President Trump refused to release his tax returns during the election campaign despite promising to do so, raising suspicion that anything from embarrassing business failures to compromising foreign debts could be revealed in them. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow tweeted that she's received Trump tax returns from 2005.
That'd be personal federal taxes. She'll be presenting the details at 9pm EST on her show. Any bets on what they contain?
UPDATE: The White House released information Trump's 2005 taxes to pre-empt the show.
Trump reported $150 million in income and $38 million paid in taxes, according to a statement from the White House. ...
The White House said Trump had a responsibility "to pay no more tax than legally required."
"Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pya no more tax than legally required," the White House said.
Does he really think he gained anything be pre-empting her by minutes? It just shows there's no impediment at all to him releasing his taxes. Read the rest
The GOP is advocating for a "Border Adjustment Tax," which is something like a complicated Value Added Tax that is meant to encourage companies to on-shore or re-shore their manufacturing, without raising prices for Americans (because the US dollar is supposed to rise by up to 25% (!) as a result), while removing the complexity that allows companies to dodge tax by finding loopholes.
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Conservatives often threaten to cut funding for public arts, humanities, and broadcasting, but will Trump actually do it? White House staffers who have seen Trump's proposal say he doesn't like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so he plans to eliminate all three
as federal programs. Read the rest
The New York Times obtained Donald Trump's 1995 tax records. These records show that Trump declared a $916 million loss that year, and because the sum was so substantial, it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying federal income tax for 18 years.
No word on who leaked them or why.
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Ireland offered Apple huge tax breaks, but didn't give other companies the same deal. The European Commission concluded this was illegal and the company must pay up the €13bn it would otherwise have owed in taxes.
The Commission said "selective treatment" allowed Apple to pay tax rate of 1% on European Union profits in 2003 down to 0.005% in 2014.
The findings are a result of the culmination of a three-year investigation by Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager into tax arrangements for Apple, dating back 25 years.
In a statement, the EC said the benefit is "illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid."
That's 5 cents for every thousand dollars made. Read the rest
One of those lame IRS scammers called me this morning.
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Noted horrible shitbag Donald Rumsfeld has one thing in common with you and I, dear reader: he is not happy with the IRS, and wishes he hadn't spent so much money preparing and filing his taxes. Here is his annual open letter to the Internal Revenue Service, no doubt to promote his stupid narcissistic book. Here are my thoughts on the matter. Read Rummy's letter below.
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Hollywood, legendary home of creative accounting, wants a new round of subsidies. David Sirota at Pando Daily:
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Now that California has a budget surplus, the question for the state’s lawmakers is pretty simple: Should they use all the new money to reverse recession-era cuts to social programs. Or, should they spend up to $400 million a year of the new resources on more taxpayer handouts to the film industry? Yesterday, 59 California state legislators called for the latter, sponsoring a bill to increase tax credits to the film and television industry. Call it yet another Hollywood heist, this one engineered with a double-shot of chutzpah.
The Washington Post's Barton Gellman and Greg Miller detail the vast sums of money America spends on intelligence operations, far from public scrutiny.
Among the notable revelations in the budget summary:
•Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013. The figure vastly exceeds outside estimates and is nearly 50 percent above that of the National Security Agency, which conducts eavesdropping operations and has long been considered the behemoth of the community.
•The CIA and NSA have launched aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems, embracing what the budget refers to as “offensive cyber operations.”
•The NSA planned to investigate at least 4,000 possible insider threats in 2013, cases in which the agency suspected sensitive information may have been compromised by one of its own. The budget documents show that the U.S. intelligence community has sought to strengthen its ability to detect what it calls “anomalous behavior” by personnel with access to highly classified material.
•U.S. intelligence officials take an active interest in foes as well as friends. Pakistan is described in detail as an “intractable target,” and counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel.”
Don't miss this incredible, clarifying interactive chart. Read the rest
"A Swazi Member of Parliament has urged the government to hike taxes on traditional healers
and soothsayers to help solve a funding crisis in Africa's last absolute monarchy." [Reuters] Read the rest
McLaren, a cheating Formula 1 team, got caught and fined £34M, so they deducted it from their taxes. The British tax authority objected, but they appealed, and won. Ren Reynolds has a gamerly perspective on this on Terra Nova:
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In short McLaren argue that the fine was an expense related to the trade that they were engaged in. That there are exceptions to this such as statutory fines, but this was not such a fine, it arose out of the contract between them and the sporting body and it was not a 'punishment' but a commercial deterrent as such it was a risk of and thus an expense of trade.
The way that this has been presented in some elements of the UK media is a some what popularist version of the dissenting opinion in the case by Dee. This opinion holds that the fine was a punishment and that 'fines and penalties' of a similar nature are not allowable under tax law. What's more "the conduct of McLaren fell way outside any normal and acceptable way of conducting their trade, as found by the WMSC."
The problem with this view is that it misunderstands the nature of games / sport and in particular their relationship with law.
To put it simply the sort of conduct that is accepted as part of a gaming or sporting practice is not just that set out by the rules but also a wide set of acts that are within the tradition of the actual practice of that game or sport.
Help sustain Tom the Dancing Bug, by @RubenBolling, by joining its INNER HIVE. Please click HERE for information. Read the rest
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"Mitt Romney's wife is reinforcing her husband's refusal to make public more of his of tax returns, saying "we've given all you people need to know
" about the family's finances." [AP] Read the rest
If you visit the TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE, you just might be participating in the type of patriotic and entertaining activity that CREATES JOBS FOR AMERICANS. If you follow RUBEN BOLLING on TWITTER, you're probably just wasting time. Read the rest
If you've paid much attention to policy in general, you won't be too surprised by what I'm about to tell you about energy policy. Many of our well-meaning public programs use tax dollars for the near-exclusive benefit of the wealthy—the group of people who need those shared funds the least.
Today I spoke at "What Will Turn Us On in 2030?", a conference about the short-term future of energy in the United States. At the conference, I met Lisa Margonelli, director of the Energy Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation. Margonelli has spent the last year researching the effects of high gasoline prices on middle class and working class families. (I'll be posting some more about that project later.) Along the way, she noticed some serious problems with the way we're currently trying to change energy systems in the U.S.—problems that actually endanger our ability to make real, long-term change.
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The green policies put in place by the Bush and Obama administrations are not only not aimed at the middle class; they’re benefitting the wealthy at precisely the moment that high gas prices have slammed the lower middle class.
Consider the flashiest green support for consumers at the moment: tax credits for the purchase of electric cars and solar panels. Buy an electric car (more than $40,000) or a solar array (more than $20,000) and get a tax credit. But most American families making the median income (about $50,000) spend more per year on their old used cars and fuel ($7,900) than they do on taxes ($6,000).