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lunch beat

Bramwell's Lunch Beat: CEOs and Materiality, VW Tax Breaks, Toshiba Execs

Oct 1st 2015
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CEOs ask Congress to put materiality back into securities laws
Legislators should allow regulators to refocus their efforts on material issues in financial statements, instead of aiming to solve social problems through such documents, according to a new report by the Business Roundtable, wrote Emily Chasan of CFO Journal. The group, which represents CEOs, takes issue with new rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act that demand disclosures on conflict minerals and payments to foreign governments without regard to materiality. The disclosures represent important social concerns, but “it adds a lot of unnecessary cost into the system from a corporate perspective,” said John Hayes, CEO of Ball Corp. and chairman of the Business Roundtable. Companies are getting fatigued by all the new disclosures, which push securities filings into unfamiliar areas, he said.

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Volkswagen's diesel tax breaks could be a focus for US prosecutors
Volkswagen's push to secure tax breaks that kick-started a market for its new diesel cars could now help US investigators build a case against the automaker for deceiving the government about their emissions, wrote Ayesha Rascoe and Joel Schectman of Reuters. Volkswagen was among several automakers that lobbied the administration of George W. Bush to secure around $50 million in tax breaks under an incentive program that included the first wave of VW Jetta TDI drivers in the United States. Around 39,500 customers bought 2009 year VW vehicles eligible for the $1,300 rebate. Volkswagen said last week that it equipped 11 million of its vehicles with software that had the effect of causing the diesel cars to run cleaner during testing by regulators than they did in actual driving. US prosecutors would need to show that Volkswagen executives intentionally made fraudulent claims about their cars' emissions as part of the effort to win the tax break.

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House bill targets student loan marriage penalty
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) has introduced legislation to combat what he called the marriage penalty for married couples with student loan debt, wrote Bernie Becker of The Hill. Marchant's bill would double the amount of student loan debt interest that married couples filing jointly can deduct from their taxes, from $2,500 to $5,000. Currently, married couples have to choose the “married filing separately” status to both get the $2,500 deduction. He said raising the cap to $5,000 for married couples with student loan debt “makes equitable sense and it provides stronger incentives toward higher education, marriage, and financial independence.”

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Toshiba says 30 more executives named in accounting scandal
Toshiba Corp. said it has identified 30 more executives involved in an accounting scandal that has already led to the resignations of three former presidents and reduced reported profit by about $1.3 billion, wrote Pavel Alpeyev and Takashi Amano of Bloomberg. The managers will be punished, but will stay on at the company, President Masashi Muromachi said on Thursday. Muromachi also vowed a “far-reaching restructuring” of underperforming businesses, including job cuts in appliances, personal computers, televisions, and semiconductors. Toshiba has lost about $6 billion of market value since the company withdrew its earnings forecast in May and announced an accounting probe that was later expanded. So far, former presidents Hisao Tanaka, Norio Sasaki, and Atsutoshi Nishida have quit and the company has revamped its board, increasing the number of outside directors.

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Quick Links

  • Judge denies injunctive relief on Rand Paul's FATCA claim (Bloomberg)
  • Sure, debate carried-interest taxes. Or something that matters. (Bloomberg View)
  • Carson's ‘tithing' is sounder than Rubio's tax plan (Bloomberg View)
  • Donald Trump's tax plan would help the poorest Americans (CBS News)
  • A Trumpian tax reform (Wall Street Journal)
  • Donald Trump's tax plan could be huge(ly expensive) (NPR)
  • How tax evasion is fueling inequality (New York Magazine)
  • Tax Court examines residual value insurance policies (Forbes)
  • My plan: A flat tax for California and the nation (Forbes)
  • Parents need child care, but they also need a child care tax credit (Forbes)
  • Oregonians can buy recreational marijuana tax-free until next year (USA Today)

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