Tax Analysts Blog

 
David Cay Johnston
Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 00:00
To paraphrase Mel Brooks, it's good to be a multinational corporation. American corporations increased their use of tax credits by a whopping 25 percent in 2010, helping drive down their effective tax rates to less than half the posted 35 percent rate. A Government Accountability Office study says...
Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 00:00
The revelation that the entire IRS “scandal” was a setup based on intentionally skewed information has another angle to it – one that adds to the reasons Lois G. Lerner should be fired posthaste since she refuses to resign. For those who may have missed the news, it turns out that the IRS Determ...
Friday, May 17, 2013 - 00:00
Why is Lois G. Lerner still on the taxpayer's payroll? Lerner is the director of exempt organizations whose failures are at the heart of the furor over indefensible criteria for selecting 501(c)(4) applicants for scrutiny. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's report makes her b...
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 00:00
New York State spent $2.8 billion on state and local tax breaks for businesses in the five years 2007 through 2011, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday in a new report. DiNapoli says that money generated more than a million jobs at an average cost of about $2,700. That sounds like a pret...
Friday, May 3, 2013 - 00:00
First, the good news, at least in New York state: Giveaways of state tax dollars to businesses, from retail Hollywood movies, are finally being challenged by a Republican politician. Seeing the party of business raise this issue is good news indeed. A new state law that took effect May 1 is suppose...
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 00:00

When it comes to picking taxpayer pockets, few organizations display as much chutzpah as the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a rich person's anti-tax lobby, hating paying the price of civilization and in love with the idea of weak tax law enforcement. Now taxpayers, at least in South...

Friday, April 19, 2013 - 00:00
The IRS told employees Friday that it will shut down entirely for five days because of the across-the-board spending cuts mandated by Congress. All IRS employees received an email Friday that cited five dates and said: All public-facing operations will be closed on these dates, including our toll-f...
Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 00:00
The Sunlight Foundation did a real public service this week in an excellent series of posts focusing on who is lobbying Congress for tax favors. The most fascinating is an interactive visualization connecting 2,221 organizations that have spent $773 million lobbying for 1,454 bills, which you can s...
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 00:00
It's hard to let go of a moneymaker, even a bad one. Think about the cigarette industry. Or the gun industry, whose sales spike after every school massacre. Or that abominable anti-family bloody nose the alternative minimum tax. In 2007 Senator Barack Obama, through a spokeswoman, called the AMT ♪ ...
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 00:00
There's a new whipping boy on Capitol Hill and it's not the bankers who brought down the economy, the fossil fuel companies that are heating up the planet, or the gun lobby that has figured out how to increase sales every time there's a mass shooting of schoolchildren. The new black hats – dono...
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 00:00
Berkeley is famous for student protests against the war in Vietnam and the draft. There was the 1964 Free Speech Movement and, briefly, the filthy speech movement whose motto, drawing on the name of the University of California president, created an obscene acronym: Freedom Under Clark Kerr. Now th...
Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 00:00
Leveling the playing field is a tax principle that anyone who expects to have his or her views respected should always respect. Sadly, some of the people who make their living stirring up the ill-informed with economic and legal nonsense are out fighting to tilt the playing field in favor of their...
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 00:00
A marketing partner of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax software, is trying to lure journalists into unethical behavior. I'm surprised that Intuit approved this deal. It makes fine products that do not need promotion through sleazy and unethical marketing ploys. The first time that the marketing depa...
Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 00:00
Discerning what is in an annual report (10-k), proxy (14a) or a prospectus should not require learning a dialect that could properly be called American English obfuscata. Not just investors use those and other filings required by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tax policy wonks, government...
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 00:00
You might think that voters hate big spenders and love tax cutters, especially if you get your news from Fox News Channel or its sister, the Wall Street Journal or listen to the latest sound bytes from Speaker John Boehner. Spending is the No. 1 problem, according to Capitol Hill Republican leaders...
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 00:00
Imagine that just before Thanksgiving a major retailer, say Nordstrom or Wal-Mart, announced it would furlough 10 percent of its sales, collections and accounts payable staffs. The stock would tank. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the CEO or the board of directors keeping their jobs as customers swit...
Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 00:00
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and other multinational drug companies have been bragging to stock market touts – who call themselves analysts -- about using “legal restructurings” to reduce their corporate income taxes. Transcripts of the latest quarterly chats in which CEOs and CFOs...
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 00:00
Mounting worldwide criticism of its parasitic behavior and the damage it causes, is prompting one of the planet's oldest tax havens to take action. The response is not to develop a real economy and eschew tax fraud parasitism, however. Instead, taxpayers on the Isle of Jersey will be forced to giv...
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 00:00
The front page of Wednesday's Wall Street Journal carried a tax story rich with promise, but like so much of what appears in the mainstream media these days short on reporting. For starters, there were serious factual problems with the lede: There's a funny thing about the estimated $1.7 trillion...
Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 00:00
What motivated Royal Dutch Shell to risk 40-foot Alaskan winter seas in towing a giant white circular drilling rig named the Kulluk south toward Washington last month? Tax avoidance. The Kulluk broke loose after the tow ship's engine failed and ran aground, filled with 150,000 gallons of diesel fu...