My latest Dealbook column:
President Obama could change the tax treatment of carried interest with a phone call to the Treasury Department. But the White House will need a precise understanding of the regulatory landscape to make a change that is fair, easy to administer, and will hold up in court.
via How the President Can Increase Taxes on Carried Interest – NYTimes.com.
But the clearest distortion is not size, but location. For multinational corporations based in the United States, taxes create an incentive to expand overseas operations by opening foreign subsidiaries, expanding foreign operations and acquiring foreign companies. Unlike a pure tax shelter, which generates paper losses to avoid taxes, the effects of tax expatriations are real. Taxes distort the organization of corporate activities and shift operations outside our borders.
via How Tax Laws Distort the Pfizer Deal – NYTimes.com – NYTimes.com.
My take on the bitcoin guidance:
Bitcoin is a digital representation of value, not a real currency, according to the latest pronouncement from the Internal Revenue Service.The I.R.S. on Tuesday released guidance indicating that Bitcoins and other so-called virtual currencies that do not have the status of legal tender in any jurisdiction would be treated as property, not currency, for tax purposes. The guidance also indicates that Bitcoin transactions are subject to the same information reporting and withholding requirements as similar transactions in dollars.
via Taxes Won’t Kill Bitcoin, but Tax Reporting Might – NYTimes.com.
A tax proposal released on Thursday by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, addresses a topic that tends to make my students’ eyes glaze over: cost recovery.Cost recovery is a technical topic but one that may shape our economic future, because it affects the calculations of every business manager making a decision about what projects to pursue and what assets to buy.
via Tax Proposal for an Economy No Longer Rooted in Manufacturing – NYTimes.com.
Changes to the tax code always create winners and losers. An ambitious plan to revise the system for taxing multinational corporations, released on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Max Baucus, would hit technology companies and large pharmaceutical companies especially hard. Companies like Pfizer, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have become masters at reducing their tax liability in the United States by shifting income overseas.
These companies often hoard cash in offshore subsidiaries, and in the past they have successfully lobbied for a tax holiday to repatriate cash at lower tax rates. The Baucus proposal would, among many changes, end this practice of tax deferral and impose a minimum tax of about 20 percent on overseas profits — whether those profits are repatriated to the United States or not.
via Wall Street Could Benefit From Tax Proposal – NYTimes.com.
Other methods of tax avoidance have received less news media attention but are no less troubling. A recent deal by LIN Media, a media company backed by the private equity firm HM Capital Partners and the investment manager Royal W. Carson III, highlights two techniques. LIN Media owns 43 local television stations around the country, including the CBS affiliate WIVB in Buffalo, the Fox affiliate KHON in Honolulu and the CBS affiliate WISH in Indianapolis, along with other media assets.
In July, it merged with itself. Who knew this was possible? While the merger was trivial from a business standpoint, it generated half a billion dollars in tax losses that the company used to shelter its gain from an earlier deal and eliminate its tax liability.
via Tax Wizardry Accomplished With an Offbeat Merger – NYTimes.com.