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Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Internet Tax Ban, Theater Tax Credit, BEPS Bill

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Dec 23rd 2015
Staff Writer and Editor AccountingWEB
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[Note: This is the last “Lunch Beat” for 2015. It will return on Jan. 4, 2016. Thank you for reading this column, and I hope everyone has a great holiday and a happy new year. See you in 2016!]

Ban on Internet access tax stalls in Senate
A bill that would enact a permanent ban on taxing access to the Internet has run into opposition in the Senate among lawmakers who favor combining it with a tax on sales by online retailers, wrote Matthew Heller of CFO. A permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) was added to a trade bill conference report earlier this month and passed by the House, but the measure has yet to receive a vote on the Senate floor. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is among a group of senators who would oppose passage of a permanent ITFA renewal until Congress takes up the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would enable state governments to collect sales taxes from remote retailers with no physical presence in their state. “It's really not fair to say to that store down the block that's paying rent and paying property taxes and collecting sales tax [that] we're going to put them at a disadvantage to their Internet counterparts,” Durbin said.

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Theater world applauds new tax credits
Leaders and luminaries from the Broadway theater industry gathered on Monday to celebrate last week's passage of a long-sought measure that will give live productions the same tax credits as movies and TV shows, wrote Sophia Hollander of the Wall Street Journal. Starting next year, live theater and concerts will be able to deduct up to $15 million in costs if at least 75 percent of their budgets are spent in the United States. Movie and TV productions already enjoy that ability. The tax credit will make it more likely that investors would find theater an attractive investment, said Christopher Cacace, a partner in charge of the theater, media and entertainment group at Marks Paneth, which does accounting and tax work for Broadway clients. While the tax benefit will apply to live performances broadly, Broadway was seen as the biggest beneficiary.

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GOP tax bill offers protections from new rules
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) announced legislation on Tuesday that he said would protect US companies from new financial and tax reporting requirements under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative, wrote Naomi Jagoda of The Hill. Boustany said his bill “will provide more time for the US government to prepare for these new requirements.” Under the OCED's recommendations, countries will have to report more financial and tax information to authorities. Certain companies will have to file a master file containing all relevant information, a local file focused on local transactions, and a country-by-country report describing how their income and taxes are allocated, according to a release. Boustany's bill would delay country-by-country reporting by US companies from Treasury to any foreign country until 2017.

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Democrats to SEC: Don't give up on disclosure rule
Democrats are pressing the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revive a rule that would require corporations to disclose their political spending, wrote Tim Devaney of The Hill. The government spending bill that Congress passed last week included a policy rider that blocks the SEC from issuing the controversial rule in the next fiscal year, but Democrats say there's nothing to stop the Wall Street regulator from developing the regulation in the meantime. “Specifically, this provision does not bar the SEC from discussing, planning, investigating, or developing plans or possible proposals for a rule or regulation relating to the disclosure of political contributions,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White. The letter was signed by dozens of Democrats, including Sens. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Elizabeth Warren (MA).

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Quick Links:

  • Look before you lease (CFO)
  • Trump would slash taxes for the top 0.1 percent by an average of $1.3 million, add nearly $10 trillion to the debt (TaxVox)
  • Analysis: Trump tax plan would cost $9.5 trillion (The Hill)
  • Watchdog pushes IRS to improve taxpayer authentication (The Hill)
  • Here's what genuine tax reform looks like (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tax reform is the surest way to promote business growth (Washington Examiner)
  • Putting a bow on 2015 state tax debates: Our favorite tax policy trends (Tax Justice Blog)
  • Warren Buffett's tax rate rhetoric (Cato at Liberty)
  • Brady plans to set stage for a broader tax overhaul (Tax Analysts)
  • Modeling Martin O'Malley's idea for tax increases (Tax Foundation)
  • States lag behind federal government on small business expensing (Tax Foundation)
  • Massachusetts awards $58 million in film tax credits (Tax Foundation)
  • Judge upholds Seattle's gun and ammunition tax (Seattle Times)
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