax court case shed light on how Apple is really handling its "locked-out" foreign earnings.
May 20, 2013
IRS Scandal Will Affect Taxpayer and Agent Relationships, Practitioners Say
by Jaime Arora
Practitioners in Las Vegas agreed May 16 that fallout from the IRS's exempt organizations scandal will affect relationships between taxpayers and agents throughout the country.
May 13, 2013
IRS Sparks Outrage With Admission It Mistreated Tea Party Groups
by Fred Stokeld
Congressional Republicans erupted in anger on May 10 after an IRS official acknowledged that exemption applications of many Tea Party organizations were handled inappropriately
May 13, 2013
Tax Analysts Exclusive: A Whistleblower's Cautionary Tale
by Jeremiah Coder
Whistleblower cases often play out like soap opera love affairs: Intense, short-term passion devolves into disillusionment, recriminations, and eventually a long, drawn-out fight over who is entitled to what.
May 8, 2013
IRS and Federal Workers Rally in New York Against Sequester and Furloughs
by William Hoffman
More than 200 federal workers, including a large contingent of IRS employees, rallied at Federal Plaza in New York on May 7 to demand that Congress end the budget sequester that will cost Service staff as many as seven unpaid furlough days by the end of the fiscal year.
April 29, 2013
Old Statutes, Modern Technologies, and New York's Deposits Factor
by Jeffrey S. Reed
In many states, the tax systems now on the books were designed decades ago and have not been substantially updated. In some cases it could be argued that the statutory tax systems no longer accurately reflect how modern business is conducted.
April 29, 2013
Durbin Says Finance Committee 'Had Ample Time' to Consider Marketplace Fairness Act
The Senate Finance Committee "has had ample time, opportunity and expression of Member interest" to consider the Marketplace Fairness Act but did not do so, Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said in an April 18 letter responding to the committee leaders' concerns regarding the use of a fast-track process to advance the bill.
April 29, 2013
Real Transparency, Anyone?
by Christopher Bergin
In a recent op-ed, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., said they were dedicated to working on legislation to reform the tax system in "an open and transparent fashion." Taking them at their word, Bergin urges the taxwriters to do just that.
April 25, 2013
IRS Made Up to $13.6 Billion in Improper EITC Payments in Fiscal 2012, TIGTA Says
The IRS still hands out billions in improper earned income tax credits, up to $13.6 billion in fiscal 2012, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a report released April 22.
April 22, 2013
Economic Analysis: Designing Anti-Base-Erosion Rules
by Martin A. Sullivan
We have come a long way in the last few years. In February 2010, when President Obama originally proposed that some lightly taxed foreign profits be included in subpart F income, it was considered an extreme approach. Now even multinationals recognize that anti-base-erosion rules are in the cards, and the president's plan seems almost meek in comparison with more recent proposals on subpart F inclusion.
April 22, 2013
News Analysis: Scary Tax Reform Concepts Peddled by Policymakers
by Amy S. Elliott
With the congressional taxwriting committees and the Obama administration getting serious about tax reform, some surprising statements have been made in recent days that will likely alarm tax practitioners.
April 8, 2013
Economic Analysis: Time to Scrap the Research Credit
by Martin A. Sullivan
In economic analysis, Martin A. Sullivan discusses several recent court decisions on the scope of the research credit and argues that it is time to end the popular tax incentive.
April 8, 2013
The Tax Police Budget Shrinks
by David Cay Johnston
With the cuts under the budget sequestration, the IRS budget is down sharply from 2002 and is much too small to ensure the revenue collection necessary to sustain our democracy.
April 1, 2013
Economic Analysis: U.S. Contract Manufacturing and Dave Camp's Option C
by Martin A. Sullivan
Nearly a decade ago, H. David Rosenbloom of New York University School of Law asked: "Why should U.S. companies be required to situate economic functions abroad to achieve a desirable result?"
April 1, 2013
by Steven M. Rosenthal
The First Circuit recently decided that a private equity fund is a trade or business for purposes of ERISA. This article describes that decision and its implications for tax law and policy.
March 25, 2013
JCT Provides Estimates of Tax Expenditures
The Joint Committee on Taxation on February 1 released (JCS-1-13) estimates for 2012 to 2017 of revenue losses through special provisions in the tax code, or "tax expenditures."
