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Accounting News Roundup: CFOs v. Corporate Tax Code; IRS Eyeing Wealthy Donors to Political Groups; Russians Planning for Next Saturday | 05.13.11

CFOs Hate the Corporate Rate [CFO]
Finance chiefs were in the spotlight on Capitol Hill Thursday as they testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about the corporate tax rate. At a hearing convened by committee chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), CFOs Greg Hayes of United Technologies, Mark Buthman of Kimberly-Clark, Ed Rapp of Caterpillar, and James Crines of medical-device maker Zimmer Holdings testified that they would like to see the rate lowered and the tax code overhauled to reduce complexity and enable better planning.

Oil Chiefs, Senators Play to Type at Hearing [WSJ]
Oil companies and their profits were reluctant guest stars Thursday in a Capitol Hill melodrama that paired energy policy with the federal deficit. For more than three hours, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and the U.S. units of BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC sparred with Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who had summoned them to explain why their companies needed tax breaks at a time of surging industry profits and rising gasoline prices.

Big U.S. banks oppose derivatives accounting plan [Reuters]
Wall Street’s biggest banks are urging rule-makers to scrap a derivative accounting proposal that could inflate their balance sheets by trillions of dollars. The draft rules, unveiled by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in January, would force banks to report their full exposure for most derivatives on their balance sheets, instead of net amounts.

I.R.S. Moves to Tax Gifts to Groups Active in Politics [NYT]
Big donors like David H. Koch and George Soros could owe taxes on their millions of dollars in contributions to nonprofit advocacy groups that are playing an increasing role in American politics. Invoking a provision that had rarely, if ever, been enforced, the Internal Revenue Service said it had sent letters to five donors, who were not identified, informing them that their contributions may be subject to gift taxes depending on whether the donations exceeded limits under the tax laws.

Why Iowans for Tax Relief and Grover Norquist are misguided about tax reform [Tax Update Blog]
And Joe likes Ronald Reagan (but manages not to mention him).

Rich Russians Buy Bunkers on Apocalypse Angst [Bloomberg]
Danila Andreyev started building “panic rooms” three years ago, when fears of terrorist attacks and commercial disputes turning violent created demand in Russia. Now he’s selling “survival bunkers” for as much as $400,000 each to capitalize on angst over theories the world will end next year. “I myself am not a believer in doomsday scenarios,” Andreyev, 31, whose Spetsgeoproekt company is completing 15 bunkers at hidden locations across Russia, said at his office in central Moscow. “But when you start hearing clients talking about the end of the world, it gets you thinking.”

Yankees Let Fans Take Batting Practice at Stadium; Bring $1,500 and a Bat [Bloomberg]
On June 5, the Yankees and Steiner Sports Collectibles will hold their event that includes batting practice, tours of the stadium, a catered lunch and gifts — all for a cost of $1,500 to $3,000 per batter. “There is no experience like this,” Steiner Sports President Brandon Steiner said in a telephone interview. “People just melt when they get on the field.”

Posted in ANR