The American Thinker (via the Tax Guru): Taxing Thoughts:
George Bush will, he says, be spending some political capital on revamping the tax code. Let us hope he pursues this goal with the same iron determination he has shown in transforming Iraq. Simply stated, the federal tax code is a scandal that puts the lie to any legitimate claim of personal liberty in this country.
New York Times: G.O.P. Constituencies Split on Tax Change:
Stephen Moore, the president of a conservative fund-raising group, wants to overhaul the tax code. So do Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group. They just don't agree on how to do it.
Even though it will be months before President Bush proposes an overhaul of the income tax, key Republican groups are already divided about how or even whether to proceed. Regardless of which path Mr. Bush pursues, he is likely to be pulled by conflicts between parts of his political base. Economic conservatives share an ideological belief in flattening income tax rates and eliminating as many tax preferences as possible. And business groups want to preserve breaks for research, oil drilling, health insurance, equipment leasing and scores of other purposes. Christian conservatives want to promote charitable deductions and "family values," and may want to defend tax breaks for married couples with children.
New York Times: Bush Job Plan Features Tax Cuts, Drilling:
Hiring is picking up and President Bush is on track to preside over job growth in his second term, shedding the Herbert Hoover label of being the first president since the Great Depression to lose jobs under his watch. But don't expect a revival of the booming 1990s. Bush's prescription for job growth includes extending the tax cuts passed in his first term, overhauling tax laws, limiting jury awards in lawsuits and increasing domestic energy exploration and production.
New York Times: Seven Ways to Save on Taxes (Just Don't Wait Until 2005):
Because tax rates have declined on investment income, it is easy for investors to think that taxes aren't a big deal anymore - and that traditional year-end tax moves are less important than they were in the past.
New York Times (David Cay Johnston): Leading Foe of Income Tax Is Arrested After Car Chase:
Al Thompson, a businessman who openly acknowledged that he did not pay taxes or withhold them from employee paychecks, was arrested yesterday on fraud and other charges after a highway car chase near Redding, Calif. His accountant, a former criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service, was also arrested, at his home in San Jose. Both men are prominent figures in a movement that contends no law requires the payment of taxes and that the federal government illegally extracts them.
New York Times: I.R.S. Audits More of the Wealthy and Fewer Small Companies:
The Internal Revenue Service, in the midst of a crackdown on aggressive tax shelters, is auditing significantly more wealthy individuals and large companies, but is increasingly shying away from scrutinizing smaller businesses. The I.R.S. released fresh data yesterday showing that the number of high-income taxpayers - defined as individuals earning $100,000 or more - audited in the 2004 fiscal year rose 40 percent from the previous year.
Tax Analysts: Istook Denies Inserting Taxpayer Privacy Measure in Omnibus Funding Bill:
In a November 22 statement, Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr., R-Okla., denied he was the source of a controversial taxpayer privacy provision in the omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress on November 20.
Wall Street Journal: Tax Vow Weighs on Berlusconi:
Having failed so far to deliver on repeated promises of a sweeping tax cut, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has painted himself into a political corner from which he frantically is trying to escape.
Wall Street Journal (Tom Herman): Will the AMT Spur Change in the Tax System?:
[T]he rapid growth of the alternative minimum tax is boosting the pressure on Congress to overhaul the entire federal tax system.
Wall Street Journal: Web Tax Holiday:
In another Congressional miracle (see above for more), the Members have decided to use this lame-duck session to perform the good deed of renewing the Internet tax moratorium. Barring some procedural hiccup, Web access fees will be officially off limits to the tax man for at least a few more years.
Wall Street Journal: Ex-Promoter of Tax Shelters Urges Clients: Surrender to IRS:
A former tax-shelter promoter, facing the prospect of prison time, renounced his illegal tax schemes yesterday and urged his clients to surrender to the Internal Revenue Service. "Anyone who has read my book or who is thinking of going offshore should know they are going to be caught," Jerome Schneider, 53 years old, said in a telephone interview. "This has just been a disaster," said Mr. Schneider, author of tax-avoidance books such as "Hiding Your Money" and "Jerome Schneider's Complete Guide to Offshore Money Havens." The books were advertised in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the in-flight magazine Sky Mall. Mr. Schneider promoted his tax-avoidance plans at conferences in Vancouver, British Columbia; Maui, Hawaii; and Cancun, Mexico.
Washington Post: Who Will Get Caught in the IRS's Sights?:
It's the audit heard 'round the nonprofit world. On Oct. 8, the IRS notified the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the organization may have violated the prohibition on partisan activity by nonprofits. Specifically, the IRS said it was initiating an investigation because NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond made "statements in opposition of George W. Bush for the office of the presidency" in a 45-minute speech on July 11 at the group's annual convention.
The inquiry takes on heightened significance because of the NAACP's status as a public charity. "Charity" may be a misnomer, but it's one shared by the million or so nonprofits that qualify for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the nation's tax code. Such nonprofits are entitled to accept tax-deductible donations, but the law is emphatic in declaring that those dollars may not be used in election campaigns or other partisan activities. This makes sense: Surely there's no reason why tax-deductible donations should be used to pay for ads by groups such as the Swift Boat Veterans or MoveOn.org -- or a church's activities on behalf of one candidate or another.
But if the principle is clear, distinguishing between partisan activity and protected free speech is anything but. That's why the IRS investigation has the nonprofit world anxious and angry. The stakes are huge: If a nonprofit is found to be in violation of the political prohibitions in 501(c)(3), the ultimate penalty is revocation of its tax deductibility. For many nonprofits, losing this privileged status would threaten their very existence. For the NAACP, says Bond, "It would be catastrophic." If donors could not take a tax deduction, many would not give -- or, if they did, they would give less. Foundation grants would disappear.
Is the IRS taking a harder line and sending a message? Or did the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, violate a prohibition that it was surely aware of?
Washington Post: IRS Chief Pleads for Bigger Budget; Investing in Enforcement Could Help Reduce Deficit, Commissioner Says:
Internal Revenue Commissioner Mark W. Everson called on Congress yesterday to boost the agency's funding by the full $500 million requested by President Bush, calling it a way to help shave the record federal budget deficit.
November 23, 2004 in News | Permalink
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