March 25, 2013
Leaving a Big Nickel on the Table
by David Cay Johnston
Johnston writes that the U.S. economy is growing at less than 95 percent of its potential, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and he argues that the country is losing much more tax revenue as a result.
March 25, 2013
Pop (or Is That BEPS?) Goes the Weasel
by Christopher E. Bergin
In this article, Bergin comments on the recent report from the OECD on base erosion and profit shifting, referred to as the BEPS report.
March 20, 2013
Retail Industry Group Suggests Changes to Proposed 'Repair' Regs
Kirt Johnson of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, commenting on proposed repair regulations (REG-168745-03), has urged Treasury to treat a building as a single unit of property for all purposes, provide methods to determine the adjusted basis of retired building components, and modify the routine maintenance safe harbor to apply equally to all types of tangible property.
March 20, 2013
Camp's Unified Passthrough Regime Raises Questions
by Amy S. Elliott
The latest discussion draft by House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., might be an attempt to move small businesses away from the corporate tax, but the plan's potential complexity has caused many practitioners to question its feasibility.
March 19, 2013
Tax Policy Center Says Ryan Budget Would Require $5.7 Trillion in Offsets
The budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would reduce revenue by $5.7 trillion through 2023, a gap that taxwriters would need to fill if they were to maintain revenue neutrality as Ryan intends.
March 12, 2013
The Purchase of U.S. Businesses by Canadians
by Jack Bernstein
The strengthened Canadian dollar, low interest rates, access to capital, and more realistic pricing has made it more attractive for Canadian businesses to expand to the U.S.
March 11, 2013
Overcoming Abuses of Power: Lessons From Liberating Montana
by Dan Bucks
Starting a column for State Tax Notes after more than 40 years in public administration is a new and somewhat daunting experience.
March 6, 2013
The Timeless Wisdom of Rusty Pipes
Rusty Pipes ponders the anti-abuse concept in a fictional letter to the IRS Commissioner.
March 5, 2013
Can States Prevent Income Shifting?
by Amy Hamilton and Lee A. Sheppard
Opponents of the international consensus of separate company accounting and arm's-length transfer pricing frequently point to the successful use of formulary apportionment by U.S. states over a century.
March 4, 2013
State Tax Merry-Go-Round: Do-It-Yourself Tax Reform
by Billy Hamilton
Congratulations. You are the governor of our greatest state. Or, at least, you are the governor of a state, which is pretty darned good. Your State of the State address is fast approaching, and by now, you realize that governors in other states are proposing sweeping tax reforms. Maybe you should, too.
March 4, 2013
News Analysis: New Rules for Extractive Industries Promote Transparency
by Randall Jackson
The U.S. is ramping up taxation transparency requirements for firms operating in the extractive industry sector (oil, natural gas, and minerals) with two complementary initiatives to be launched this year.
March 4, 2013
Legislation to Combat Tax Identity Theft Not a Priority
by Eric Kroh
Despite the increase in tax-related identity theft, legislation to address the problem has not materialized and has not been listed among the top priorities of the congressional taxwriting committees.
March 4, 2013
Hedge Funds and Deferred Management Fees: State Taxes
by Timothy P. Noonan and Alan S. Kufeld
As is often the case in state tax practice, changes in federal law have had a major impact on tax planning and compliance.
March 1, 2013
Texas’s Contribution To the Gillette Saga
by Jennifer Carr
The ongoing Gillette saga that started in California was the biggest news last year in the world of state and local taxation.
February 25, 2013
Income Inequality: 1 Inch to 5 Miles
by David Cay Johnston
The average increase in real income reported by the bottom 90 percent of earners in 2011, compared with 1966, if measured at one inch, would extend almost five miles for the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.
February 25, 2013
Transcript Available of Tax Analysts' Forum on Income Tax at 100
The transcript is available of a February 22 forum on the role of the federal income tax at 100 years old, featuring Joseph J. Thorndike, Robert Goulder, and Christopher Bergin of Tax Analysts, Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Columbia Law School professor Michael J. Graetz.
February 25, 2013
Economic Analysis: Is the Income Tax Really Progressive?
by Martin A. Sullivan
The IRS recently released data that show that as income rises, effective income tax rates also rise -- up to a point. In 2007 the effective income tax rate leveled off at 24.1 percent for households with adjusted gross income between $1 million and $2 million.
