Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: Taxes in 140 Characters?

Fate of lapsed US tax breaks should be determined, Camp says
In a memo to House Ways and Means Committee members on Monday, Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the panel next month will look at the 55 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013, going “policy by policy,” Richard Rubin of Bloomberg reported.

The most significant benefits that expired December 31 include the research and development tax credit used by companies such as Intel Corp. and a foreign tax provision used by Citigroup Inc. and Caterpillar Inc.

“We can all agree that a short extension of tax policies is no way to legislate and is even worse for the families and businesses who utilize those tax benefits,” Camp wrote in the memo obtained by Bloomberg News, according to the article.

Camp proposed a draft revamp of the US tax code February 26 that would lower tax rates and end many breaks. To set his revenue target, he assumed, as does the Congressional Budget Office, that none of the expired breaks would be revived, Rubin wrote.

Making a shift to assume that some of those breaks would remain in the code would lower the revenue target. That would give Camp room – as much as $900 billion over a decade – to restore tax breaks he proposed eliminating, the article stated.

Twitter file: Will IRS accept your taxes via tweet?
At a minimum of 140 characters, Twitter encourages economy. The federal government and the IRS? Much less so. But if the only thing you had to list on your return was your name, Social Security number, and total income, that should fit within 140 characters, noted Forbes contributor and tax lawyer Robert W. Wood.

“But should you do this? Not yet. As nice as tweeting taxes would be, our tax system is unlikely to go this way,” he wrote. “Even the first US income tax return in 1913 – Internal Revenue Service wasn’t that streamlined. Still, it was a far cry better than our current one. Of course, some people can still choose e-filing or paper.”

Not surprisingly, the IRS is keen on e-filing. “The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 required return preparers who expect to file 10 or more individual, estate, or trust returns after 2010 to file them electronically,” Wood wrote. “Then the IRS announced it was phasing in the new e-filing requirement over two years. Now, a return preparer must file electronically if he expects to file – or if he is a member of a firm that reasonably expects in the aggregate to file – 100 or more individual income tax returns.”

IRS commissioner to testify on controversy on Wednesday
The head of the IRS will testify on March 26 about the IRS’s response to congressional investigations of the agency’s targeting controversy, Bernie Becker of The Hill reported yesterday.

John Koskinen is slated to go before the House Oversight Committee, where Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the panel’s top Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), have sparred repeatedly over the committee’s inquiry.

Issa’s office said yesterday that this week’s hearing would examine how the IRS has responded to congressional document requests, and to subpoenas from the Oversight Committee, the article stated.

Issa and other Republicans have sharply criticized the IRS for being slow to respond to their requests, and have suggested that the White House has not taken the controversy seriously enough.

The SEC’s AgFeed complaint: No restatement means no Sarbanes-Oxley clawback
In a March 23 blog on her site, re: The Auditors, Francine McKenna wrote: “The Securities and Exchange Commission says it’s stepping up scrutiny of corporate accounting and disclosure fraud. That means going after gatekeepers like auditors, lawyers, and directors under an aptly named initiative Operation Broken Gate. The AgFeed case is the mother lode for an SEC that says it’s ready to rack up some accounting fraud enforcement points and, perhaps, pursue a more aggressive enforcement approach to sparsely utilized Sarbanes-Oxley provisions like Section 304, compensation clawbacks.”

Quick Links

  • EY finally embraces the disruptive technology that is Microsoft Outlook (Going Concern)
  • New private fundraising rules attract meager interest (Wall Street Journal)
  • Internal audit facing multiple challenges, surveys say (Compliance Week)
  • Purge failure, rates in reports, PCAOB member says (Compliance Week)
  • IRS rule would limit advocacy over nominees (USA Today)
  • OMB, IRS vet Daniel Werfel joins Boston Consulting Group’s public sector practice (GovConWire)
  • SEC announces agenda, panelists for cybersecurity roundtable (SEC)
  • IRS offers an easier way to deduct your home office (Don’t Mess With Taxes)
  • US panel to hold hearing on Caterpillar offshore taxes (Reuters)
  • Portman’s disappointing tax reform plan (Forbes)
  • Tax reform starts with baby steps in the House (Roll Call)

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