Even higher US tariffs on Chinese goods: “Not… cataclysmic” and no pain, no gain? Speaking to the Fox Business Network, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the latest threat to increase a 10 percent tariff on Chinese goods to 25 percent would not irrevocably damage the US economy. China, he says, has opted not to "modify their behavior.” So, the US has “to create a situation where it's more painful for them to continue their bad practices than it is to reform them.”
Who’ll make the most of Opportunity Zones? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created the Opportunity Zone program to encourage investment in economically distressed communities. TPC’s Steve Rosenthal thinks the program may be helping investors more than the communities. Taxpayers can postpone until 2026 taxes on profits from the sale of any property if those profits are invested in an Opportunity Zone fund. Taxpayers can also exclude from tax any gains from that investment, if it’s held for 10 years. There’s little governmental oversight and lots of generosity to investors. Warns Rosenthal: “This opens the door to big profits [for investors]… even as the social benefits of the initiative are unclear at best."
Michigan’s tax agreement with Airbnb yields $4.2 million in first-year revenue. The online home-share platform delivered $4.2 million in tax revenue on behalf of its Michigan hosts in fiscal year 2018. In June last year, Michigan’s Treasury Department authorized Airbnb to collect automatically the state’s 6 percent use tax and send it directly to the state. Airbnb has partnerships with over 370 local governments throughout the country to collect and remit taxes.
Alaska’s marijuana tax revenue exceeds expectations. In fiscal year 2018, Alaska collected more than $11 million in marijuana taxes, up from $1.7 million in fiscal year 2017. “I don’t believe the market has saturated and we haven’t seen exactly what capacity the state is going to operate in as far as cultivation and retail stores and the other facilities,” said Kelly Mazzei, excise tax supervisor with state’s department of revenue. “So we could continue to collect an unknown amount of money in taxes.”
Canada scales back elements of its carbon tax plan. The nation’s Liberal government wants to address business community concerns about global competition--concerns that have grown after the US imposed tariffs on industrial goods. The carbon tax would now apply to 20 percent instead of 30 percent of carbon emissions. The carbon tax goes into effect next year, starting at C$10 per metric ton, climbing to C$50 per metric ton by 2022.
South Korea wants to levy new taxes on some global tech companies. The nation’s domestic tech companies have cried foul over the amount of tax foreign corporations pay. Current law limits South Korea’s ability to tax foreign companies as it does not require them to disclose their sales and operating profit in South Korea. The government plans to move quickly to impose taxes on Google, Apple, Amazon and other international technology companies.
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