February 25, 2013
Rebooting Tax Reform Planning
by Clint Stretch
The uncertainty created by the promise of corporate tax reform will not be resolved soon or easily.
February 25, 2013
Concerns About the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index
by Robert Tannenwald
I don't watch Fox Business News. However, I made an exception in mid-January to hear Joe Henchman's take on Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's sweeping tax reform agenda.
February 25, 2013
EIN Theft Seen as Plague on Large Employers
by Eric Kroh
The theft of employer identification numbers for use in refund fraud does not get as much attention from the press, the public, and the IRS as the theft of Social Security numbers and taxpayer identification numbers, but when it happens, victims have little recourse.
February 19, 2013
Economic Analysis: Can States Swap Sales Taxes for Income Taxes?
by Martin A. Sullivan
In Republican-controlled statehouses throughout the South and Midwest, there is a lot of bold talk about cutting individual and corporate taxes and replacing lost revenues with higher sales taxes.
February 19, 2013
Tax History: Back to the Future of Tax Reform
by Joseph J. Thorndike
President Obama styles himself a tax reformer. In his State of the Union address, he invoked the phrase "tax reform" three times -- enough to give it real prominence.
February 11, 2013
What's In and What's Out for SALT
by Stephen P. Kranz, Diann L. Smith, and Lisbeth A. Freeman
February 11, 2013
Bermuda Robs Sacramento and Albany -- Who Knew?
by David Cay Johnston
There is nothing new under the sun, we are told in Ecclesiastes.
February 6, 2013
News Analysis: What's in the Camp Derivatives Draft?
by Lee A. Sheppard
Just when we thought that House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., had put out a solid, sober proposal to nearly conform the tax treatment of derivatives to their financial accounting treatment, along comes The Huffington Post to liven things up with some wild assertions about the draft.
January 28, 2013
Jindal's Bold Move
by David Brunori
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has made the most provocative tax reform recommendation in many years.
January 28, 2013
Dell's Multiple Restructurings Aid It in Tax Avoidance
by David Cay Johnston
Six years ago, Dell Inc. announced a $12 billion restructuring with huge tax consequences not just for Dell, but also for tax policy.
January 28, 2013
Tax History: The Tea Party and the Small Business of Tax Reform
by Joseph J. Thorndike
Has the Tea Party fractured the alliance between business leaders and the Republican Party?
January 28, 2013
Taxwriters, Panelists Agree on Need to Reform Taxation of Financial Products
by Shamik Trivedi
The diversity and complexity of financial products are expanding faster than Congress can regulate, and lawmakers may need to overhaul their tax treatment, panelists testified at a rare joint hearing of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees on December 6.
January 23, 2013
News Analysis: Will U.S. Hypocrisy on Information Sharing Continue?
by Lee A. Sheppard
Our question today is whether the United States will get away with continuing its hypocritical policy toward information sharing in light of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and other developments.
January 23, 2013
The Income Tax Turns 100 -- Maybe It Should Retire
by Christopher Bergin
In the first From the Publisher column, Bergin discusses the 100th anniversary of the federal income tax and laments that it might be time to retire the tax because of its growing complexity, regressivity, and lack of transparency.
January 21, 2013
Amazon Fighting IRS Over Cost-Sharing Agreements
by Julie Martin
Amazon is battling the IRS in the U.S. Tax Court over adjustments relating to cost-sharing agreements with its European subsidiaries that would increase the online retailer's taxable income by more than $1 billion in 2005 and 2006.
January 14, 2013
Deficits, Schmeficits
by David Cay Johnston
Here are 10 things that the tax deal the 112th Congress enacted in its closing hours tells us:
January 11, 2013
Enrolled American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 Available
The enrolled version of H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, is available as passed by the Senate and House on January 1 and signed into law by President Obama January 2.
January 7, 2013
Person of the Year: Tax Policy Center
If you were told a year ago that a tax policy report produced by a nonpartisan organization would play a central role in the presidential campaign and be a source of heated contention in the debates, would you have believed it?
January 7, 2013
NASCAR and Manhattan Were Never Going Over the Cliff
by David Brunori
Congress and the president thrashed it out over whether to raise taxes on relatively rich guys or relatively richer rich guys.
January 3, 2013
Opinion: Double Disappointment With the Deal
by Martin A. Sullivan
Martin A. Sullivan discusses the downsides of the fiscal cliff compromise.