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Accounting News Roundup: Bad Belgium; Banning Tax Credit Scofflaws; Saying No to Things You Want to Do | 01.11.16

Belgium’s Tax Break to Multinational Companies Is Ruled Illegal [NYT]
The European Commission has alleged that Belgium allowed 35 companies to use a tax break that reduced their incomes by a combined $765 million. The companies weren't named, however, "a unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev" was among those examined in an inquiry that began in 2014. 

If Banning Negligent Low-Income Households From Taking Tax Credits Is Such a Great Idea, Why Stop With Them? [TaxVox]
Taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit “reckless or intentional disregard” of the rules can be banned from taking the tax break for two years. The recent budget bill expanded the ban to the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, except the ban is for 10 years. Howard Gleckman wonders if these types of penalties should be used in other parts of the tax law, too:

In one of those serendipitous coincidences, just as Congress was going after refundable credit users, the New York Post reported that the National Rifle Association has repeatedly filed misleading tax returns. For six years it failed to report that its political action committee was an associated organization. For seven years, it simply ignored a tax form question about whether it engaged in lobbying. From 2008-2013 it failed to report the amount it spent on lobbying. The trade group blamed these years of incorrect filings on a “clerical error.”

Does this constitute “reckless or intentional disregard” of the tax rules? Who is to say what is in the mind of someone who files an improper tax return? But it seems more clear-cut for a huge organization that relies on teams of accountants and lawyers than a single mom who fails to comply with complicated rules governing whether she, or her children’s father, should claim the EITC or the CTC.

How to Say No to Things You Want to Do [HBR]
Telling people to buzz off when you're already swamped is one thing, but what happens when a project or assignment comes along that you actually want to do?

Deal Means No Fraud Retrial for Ex-Chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf [NYT]
Prosecutors will spare jurors the pain of listening to mountains of accounting fraud evidence against Steven Davis. The ex-Chairman of Dewey agreed to not practice law in New York for five years in exchange for a deferred-prosecution agreement. Prosecutors still plan to retry his co-defendants Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders "after both men rejected plea deals."

In other news: