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    Mulvaney Gets Senate Approval to Lead OMB in Close Vote

    The Senate on February 16 narrowly confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

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    Revelations that Mulvaney also failed to pay payroll taxes on a nanny were insufficient to sink his confirmation. Mulvaney said at his confirmation hearing that he had mistakenly seen the nanny as a babysitter, not a household employee, and that he has since taken steps to pay back the state and federal taxes and penalties owed.

    DPT Was Needed to Make Corporate Tax Cuts 'Presentable,' U.K. Official Says

    One of the main factors behind the U.K.'s adoption of a diverted profits tax (DPT) was to gain public acceptance for a lower corporate tax rate and a more territorial tax system, according to Timothy Power, deputy director of corporate tax at HM Treasury.

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    The DPT targets tax-motivated transactions lacking economic substance and artificial arrangements that otherwise would not create a taxable presence in the U.K. under existing treaties, and subjects the inappropriately diverted profits to a punitive tax rate of 25 percent, which is 5 percentage points higher than the U.K.'s standard corporate tax rate.

    House Eyes Capping Employer Exclusion in ACA Replacement

    House Republicans on February 16 proposed scaling back the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance to pay for a new refundable, advanceable credit for Americans who do not receive work-based coverage.
     
    House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told reporters February 15 that Republicans have begun discussions on "unlocking" healthcare coverage from employment as a way to generate revenues to pay for a credit that they believe will provide more flexibility.

    Court Upholds IRA-DISC Transactions Despite 'Dubious' Results

    The IRS can't use the substance-over-form doctrine to reclassify transactions between a domestic international sales corporation and two Roth IRAs simply because the transactions resulted in tax avoidance, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held February 16.
     
    In Summa Holdings Inc. v. Commissioner, No. 16-1712, the Sixth Circuit reversed the Tax Court's finding that the transactions should be recharacterized because they had been used to avoid the income limits on Roth IRA contributions.

    Developing Countries Lack Political Will to Adopt AEOI, Says OECD Official

    As the OECD strives to help developing countries enhance their tax systems through the automatic exchange of information (AEOI), it has run into several problems, including a lack of awareness and political will to make the necessary changes, according to an OECD official.

    U.K. Defends Work Helping Developing Nations Adapt to New Tax Standards

    The U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) has defended itself against a recent report from an aid watchdog criticizing it for failing to do enough to help developing nations benefit from new tax standards, noting its progress in boosting developing countries' tax administration capacity.

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    In a report published on September 27, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), which scrutinizes U.K. aid spending, noted that the DFID has made some good progress in building capacity in its partner developing countries to adapt to international tax standards led by the G-20 and OECD.

    Officials Open to Clarifying Political Subdivision Regs

    Officials on June 6 appeared willing to clarify provisions in controversial proposed regulations that would redefine the meaning of political subdivision in issuing tax-exempt bonds.
     
    At a hearing at IRS headquarters in Washington, Spence Hanemann, branch 5 attorney, IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Financial Institutions and Products), acknowledged concerns expressed in more than 100 comments on REG-129067-15 (Doc 2016-3660), which came out in February and has been criticized by representatives of the public finance community who fear it will cause uncertainty and disruption in the financial markets. The proposed regs say that to qualify as a political subdivision, an entity must be governmentally controlled, with control defined as ongoing rights or power to direct significant actions of the entity. (Prior coverage (Doc 2016-3702).)
     
    A political subdivision must also serve a governmental purpose and provide a significant public benefit, with no more than incidental benefit to private persons. The proposed regs retain the requirement that a political subdivision be able to exercise at least one sovereign power -- eminent domain, police power, or taxing power.

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