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April 24, 2014

Posts in "Taxes"

April 3, 2014

Schumer Wins Tax Benefits for Bikes, Trains and Broadway Shows

schumer 173 022813 285x335 Schumer Wins Tax Benefits for Bikes, Trains and Broadway Shows

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Observers of Sen. Charles E. Schumer had to know what would follow Thursday’s tax extenders markup: laudatory press releases.

Schumer’s press operation has churned out no fewer than three separate releases about the Thursday Finance Committee markup of the tax extenders legislation, which ultimately sailed through the committee on a voice vote. All told, the package would extend most of 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013.

The Schumer efforts included allowing commuter tax benefits for those who use bike sharing services.

“Bike-share programs are a boon to commuters, the economy and clean air – and those who use them deserve the same benefits granted to those who drive cars and use mass transit to get to work,” Schumer said in a statement in the bike release.

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Roberts Blasts IRS at Finance Markup (Video)

roberts 028 020414 445x267 Roberts Blasts IRS at Finance Markup (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans fired another warning shot Thursday in their ongoing battle against the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of conservative organizations.

The latest came at the Finance Committee’s markup of the broad “tax extenders” package, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts floated an amendment to block, for one year, the IRS from making new rules governing political activity by social welfare groups under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.

“We have not had, in my opinion, enough information from that so-called satellite office to Treasury or to the White House or to anywhere else,” the Kansas Republican said, calling it “just common sense that while we’re having an investigation, the IRS should stop promulgating these regulations.”

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April 1, 2014

Tax Breaks for Racehorses, NASCAR, Movies, Wind? Extenders Spark Spat

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Wyden is chairman on the Senate Finance Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Not all horsepower is created equal, at least if you’re a top Senate tax-writer.

A draft tax extenders measure released Tuesday, ahead of a Thursday markup package, includes three-year depreciation for race horses, but it leaves out several other targeted tax policies — such as those boosting NASCAR race tracks and the film industry — that might be easy targets for opponents. That’s sparked a pre-emptive spat, even though nothing is locked in stone.

Finance Committee ranking member Orrin G. Hatch suggested this year’s extenders process bring targeted tax breaks out from hiding.

“For far too long Washington has acted to extend long-standing tax policy, rarely shining a spotlight on the individual provisions or their impact on the families and businesses that benefit from them,” the Utah Republican said in a statement. “Such dysfunction must come to an end.”

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March 31, 2014

In First Tests as Finance Chairman, Wyden Pushes Against Patches

wyden 200 032514 445x296 In First Tests as Finance Chairman, Wyden Pushes Against Patches

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In his first major tests as Senate Finance chairman, Ron Wyden is waging war against the congressional penchant for patches and punting. It’s not proving to be an easy fight.

The Oregon Democrat is pushing his colleagues to enact a permanent overhaul of the “sustainable growth rate” formula that requires cuts in doctor pay under Medicare — and on March 31 he plans to unveil a permanent, bipartisan tax extender package, eschewing the yearly fixes that have long been the norm.

“This is the time to do it,” Wyden said of putting a permanent end to the annual “doc fix” debate. Full story

March 21, 2014

Sparring Resumes Over Wind Tax Breaks

Senators are lining up to renew old saws about reviving lapsed tax breaks — for whenever the Senate gets around to addressing them.

Take as just one example the wind energy tax credits. On Friday morning, 26 senators fired off a letter to Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, calling for renewal of the production tax credit and the investment tax credit in this year’s extender’s package.

Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, are again leading the effort in support of the wind farm business.

“The American wind industry’s growth, its cost competitiveness and its creation of American jobs have been partially driven by successful, bi-partisan federal tax policy, namely the PTC and the ITC. Unfortunately, as you know, these credits expired at the end of 2013,” the 26 senators wrote.

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 4:25 p.m.
Taxes

February 13, 2014

Olympic Medal Tax Exemption Has Bipartisan Support

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John Thune is leading a revived effort for an Olympic medal tax exemption.

“Most countries not only compensate their Olympic and Paralympic athletes, but also welcome them home with celebrations. In the United States, athletes are welcomed home from winning on a world stage with a tax bill,” the Republican said in a statement. “Winning an Olympic medal should be a source of great pride for our athletes and the federal government should celebrate their achievement rather than tax their success.”

The South Dakota senator is the top Republican on the Commerce Committee. One of his predecessors in that role, the late Ted Stevens of Alaska, was the author of the federal law that governs America’s Olympic efforts. Stevens is a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

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February 6, 2014

With Baucus Confirmed, Wyden Talks Finance (Video)

dw050208090 445x289 With Baucus Confirmed, Wyden Talks Finance (Video)

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Finance Chairman Max Baucus confirmed as the next ambassador to China, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is beginning to talk about his plans for his new gavel.

Senators voted 96-0 in favor of confirming Baucus to the post Thursday afternoon, praising the senior Montana Democrat for his efforts working with Republicans — some of which raised the ire of his own party over the years.

“On the Finance Committee, you can’t sit back and throw stones. You have to roll up your sleeves, find common ground, and get the job done,” said fellow Montanan Jon Tester. “Max’s penchant for hard work and thoughtful, independent-minded leadership stems from another great Montanan he and I both admire: former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.”

