Corporations that ditched US mailing addresses may still get federal contracts. In a 2013 memo obtained by Bloomberg, manufacturer Ingersoll-Rand, which moved its corporate address from New Jersey to Bermuda and then to Ireland, argued that it shouldn’t be subject to a government ban on foreign firms getting federal contracts. While President Obama has criticized tax-driven corporate inversions, the Department of Homeland Security bought Ingersoll-Rand's legal arguments against the ban and cleared the firm for US government work. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is among several Democrats who want to tighten restrictions on inverted firms receiving federal contracts.
Streaming music or movies from the cloud in Chi-Town? You can expect to be hit with a new 9 percent tax. Netflix, for example, plans to pass the cost of the tax on to its subscribers. The tax also hits Chicago businesses that pay to use everything from real estate to court databases online. Business have until September 1 to start collecting the tax, but can start sooner. The city expects to raise an additional $12 million a year from the levy, which it will use to help fill the city’s budget gap.
A new and improved TPC tax model. The Tax Policy Center has updated its microsimulation tax model. It now includes excise taxes, and, using methodology of the Joint Committee on Taxation, increased the number of tax units by 4 percent, to 171 million in 2015. This bigger number offers a better measure of those who do not file federal income tax returns but do pay payroll and other taxes. TPC’s Bob Williams explains that the updated model continues to illustrate an overall progressive federal tax system. “The substantial progressivity of the income and estate taxes more than offsets the regressivity of payroll and excise taxes.”
Alabama explores a new soda tax. The state needs money, and to get it, Republican Governor Robert Bentley would like to raise user taxes and avoid increasing income or property taxes. Soda’s popularity makes it a target, with a proposal to add a 5 cent tax per 12 ounces of soda. Soda sales are already taxed at 4 percent.
Pension reforms may help the UK fisc. In April, the United Kingdom began allowing pensioners to take their share out in cash, rather than buy an annuity to provide retirement income. Such withdrawals from the pension system are taxable, so these distributions will produce a tax windfall for the UK Treasury this year—about £700 million, or more than double what the UK expected. As for the 60,000 retirees who so far have taken out about £1 billion? Some have used their withdrawals to pay for cars or vacations.
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