Permanent Breaks, Pharma Moves, Credits and Grace

Expect the House to approve some permanent changes in the charitable deduction this week. They include contributions of food inventory, real property for conservation purposes, and  IRA distributions for charitable purposes. The measure would also allow individuals’ charitable contributions made between the end of the tax year and April 15 to count as tax-year contributions. It would also modify the excise tax on private foundations’ investment income. TPC’s Gene Steuerle explained how charitable giving can be increased with better tax policies in testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee last year.

The House might also vote to permanently ban state and local taxation of Internet access. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities would rather end the ban and let states use their discretion, given states’ use of the revenue to support public services. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a permanent ban would not affect the federal budget, but “beginning in 2014, it would impose significant annual costs on some state and local governments.”

Tax savings steer drugmaker moves. Pittsburgh’s pharmaceutical firm Mylan, Inc., will buy the European generic drug business of Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories, for $5.3 billion. The spin-off company, or spinversion, will be set up in the Netherlands, lowering Mylan’s tax rate. Meanwhile, London-based Shire Plc has accepted Chicago-based pharmaceutical AbbVie’s offer of $53 billion. This inversion could yield $1.3 billion in tax savings for AbbVie by 2020. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden’s panel may discuss all of this at a July 22 hearing on international taxes.

California woos high-tech manufacturing with tax credits. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed a 15-year, $420 million tax credit aimed at subsidizing Lockheed Martin, which is bidding on a $55 billion aerospace contract. The bill may also benefit Tesla Motors, which may build a $5 billion factory in California.

Massachusetts will offer amnesty for back taxes. The state’s taxpayers have two penalty-free months  to pay up if they filed late, underreported  income, or failed to pay owed or estimated taxes. Massachusetts hopes to collect $35 million during the grace period.

How might government and governance be improved? The Urban Institute hosts a panel discussion tomorrow on the challenges of creating more effective and accountable federal, state, and local governments. You can register here. Participants will consider different ways to approach watchdog activities, including investigations, audits, data trends, and program evaluations.

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