20 Stories

Iran Sanctions Lifted Due to 'Secret' Nuke Loopholes: Report

DC think tank says US, negotiating partners helped Iran

(Newser) - President Obama called it a "good day," while Secretary of State John Kerry said it "[marked] the day of a safer world" in January after five US hostages held in Iran were released and international sanctions against the country were lifted because it had supposedly kept its... More »

Apple Case Clinches It: We Need Tax Reform Now

Don't blame the company, blame the tax code, say critics

(Newser) - So what can we take away from Apple chief Tim Cook's testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday about the company's byzantine tax strategy ? Not that Apple did anything illegal, only that it's savvy enough to employ "smart accountants and tax lawyers," says the editorial board... More »

NRA: We'll Fight Universal Background Checks

Assault-weapons ban odds: 'very, very small'

(Newser) - The NRA plans to oppose mandatory background checks on all gun purchases, its president tells USA Today yesterday, rejecting one of the most popular proposals on gun control: the closure of loopholes allowing gun-show purchases without background checks. If the measure, which polls with 85% support, can't get through,... More »

How the Charitable Deduction Benefits the Rich

'Average Americans paying for billionaires' generosity,' writes Fred Hiatt

(Newser) - A call to limit the charitable deduction may sound heartless—what about all those churches and museums and schools and nonprofits?—but the deduction actually benefits the rich, while "the rest of the country has to make up the gap," writes Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post . A... More »

How Romney Used Mormon Church to Defer Taxes

Bloomberg reports on loophole he used

(Newser) - Since 1996, Mitt Romney has been deferring some of his taxes through something called a charitable remainder unitrust, a tax shelter Congress cracked down on little more than a year after Romney set his up. As Bloomberg describes it, the trust “allowed rich people to take advantage of the... More »

Obama to Bare Plan Cutting Corporate Taxes to 28%

Tax code overhaul to be unveiled today

(Newser) - President Obama will unveil details of his plan for a massive overhaul of the corporate tax code today, including cutting the top rate from 35% down to 28%, an administration official tells the New York Times . Manufacturers will see their effective maximum rate cut to 25%, and a minimum tax... More »

Top 1% Nabs $30B a Year in Federal 'Welfare'

Sen. Coburn investigates massive handouts

(Newser) - They’re already in the top 1%, yet they’re getting government handouts worth more than NASA’s budget. American millionaires rake in $30 billion a year from the feds, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn finds in a new report. That’s three times the EPA’s yearly allotment, yet it’... More »

Real Villain of Tax Breaks: Middle Class

Corporations account for just 8% of tax breaks

(Newser) - Tax loopholes and write-offs for corporate jets and special interests may fill political talking points, but tax breaks for families—particularly the middle-class families that President Obama says he wants to protect—far exceed corporate giveaways, reports the Washington Post . In fact, corporations accounted for just 8% of $1.08... More »

Dems, GOP Back Push to Cut Corporate Tax Rate

Bipartisan support builds behind effort to close loopholes

(Newser) - With deficit reduction on the agenda and America's corporations sitting on a record amount of cash, Democrats and Republicans have found something they agree on: It's time to slash the corporate tax rate. Bipartisan support is building for plans to eliminate many loopholes and tax breaks and use... More »

Proposed Texas Bill: No Hiring Illegals, Unless...

One big exception is getting attention in Texas

(Newser) - Under House Bill 1202, one of a number of proposed Texas bills that addresses illegal immigration, anyone who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hires an illegal immigrant would face up to two years in jail and a fine as high as $10,000 ... unless, of course, he or she is... More »

Obama Mulls Tax Code Overhaul: Cut Breaks, Rates

Move would be attempt to address national debt

(Newser) - The Obama administration is investigating sweeping income tax code reform as a means of shrinking the deficit, the New York Times reports. President Obama has called on advisers to look into cleaning up the income tax code, ridding it of complexities and loopholes to make it more straightforward for both... More »

Dems Slam 'Front Groups'—Then Use Them

Nonprofits' secret donors help fund negative ads

(Newser) - Democrats have hammered Republican “front groups” for paying for negative ads with secret cash—but they themselves are employing a similar maneuver, using money from nonprofits who don’t release their donors’ names to fund their own advertising, reports MSNBC . Dems are thus following Republicans’ lead in using a... More »

US Firms Buck $60B in Taxes With Foreign Money Shuffle

'Transfer pricing' sends profits overseas—on paper only

(Newser) - Lexapro, one of the world's best-selling antidepressants, is made by an American company and sold exclusively in the US, but the US doesn't see a penny in tax revenue when you buy a bottle. Instead, your money goes around the world as part of a complicated transaction dubbed the “... More »

Insurers Find Ways to Deny Kids Coverage

Firms say loophole lets them exclude youths, hike prices

(Newser) - Insurance companies say there’s a loophole in the health care reform legislation that will allow them to keep denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions for years. President Obama had promised that such denials would be “banned forever” this year. But “the fine print differs from the... More »

Medical Marijuana Loophole Has LA Fuming

Overrun, city cracks down on dispensaries

(Newser) - After letting marijuana dispensaries multiply across the city, Los Angeles is getting tough on them, telling some to shut down while the city council works to close a loophole that allowed many to open. The city issued a moratorium on new dispensaries in 2007, but many people filed “hardship... More »

GE Reaps Billions From Bailout Loophole

Loophole lets company pull down $74B from FDIC

(Newser) - The biggest beneficiary of the federal government's debt guarantee program, one of Washington's key bank rescue efforts, isn't a bank or a financial services company—it's General Electric, which exploited a loophole it had lobbied aggressively to insert, and reaped billions in bailout money. A joint investigation by ProPublica and... More »

Rangel Saved Loophole that Aided $1M Donor

Oil-drilling company helped finance NY rep's legacy project

(Newser) - As questions swirl over the methods Charles Rangel used to raise funds for a school in his name, a New York Times investigation finds that the New York representative and chair of the House Ways and Means committee fought to save a tax loophole that benefited one of the school's... More »

'Basketball on Grass' Has Heads Spinning

Offbeat offense catches on with high school football coaches

(Newser) - Standard football rules allow the team on offense five eligible receivers downfield. But what if opponents and officials can't tell which five until the center snaps the ball? Hundreds of high schools run the controversial "A-11" offense, which relies on confusion instead of brawn. The New York Times checks... More »

Sleight of Hand Has IRS After Billionaire

Anschutz owes $143M on gains, feds say; he claims technicality

(Newser) - The IRS is going after the US’ 41st-richest man, the Wall Street Journal reports, as part of a larger move to curtail one method of skirting capital-gains taxes. Philip Anshutz owes $143.6 million in back taxes on a “variable prepaid forward contract” deal he made in 2000 and... More »

Gems That Bankroll Burma Junta Remain on Sale in US

Congress closing loophole as a first step

(Newser) - Congress is moving to close a loophole in a law that forbids the sale of rubies from Burma, but the measure comes too late for the holiday shopping season, writes Marin Cogan of the New Republic. That means US shoppers—unless they take pains to question their jewelry shop's policy—... More »

20 Stories