Will Congress Kill the “Death” Tax?

by Dan Janes March 16 2007, 12:29
Estate and gift taxes have been a thorn in the side of the affluent for ages, while serving as an efficient stream of revenue for the federal government. Gift and estate taxes are two different types of taxes. Gift taxes apply to lifetime transfers of assets, while assets transferred at death are subject to estate taxes. [1] The Federal estate tax is levied “on the transfer of the taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United States.” [2] The current status of the estate tax is governed by the Federal Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”). [3] Under EGTRRA, the estate tax has a ceiling of 45% of an individual’s estate in 2007 through 2009, a ceiling of 35% in 2009 and is fully repealed by 2011. [4] However, a sunset provision means that if Congress does not reenact the relevant provisions of EGTRRA, the estate tax would continue in 2011 at a maximum rate of 55%, which was the rate before EGTRRA. [5] Currently, only estates greater than $1.5 million are subject to the estate tax. [6] Because Congress has yet to reenact the specific EGTRRA provisions, the future of the estate tax remains murky. [More]

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Tax

IRS Study Confirms the Obvious

by Lucy Kalnes March 13 2007, 02:04
I. Introduction



Tax exempt organizations, by design, do not have to answer to shareholders. The executives of these organizations do not feel the same pressures as do executives of taxable, for-profit organizations to run the entities in the most streamlined shareholder-interest-maximizing manner. Instead, the taxpaying public (who arguably subsidizes the activities of the tax-exempt sector) relies on detailed government regulation, the vast majority of which is found in the Internal Revenue Code, to ensure that the tax exempt arena neither becomes a black hole for this country's resources nor a playground for the very wealthy. As part of this monitoring charge, the IRS recently completed a three-year investigation into the compensation of executives of tax-exempt corporations.[1] This article discusses the objectives and methodology of this investigation, its findings and its minimal impact. [More]

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Tax

Can Bush’s Health Insurance Tax Proposal Help Solve American Healthcare Woes?

by Dan Janes February 16 2007, 12:32
Perhaps the most hot button issue in domestic politics these days is the growing healthcare problem in the United States. In 2004, nearly “46 million Americans, or 15.7 percent of the population, were without health insurance.” [1] While the majority of Americans receive healthcare insurance through their employers, the issue has been exacerbated by rising healthcare costs, limited coverage, “an increasing reliance on part-time and contract workers who are not eligible for coverage,” and “small employers [who] cannot afford to offer health benefits.” [2] Further, even the insured are being asked to make larger contributions for their coverage, forcing many to remain uninsured because they cannot afford these contributions. [3] During his State of the Union Address on January 23, 2007, President Bush sought to tackle the issue by proposing to tax healthcare benefits but to also offer a $15,000 standard deduction or $7,500 deduction for those filling single. [4] However, critics rail against the proposal suggesting it does nothing to lower healthcare costs and eliminates problems with the current system by creating others. [5] [More]

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Tax

Defeating the Purpose of the Tax Penalty - An Exercise in Underdeterrence

by Lucy Kalnes February 13 2007, 02:13
I. Introduction



The IRS has, in the opinion of this author, a (not so) popular reputation for coming down on taxpayers hard,inconsistently and infrequently. Given this perception and perhaps this reality of relative infrequence of consequence on taxpayers engaging in funny business, it makes sense that the Internal Revene Code be given some other teeth to guard against such shenanigans. In general, the tooth of choice is the threat of heavy monetary penalties. Unfortunately, a recent tax decision coming out of a Texas federal district court could mark the beginnings of a shift against the imposition of penalties on tax evaders -- a shift that could embolden an already scarily bold nation of tax-shirkers. [More]

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Tax

The IRS Private Debt Collection Program's Early Trials and Tribulations

by Lucy Kalnes November 11 2006, 02:15
I. Introduction



Empowered by the American Jobs Act of 2004, the IRS recently implemented a private debt collection program designed to "reduce the growing number of uncollected tax liabilities while allowing the Service to better focus on more complex tax cases and issues."[1] The plan was criticized early on for paying the private collectors as much as 24% of the recovered liabilities in return for their collection efforts, which amount was thought could result in improper collection practices on the part of the private collectors.[2] While the plan hasn't been in action long enough to render judgment on whether these concerns are warranted, another problem has reared its head: the program isn't making money. It may not so much as break even.[3] This article addresses concerns of abuse and well as profitability in the short and long term. [More]

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Tax

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act and the Tax Revenue the United States Government Could Have Had

by Sandeep Marreddy October 26 2006, 18:56
I. Introduction



Many people who gamble on-line will tell you that October 13, 2006 truly was an unlucky day. On that Friday, President Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling act.[1]. The bill makes it illegal for banks and credit card companies to transact with online gambling companies.[2] By preventing banks from allowing deposits into gambling sites, the bill hopes to prevent people from partaking in on-line gambling. The question many people have is why the United States would outlaw internet gambling when it could have regulated the industry and benefited from the tax revenue it would have received? [More]

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Entertainment | Tax

Merck owes the IRS big bucks - for taking advantage of the international tax market?

by Lucy Kalnes October 14 2006, 02:01
I. Introduction



There are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. Corporations have successfully cheated the former by achieving perpetual life. And, from their births, it seems like corporations have also been doing their darndest to avoid the latter. Offshore affiliates have become a popular corporate technique for avoiding income tax.[1] Recently, Merck has been investigated for putting its own unique spin on the traditional offshore affiliate. [More]

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Tax

Sports Stadiums: Do Franchises Really Need Public Financing to Build Their New Stadiums

by Sandeep Marreddy September 29 2006, 18:54
I. Introduction



Many people have spent a summer night or a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark or stadium watching their favorite teams. These stadiums are an integral part of a professional sports franchises operations. In recent years there has been a surge in new stadiums being built by teams as they take advantage of the willingness of cities to provide public financing. Since 2000 there have been 17 new stadiums built for National Football League and Major League Baseball teams. [1]. In addition, several teams are in discussions for the building of new stadiums in the next few years. [2]. [More]

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Sports | Tax

Fun With The Tax Code: Changes Abound in 2006 Tax Year

by Sandeep Marreddy September 24 2006, 18:51
I. Introduction



They say that death and taxes are the two sure things in life. That may very well be the case, but taxes and tax law are ever changing. Rates are regularly moved up or down new taxes are added and certain taxes are eliminated. For the 2006 tax year, Congress made several changes that will have an impact on people as they get their financial records together and start preparing their taxes for the April deadline. Some of the changes that Congress made include; The Pension Protection Act, The Energy Tax Incentives Act and The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act.[1]. The article focuses on whether changes to tax law will actually be beneficial to individual taxpayers. [More]

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Tax

Tax Mogul H&R Block Tempts Fate by Branching into the World of Everyday Banking

by Lucy Kalnes September 16 2006, 02:06
I. Introduction



Tax preparation giant H&R Block announced at the beginning of this month that in response to lawsuits brought by angered taxpayers about the company's Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) program, it will be revamping the program in an effort to reduce consumer cost as well as, presumably, it's own litigation costs.[1] But will the plan work? [More]

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Tax

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