Tax Analysts Blog

Nov 15, 2016
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Before the elections, pollsters were confident that the United States faced another four years of divided government. Virtually every prognosticator in the country predicted that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, but face at least a GOP-controlled House. They were all wrong. Far from being pushed into a media-predicted civil war, Republicans won a complete victory on November 8, with Donald Trump winning the White House while Republicans maintained control over both chambers of Congress. This opens the door to at least two years of frenzied legislative activity, particularly on tax reform.

Nov 8, 2016
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Suppose a country’s leaders asked citizens to vote on how to achieve a complex policy goal -- for example, how to make the country’s tax system fairer, or how to reform the immigration system or entitlement programs. And because it is difficult to incorporate nuance into this kind of question, suppose the leaders were able to draft a ballot referendum that posed a binary choice: yes or no, up or down. And then, just for good measure, suppose the leaders told the public that they would honor the results of the referendum.

Nov 3, 2016

One of the goals of the OECD’s base erosion and profit-shifting project  is to achieve a level of uniformity in countries’  domestic laws, particularly those that address the international movement of goods and services. The U.S. states and multistate taxpayers have likewise longed for more uniformity on certain issues. States are permitted a great deal of leeway in the creation and administration of their tax systems, and the result is that state tax systems vary greatly. For a multistate taxpayer, this creates compliance challenges.

Nov 2, 2016
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Although there isn't much of a consensus on anything in Washington, there is a lot of chatter over increasing infrastructure spending.  Hillary Clinton wants to reinvest in the nation's transportation network. Donald Trump wants to spend even more than Clinton. And lawmakers all want to find a way to replenish the Highway Trust Fund that doesn't involve a gas tax hike. 

Nov 1, 2016
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Democrats used to hate monopolies, and now they don’t.

Oct 26, 2016
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If you are friends with any corporate tax attorneys, kindly forgive them their grumpiness. They get a pass right now. That’s because the government recently dropped an abnormally dense set of income tax regulations on their desks – the ones dealing with debt recharacterization under Internal Revenue Code section 385

Oct 24, 2016

Harsh words for the state commissioner of revenue from the Minnesota Tax Court in a recent opinion involving utility assessments. The case, CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp. v. Commissioner of Revenue, stemmed from CenterPoint’s appeal of the commissioner’s valuation of its gas transmission pipeline as a single economic unit. 

Oct 19, 2016
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The section 385 regulations on the distinction between debt and equity are now final, and despite what tax advisers and Congress have been saying for months, the world did not come to an end.  In fact, the barrage of negative comments and nasty letters from lawmakers profoundly affected Treasury, and the once-sweeping regulation package was significantly carved back.  In a few years, when the U.S. tax base is even further eroded, the government will almost certainly rue this guidance as a profound missed opportunity.

Oct 14, 2016
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When it come paying taxes, how much is too little? The answer depends on whether you're running for president. Ever since someone leaked portions of Donald Trump’s 20-year-old state tax returns, people have been speculating about the taxes he paid – or didn’t pay, as the case may be.

Oct 7, 2016

Tax Analysts recently obtained the field audit manual of the Maryland Comptroller of Public Accounts. We  had submitted a public records request under Maryland law requesting the manual. Initially, the state was willing to release only 55 pages of the 283-page document, claiming that the remainder qualified as an intra-agency memorandum and was therefore exempt from disclosure under GP section 4-344. After Tax Analysts filed suit, the Maryland attorney general’s office determined that the state had a weak case and quickly released the entire document..