Tax Reform Won’t Save the World [Bloomberg]
Tax reform “will result in the additional revenue the president seeks,” said House Speaker John Boehner in his post- election news conference. “It will support economic growth, which means more revenue is generated for the Treasury. And it will improve the efficiency of the system, which means additional revenue as well.” He went on to quote former Treasury Secretary George P. Shultz, who said the 1986 tax reform was “the unsung hero of the very good economic times we had for a long time.” That’s the Washington consensus on tax reform: It slices, it dices, it cleans up after itself. But that’s not the economic profession’s consensus.
The big question: How, not whether, to raise taxes [Wonkblog/WaPo]
The White House’s position, in other words, is that if Republicans want to raise revenue while holding down rates by reforming the tax code, they have to show how they’re going to do it, prove that they’re willing to take the heat, and let it get scored by the Joint Tax Committee. If not, then tax rates are going up, either because Congress agrees to decouple the tax cuts for income under $250,000 from the tax cuts for income over $250,000, or because we’ve hit the deadline without an agreement and all the tax cuts have expired, raising taxes on everybody.
Departing IRS Chief Says Tax Code Ripe for Overhaul [WSJ]
Douglas Shulman, whose term ended Friday, said in an exit interview with The Wall Street Journal that there’s “broad bipartisan consensus that the tax code is too complex” and that “it would serve the American people better to have a tax code that has more certainty without as many expiring provisions.” He added that lawmakers have “loaded up” the current tax code with breaks, and “in some ways they’re the definition of complexity” and could be pared back.
Tax-Exempt Firm Gets $600 Million Profit Flying First Class [Bloomberg]
Since 1862, an obscure company called American Bureau of Shipping has been approving oceangoing vessels as seaworthy. The Houston-based firm reported $3.17 billion in revenue and just less than $600 million in profits from ship inspections from 2004 to 2010 and paid no U.S. income taxes on those earnings. […] ABS inspects 11,898 vessels annually. The IRS asks companies in its standard filing form to say why they are nonprofits. ABS answers that question every year with the following phrase: “To promote the security of life & property on the seas.”
Swizz Beats: ‘My tax payments are up to date’ [SFC]
Also: “I don’t have no tax issues."