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    This Week's Stories Worth a Second Look: State Tax Updates

    In case you missed them, the following is a summary of a few key state tax developments, news articles, and observations during the past week: Simon Property Group sues Indiana over e-commerce sales tax - from Bloomberg Businessweek Here's the...

    The Smart Money Says Deadlock

    In politics, the smart money is always cynical. It bets on inertia, not change; on symbols, not substance. Hope? Progress? Suckers' bets. The smart money isn't always right, but when it comes to the so-called supercommittee, it's made a safe...

    The Truth About Who Pays Income Taxes

    " Nonpayers " - IRS figures show that in 2009, a record 58.6 million tax filers (42 percent of all tax filers) had no income tax liability after taking their credits and deductions. When Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation added to this...

    WSJ Reports Republicans Ready for Tax Hikes

    Talk about burying the lead! In this morning's Wall Street Journal Stephen Moore reports in the 4th paragraph of an op-ed that super-committee co-chairman Jeb Henserling (R-Tex.) told him: "We have no interest in raising rates --period."...

    The Flat Tax is a VAT . . . in 90 Seconds

    Republicans despise the value-added tax. But the flat tax they admire so much is nothing more than a value-added tax split into two parts. A value-added tax is a tax collected from business. The tax base is the difference between business receipts minus...

    I Thought the ‘Dodgers’ Were a Baseball Team?

    There's a report that's getting a lot of attention this morning that concludes that many large U.S. corporations paid little or no corporate income taxes between 2008 and 2010 even though they raked in millions of dollars. The report, prepared...

    Taxing the Rich, Thenardier-Style

    by Jeremy Scott The popular musical Les Miserables is back. The film won three Oscars Sunday (including one for best supporting actress), and the show is now touring before it reopens in New York in 2014. But the influence of Les Miserables doesn't...

    Cap-and-Trade or Carbon Tax?

    If you saw the SOTU address earlier this month, you heard President Obama renew his plea for a 'market based' solution to our climate change crisis. That comment triggered a heated policy discussion among my environmentalist friends. What does...

    The True Meaning of Sequestration

    [Sequestration] is not about spending cuts; the White House doesn't want spending cuts. Sequester is about taxes, and, specifically, tax increases. President Obama wants rich people to pay more because they don't pay their fair share - whatever...

    A Moral Obligation to Aggressively Lobby

    In the United Kingdom a great debate is taking place about aggressive tax avoidance. On one side, David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, says it is immoral . On the other side, most executives say they have a duty to their shareholders, and most...

    Things to Read, Sites to Visit

    I decided to share some of my favorite tax resources on the web. The Minnesota Taxpayer's Association has changed its name (after 87 years!) to the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence . The MTA under the direction of Mark Haveman has been one of...

    America May Be on the Wrong Track, But Is Paul Ryan's the Right One?

    ... [S]adly for today's GOP, they have more than a few [bad ideas]. Take Paul Ryan's budget plan , for instance. ... Ryan runs into serious problems when he starts suggesting ways to make the tax code simpler. In particular, his emphasis...

    It's Not Too Late for a War Tax

    In case you needed another reason to support a special war tax, try this on for size: The United States is still paying veterans' benefits to the children of Civil War soldiers. According to the Associated Press , two survivors are each receiving...

    Senate Democrats Abandon the Estate Tax

    by Jeremy Scott The most progressive tax in the United States is also one of the most unpopular. Thanks to Republican-led efforts to characterize it as a death tax, the estate tax is almost universally reviled in Congress and by voters. To emphasize...

    'Legal Enemies of the State'!

    How does that old Wall Street saying go? Bulls make money; Bears make money; Pigs get slaughtered. Bulls in this context are easily defined, and so are Bears. Money can be measured. But it seems to me that piggy behavior is in the eyes of the beholder...

    Tim Johnson, Kristi Noem, and the Importance of Moderates to Tax Reform

    by Jeremy Scott Another Senate Democrat is retiring. South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will not seek a fourth term in 2014, leaving an open seat that Republicans will be heavily favored to pick up. Johnson's retirement brings the total number of Democrats...

    Spam and Taxes

    ... On the surface, taxing [Internet] spam is a wonderful idea. Spam clogs the Internet, wastes our time just deleting it and continues because it makes money since you only need a few people so gullible or addled that they believe some Nigerian wants...

    'Commissioner-Less'

    The Internal Revenue Service is currently without a Commissioner. Douglas Shulman, the 47 th IRS Commissioner stepped down last November . And from what I'm starting to hear, the IRS may not have a new Commissioner for as long as close to two years...

    Unkind to Charity

    There's a new whipping boy on Capitol Hill and it's not the bankers who brought down the economy, the fossil fuel companies that are heating up the planet, or the gun lobby that has figured out how to increase sales every time there's a mass...

    How Important Is Deferral to Multinationals?

    by Jeremy Scott The U.S. tax system allows multinationals to effectively indefinitely defer taxes on profits earned by active foreign affiliates until that money is repatriated to the United States. Deferral as a cornerstone of tax policy dates from...

    Getting It Wrong: Energy Tax Policy

    by Clint Stretch Winston Churchill said that Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, after we have exhausted all other possibilities. He might have added that we usually start with the least direct and most complex approach. So it is with...

    Let's Stop With the Revenue Neutrality

    For decades, most people have believed that the success of tax reform is dependent on the reform being revenue neutral. That is, whatever happens, the tax system has to raise approximately as much revenue after as it did before. Proponents of reform want...

    Baucus, the Marketplace Fairness Act, and Tax Reform

    by jeremy Scott ... [T]he tax community is... concerned with whether Baucus's retirement will hinder or help the chances of tax reform. The answer might lie in how Democrats handled the Marketplace Fairness Act. ... It appears that Baucus, the...

    When Tax Reform Means Soaking the Rich

    Tax reform has evolved into one of the emptier platitudes of U.S. politics. Politicians support "tax reform" in the same way that they support "a strong national defense," "fiscal responsibility," and "pro-growth economic...

    Fast Track to Nowhere

    Although the formal expiration of the debt limit is May 19, the ability of the Treasury Department to juggle some internal accounts is likely to extend the effective deadline until late summer . Nothing is certain, but the real deadline is likely to crop...