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Congress is in recess through the mid-term elections. Read the Daily Deduction each Monday until then.
Apple’s new products might not bend, but its tax deals are under some pressure. Later today, the European Union’s European Commission is expected to release its opening decision on Apple’s 1991 and 2007 deals with the Irish government: They amounted to illegal state aid. Apple will have 30 days to respond. Apple itself isn’t under investigation, but the company might be required to return any unpaid taxes.
Corporate inversions: Knowledge is power. Back at home, Treasury’s new rules to curb corporate inversions removed a level of uncertainty in the corporate world. Following Treasury’s announcement, some corporations may have started exploring their options. Take Illinois pharmaceutical AbbVie: Will it restructure its purchase of UK-based Shire in order to follow the new rule on using offshore cash? As TPC’s Howard Gleckman noted, now “the dealmakers have the roadmap they need to keep their inversions Kosher.”
For smokers in Arizona: The tax man cometh. From 2006 to 2012, smokers in Arizona could buy cigarettes online without paying the state’s use tax of 5.6 to 6.6 percent per pack and the state’s luxury tax of 10 cents a cigarette, or $20 per carton. After online cigarette sales became illegal in 2012, online companies had to provide customer lists and purchase data to the feds, who passed it on to states. Arizona is now looking to collect taxes from 30,000 Arizona smokers, whose tax bills range from hundreds of dollars to several thousand. Knowledge is power, and for Arizona, revenue.
Businesses’ personal property taxes: Wisconsin legislators want to nix ‘em; mayors want to keep ‘em. The tax is assessed on the property inside a building, and is paid by all businesses in Wisconsin. In 2013, the tax generated $11.8 million or 2.5 percent of the statewide tax base. A GOP-led legislative steering committee recommends eliminating the tax, but the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that doing so could force cash-strapped cities to raise residential property taxes by an average of 2 percentage points statewide, though some might bump up against local tax caps. That’s why mayors in the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ Urban Alliance want the state to keep the business personal property tax.
For the GOP in Congress: Mum’s the word on tax cuts, but yes to reform? GOP congressmen seem to be singing a new tune. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says constituents aren’t talking about tax cuts. Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole says people are concerned with what is “fair and necessary.” California Representative John Campbell—of both the Republican Study Committee and the House Budget Committee—says tax cuts are “not a panacea,” as recently demonstrated. Perhaps House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform plan has been instructive, if not fully embraced.
No free pass for Ryan to Ways & Means Chair. Texas Republican Kevin Brady will challenge Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan for the chairmanship of the House Ways & Means Committee. Brady’s move may force Ryan to choose between running for the Ways & Means post and his national ambitions. The Texan joins those other Hill Republicans in saying that tax reform will be a top priority. The lawmakers are vying to replace retiring chair Dave Camp, whose own tax reform plan got a “blah, blah, blah” response from House Speaker John Boehner earlier this year.
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