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January 16, 2014

Wyden to Focus On Tax Extenders When He Gets Finance Gavel

wyden011614 445x296 Wyden to Focus On Tax Extenders When He Gets Finance Gavel

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that renewing more than 50 tax breaks, known as tax extenders, that expired at the end of the year will be a top priority for Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., when he gets the Finance Committee gavel in the coming weeks. Full story

November 6, 2013

Levin, McCain Deride Twitter Tax Break

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Levin, left, and McCain reminded the public of one of a number of “inequitable special-interest tax loopholes.” (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Twitter IPO set for Thursday has Congress all wound up — this time, about tax policy.

On Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee took the Twitter initial public offering as an opportunity to remind members they can’t participate in IPOs in a manner “other than is available to members of the public generally.”

On Wednesday, it was the Senate’s turn.

Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations, reminded the public of one of a number of “inequitable special-interest tax loopholes.”

“When Twitter goes public later this week, the company may avail itself of this existing tax loophole,” a joint press release from Levin and McCain said. “Under this loophole, the company will be able to take an estimated $154 million tax deduction for a stock option compensation expense which its own books show cost Twitter only $7 million.”

The release said the loophole allows a company to report stock option compensation expenses one way on its financial statements, and report it a different way to the IRS for tax purposes.

“Nowhere else in the tax code can compensation costs produce a tax deduction several times larger than that same expense shown on its corporate books,” the release said. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 5:20 p.m.
Taxes

October 7, 2013

Graham Wants Repatriation Holiday to Fund Stimulus Projects

Graham 9 073013 330x223 Graham Wants Repatriation Holiday to Fund Stimulus Projects

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., believes Congress should consider repatriating money from overseas assets to fund transportation and infrastructure projects as part of a potential deal to increase the debt limit, he said Monday.

Graham said he would be willing to support a short-term clean debt limit hike as long as it cleared the way for larger budget negotiations. He then went on to provide some provisions he would like to see approved, including a measure “to repatriate money for stimulus.”

“On the revenue side, I mean there’s a lot of money parked overseas. One thing I know interests the body is infrastructure spending on roads and bridges and ports,” Graham said. “You could take some of this offshore money that’s kind of parked because of the 35 percent rate, do a one time deal and generate some revenue to pay for some infrastructure.”

A repatriation holiday that would give corporations a break on the 35 percent corporate tax rate if they bring their profits home has been kicking around for years, backed by Wall Street and big multinational companies who have billions at stake. The government would get an upfront infusion of cash as the money is brought home despite a reduced tax rate.

“I think everybody in the Congress has a bill to repatriate money for stimulus,” Graham continued. “Eventually, we’ll do it.”

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September 18, 2013

Coburn Targets Pro Sports Leagues’ Tax Exemptions

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday introduced a bill to bar professional sports leagues with annual revenues exceeding $10 million from qualifying for tax-exempt status.

The Oklahoma Republican’s legislation, if enacted, likely would affect the National Football League, National Hockey League, Professional Golfers Association, Association of Tennis Professionals Tour, Women’s Tennis Association Tour, U.S. Tennis Association, National Hot Rod Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In 2008, Major League Baseball switched its tax designation away from the tax-exempt 501(c)(6) status that also applies to trade organizations and public interest groups.

According to a document released by Coburn’s office, the Joint Committee on Taxation currently is working on a cost estimate for the PRO Sports Act, but requiring the PGA Tour to pay the 35 percent corporate tax rate on its $1.4 billion in revenue, for example, would yield the government an estimated $300 million. Full story

August 29, 2013

Lew: Yes, Gay Couples Should Get Tax Refunds

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that couples in legal gay marriages will be treated as married couples when filing federal income taxes, effectively answering a recent query from a Democratic senator.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew noted in a statement that the rule will apply regardless of whether the filers currently reside in a state that recognizes gay marriages.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Lew said. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 2:40 p.m.
Policy, Taxes

July 30, 2013

Murray Weighs In on Tax Debate in Response to Baucus and Hatch

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may not have replied to the letter seeking input on a tax code overhaul from the Finance Committee leaders, but one of his most trusted lieutenants certainly did.

In a six-page letter dated July 26, Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray outlined a vision for overhauling the tax code that’s in line with the fiscal 2014 budget resolution she drafted that was adopted by the Democratic majority in the Senate.

In the letter, which was posted online on Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Democrat renewed her call to gain significant revenue through an overhaul of the tax code, in line with the $975 billion over 10 years specified by the budget. She cautioned against budgetary gimmickry and pushed against the use of “dynamic” scoring when measuring new revenue.

She also renewed her call to use new revenue to curtail or eliminate the effects of the sequester.

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July 25, 2013

Reid Dismisses Baucus’ Tax Overhaul Efforts (Updated)

Finance hearing008 030712 445x295 Reid Dismisses Baucus Tax Overhaul Efforts (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:50 p.m. | The bipartisan effort to overhaul the nation’s tax code isn’t getting the warmest response from the Senate Democratic leadership.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he had no intention of even reading a request from Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, seeking priorities for the tax overhaul.

“I’m not going to be involved in this. I’m not on the committee, I’m not going to do it. I’m not even going to consider it. I frankly haven’t read the letter, don’t intend to,” the Nevada Democrat said.

One Senate Republican aide charged Reid with “sabotage.”

“That the Senate Majority Leader said he has no plans to even read the letter Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch sent to the whole Senate for tax reform is stunning. First he says he’s behind the Chairman’s effort and then he comes out in what can only be seen as an act of sabotage?” the aide said.

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