Will Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Kill Tax Reform? Hint: You Can’t Kill Something That’s Already Dead

The latest narrative making the rounds in Washington is that President Obama will kill prospects for tax reform in 2015 if he grants legal status to undocumented immigrants though an executive order. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and others claim that this step will so poison the well of trust between Democrats and Republicans that […]


In Search Of… Tax Savings, Near or Far

Inversion is the gift that keeps on giving for Actavis. Last year the pharmaceutical company reincorporated from its Parsipanny, New Jersey, home to Ireland, after a $5 billion deal with Warner Chilcotte. This year, before Treasury’s inversion curbs took effect, it purchased New York-based Forest Laboratories for $25 billion for tax savings. And today, in […]


Spin Alert: DOE Loans Are Losing Money, Not Making Profits

The Department of Energy snookered the media last week with a report that seems to show that its clean energy lending programs are profitable. “Remember Solyndra? Those loans are making money,” went a typical headline. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Taxpayers are losing money on DOE lending. Less than originally expected, and less than you would […]


How Quickly Can Lame Ducks Move Before the Holidays?

On the Hill this week: House Republicans will choose either Paul Ryan or Kevin Brady to be the next Ways & Means Committee chair. But Ryan would have to give up the gavel if he chooses to run for president, according to a new party rule approved last week. Meanwhile, senior tax writing committee members […]


A Billionaire Saves, Two Words Disappear, and Three Provisions Protect

There’s more than one way to skin a cat (and reduce taxes). Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has made a swap for Procter & Gamble’s interest in Duracell. The “cash-rich split-off” means that Berkshire Hathaway bought Duracell in exchange for its appreciated P&G stock, worth $4.7 billion. Capital gains taxes are not incurred since […]


How Did Medical Device Makers Become Poster Children for Obamacare Critics

The push to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices has somehow become a touchstone for GOP efforts to chip away at President Obama’s health care law. But why?  To paraphrase Bogart’s  classic line from Casablanca:  Of all the taxes in all laws in all the world, why did they pick this one? […]


Liability, Math, and Budget Crunches

Can a state tax all of the income of its residents, wherever it is earned? The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Comptroller v. Wynne. A decision will answer whether residents of one state are liable for taxes on income earned in another state, even if that income has already been taxed. If […]


Clicks, Pumps, Dreams and Time… How Many May See Their Taxes Rise?

Cyber Monday will live to hear another click. Speaker of the House John Boehner has at least temporarily killed the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill, which would allow states to require out-of-state websites to collect Internet sales tax, passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support. Tax Analysts reports that House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob […]


Now is the Perfect Time to Raise Gas Taxes

Let’s see if I have this right: Congress needs to finance highway and transit projects but can’t agree on how. The traditional revenue source is the gasoline tax. Gas prices are at their lowest levels in years and dropping. Consumers would barely notice if they had to pay a bit more now at the pump. […]


You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But If You Tax Sometimes…

Taxes are going up in the Windy City… again. The Chicago city council is about to approve a $62.4 million tax hike on everything from parking and auto leases to cable TV and tickets to live sports and entertainment. Yesterday, the City Council’s finance committee approved a host of targeted increases designed to fund the […]