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    Whistleblower Allowed to Proceed Anonymously, for Now

    The Tax Court granted a whistleblower's request to proceed anonymously in their case seeking review of the IRS's denial of an award claim; however, the court held that as the case progresses, the public's interest in knowing the whistleblower's identity may outweigh the need to protect it.
     
    The whistleblower alleged that the taxpayer for whom an award is sought has committed tax fraud that resulted in over $ 3 billion in unpaid taxes and may result in millions of dollars in penalties.

    Prospects Dim as Australian Senate Vote on Corporate Tax Cut Looms

    The Australian Senate is expected to vote within the next two weeks on proposed legislation to reduce tax rates for Australian companies, but prospects that the measures will emerge from Parliament intact appear highly doubtful.
     
    The legislation, which was announced by the government in May 2016, calls for an immediate reduction in the corporate tax rate for businesses with annual revenues below AUD 2 million (around $ 1.5 million) from 28.5 percent to 27.5 percent.

    Rep. Rice Working on Small Business Interest Deduction Carveout

    An exception for small businesses to the House Republican tax proposal to eliminate business interest deductibility is all but certain, according to a House Ways and Means Committee member who has advocated for the carveout.
     
    Ways and Means member Tom Rice, R-S.C., told Tax Analysts March 22 that the committee has proposed several ways to exclude small businesses from a provision in the "A Better Way" tax reform blueprint that would eliminate the deductibility of all net interest expenses.

    House Rules Committee Weighs Amendments to GOP Healthcare Bill

    The House Rules Committee began consideration of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (AHCA) March 22 in an effort to move the Affordable Care Act replacement bill to the House floor.
     
    The committee considered a host of technical and policy changes in two manager's amendments introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden, R-Ore.

    Canadian 2017 Budget Invests Extra $524 Million to Fight Tax Dodging

    The Canadian government has proposed investing about C $ 524 million over five years to curb tax evasion and increase tax compliance by funding new initiatives and expanding existing programs to ensure fairness in the country's tax system.
     
    Finance Minister Bill Morneau on March 22 unveiled the 2017 budget, announcing in his budget speech in the House of Commons that the government will "close loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others."

    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.

    ...
    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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