ANR: Romney Requested Ten Years of Returns From VP Candidates; Fantasizing About the Fiscal Cliff; A FASB Chant for Loan Losses | 09.14.12

Romney Asked VP Shortlisters for Ten Years of Tax Returns [TDB]
As part of its vetting, the Romney campaign required at least some of the candidates on the short list—including the eventual winner of the GOP veepstakes, Ryan—to submit fully 10 years of tax returns, according to a knowledgeable source. The requirement was consistent with the past practices of both Republican and Democratic campaigns.  Indeed, in 2008, Mitt Romney turned over 23 years of taxes to John Mccain’s campaign when he was under consideration to be the Arizona senator’s running mate.

Romney Tax Cuts Work Only When Mortgage Deduction Mostly Reduced [Bloomberg]
Mitt Romney says he can lower income-tax rates by 20 percent without costing the U.S. government revenue and without making the middle class carry a bigger share of the tax load. He’s right — assuming that Congress eliminates the most widely used deductions by taxpayers earning more than $100,000 a year, says Harvey Rosen, an economics professor at Princeton University whose study Romney cites as evidence that his plan is viable. The Republican presidential candidate has refused to say which tax breaks he would eliminate. Rosen’s illustration abolishes those for home mortgage interest payments, employer- provided health insurance, state and local taxes, charitable donations and the unrealized increase in the value of life- insurance policies for households with six-figure incomes. “Even if you could maybe make it work in an abstract world, you can’t assume that all of these deductions will be eliminated, especially by a candidate who so far hasn’t identified one he’d do away with,” says Alan Viard, a former Treasury Department tax expert in President George W. Bush’s administration. Former Republican Representative William Frenzel, a tax and budget expert who spent 20 years in the U.S. House, says, “Romney’s plan would have enormous difficulty getting through the Congress.”

A Tax Tactic That’s Open to Question [NYT]

There is no evidence that Mr. Romney has violated the law. The principal means he used to pay low taxes on his hundreds of millions of dollars in income was the technique known as carried interest, which allows managers of private equity funds to treat most of the fees they receive for running the funds as capital gains rather than ordinary income. The technique strikes some — including President Obama — as outrageous, but it is legal under current law. Unless and until the Congress changes the law, Mr. Romney has every right to take advantage of the technique. But there is a related tactic to avoid taxes that is used by some private equity firms, including Bain Capital, whose legality is less clear. The Internal Revenue Service has not challenged it — at least not publicly — but some legal scholars say it is not justified, and some private equity firms have not chosen to use it.

Is This the Tax to Pass the Grover Norquist Test? [Bloomberg]
Ezra Klein has a dream.

"Anything But Market" is the FASB's Mantra for Loan Loss Accounting [Accounting Onion]
I'm having trouble picturing Leslie Seidman chanting in a lotus pose.

H&R Block CEO touts company’s strong position at annual meeting [KCBJ]
The Kansas City-based tax preparer filed 25.6 million U.S. tax returns during fiscal 2012, which ended April 30. That’s up from 24.5 million last year and from 23.2 million in 2010. The company handled one of every six returns filed. “Our business model is to serve clients the way they want to be served,” Cobb said at the company’s annual meeting Thursday. “If they want to come to one of our offices, or if they want to talk to us via a Skype-like platform, or if they want to use one of our software items that they buy at Walmart or Office Max, or if they want to go online, we don’t direct the client, we just serve them.”

Pre-orders for Apple's iPhone 5 sell out in less than an hour [Fortune]
Does that give you a sad?
 
Mother of 5 finds ex-boyfriend living in her attic [WCNC]

A Rock Hill woman says she found an old boyfriend living in the attic of her home after being released from jail recently. A mother of five said her children are afraid to sleep in their own rooms after finding the man living in the attic of their home. She asked Newschannel 36 not to identify her by name because her old boyfriend who was living in her attic is still on the loose, but said she heard a thump coming from the ceiling after she put her children to bed Saturday night. "Then all the nails just popped out of the ceiling over my bed. Like 'bing, bing, bing,'" said the woman. Thinking it was an animal, she asked her older sons and adult nephew to check out what was happening upstairs. "They found a man. He had packed all the old coats and jackets into the heating unit and was sleeping in the heating unit," she said, adding that the man ran downstairs and out of the house before police could get there. Officers did find several "Route 44" Sonic cups filled with feces and urine in the attic. The man also appeared to have rigged the ceiling vents so he could see into the woman's bedroom.

 

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