On the Hill…With the short-term highway funding patch due to expire on Friday, House and Senate conferees will continue work on a longer-term highway bill this week. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Tax Policy subcommittee will both hold hearings tomorrow on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report on base erosion and profit shifting. The chair of the House subcommittee, Charles Boutsany, already has called the report an unprecedented attempt to erode the US tax base.
Verizon lowers its own taxes in New Jersey. The telecommunications company has cut the taxes it pays to municipalities on telephone infrastructure. Verizon doesn’t think it needs to pay New Jersey’s Business Personal Property Tax once its landlines service less than 51 percent of a town’s population. So far, Verizon has reduced its tax payments to more than 140 towns and the state expects that number to grow.
Starbucks owes the Netherlands €30m in back taxes. The European competition commissioner has ordered the coffee chain to pay up, saying it had an unfair advantage in the Netherlands from an illegal tax deal. Starbucks plans to appeal.
The UK abandons efforts to repeal a low-income tax credit. The Tory government bowed to political reality and abandoned its attempt to repeal a credit for low-income households. The plan was rejected in the House of Lords and, after toying with a plan to scale back the credit, the government has ditched the idea entirely and will leave the subsidy on the books.
In Japan, a tax to curb global warming. On the eve of a huge international climate change conference, the Japanese government says it will levy a new tax to help protect Japan’s woodlands. The “forest environment tax” will be in revisions to the tax system for the fiscal year that begins in April 2016. The government has not decided on the amount of the tax, but it would collect it through municipal governments as “added portions” to the income-based residential tax.
Bipartisan tax reform, maybe, in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the nation’s opposition Congress Party leader, Sonia Gandhi, for the first time since Modi took office 18 months ago. Their 30-minute-long meeting could boost chances for a compromise version of a goods and services tax. Should it pass, the new indirect tax would be the biggest tax reform since India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.
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