What Horrors Await Us in Congress after the Election?


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There are two types of tax legislation Congress may enact after it returns to Washington for its lame duck session in November: bad policy and extremely bad policy. Let's start with the least terrible scenario, which would involve Congress enacting the Expire Act, the "tax extender" legislation approved by the Senate in May. This bill would extend for two years a list of tax breaks so long that almost no one understands them all, except us of course.

Not satisfied with the Senate's approach, the House voted to make several of these provisions permanent, which of course has a much bigger price tag and eliminates the possibility of ever getting rid of them, or at least reforming them. The question on everyone's mind is whether or not House Republicans will demand that tax legislation enacted during the lame duck session must include at least some of these permanent provisions.

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Putting a Face to the Numbers


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For years we've been telling you about the various tax cuts that have been signed into law by Ohio governors. Governor Bob Taft (who was elected in 1999) pushed through (among other tax changes) a 21 percent across the board income tax reduction. Those tax cuts were allowed to continue under Governor Ted Strickland. Current Governor John Kasich has pushed through his own series of tax cuts. We've written about and crunched numbers on these flawed plans often.

The numbers are certainly compelling. For example, ITEP found that since 2004 the various tax changes signed into law cost the state $3 billion and are currently reducing tax bills for the state's most affluent 1 percent of taxpayers by more than $20,000 on average, while the bottom three-fifths of state taxpayers as a group are actually paying more taxes now, on average, than they would if these tax changes had not been enacted.

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Two of Every Kind of Tax Giveaway


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Kentucky is the land of bourbon, horse racing, and - now - dubious tax cuts. Last week, The Courier-Journal reported that Ark Encounter, LLC, a company planning to build a facsimile of Noah's Ark to biblical specifications as the centerpiece of an amusement park, may lose $18 million in state tax incentives due to religious discrimination. State officials are concerned by a job position posted by Ark Encounter that requires "applicants to provide salvation testimony, a creation belief statement, and agreement with the "Statement of Faith" of Ark Encounter's parent organization, Answers in Genesis," the organization behind Kentucky's Creationism Museum.

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New Movie Aims to Scare Public by Depicting IRS as Jack-Booted Thugs


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Looking for a good scare this Halloween? Right-wing film producer John Sullivan will have you hiding under your covers with his portrayal of jack-booted IRS thugs going door to door looking for any Christian, veteran or true freedom-loving American that they can squash.

Pulling no punches, Lori Marcus, a commentator in the recently released documentary "Unfair: Exposing the IRS," says that if the IRS is not stopped then the next boxcar will be coming for you, an allusion to the boxcars used to carry Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Nazi allusions are part and parcel of Sullivan, whose right-wing propagandist films such as"2016: Obama's America" and "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," are chock full of factual errors and hyperbole in service of perpetuating a sense of mortal fear of all things Obama or progressive.

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Ireland's Soft Pedaling Tax Avoidance Crack Down


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The Irish government's announced plans to phase out the infamous "Double Irish" loophole represents a significant victory for tax justice advocates worldwide who have sought to end this practice, but also leaves an opening for corporations to find new tax avoidance schemes.

The loophole -- used by companies like Apple and Google to dodge billions in taxes -- allows multinational corporations to route international profits to Irish subsidiaries and then tell Irish authorities that these subsidiaries actually have tax residence in a tax haven such as Bermuda or, in the case of Apple, have no tax residence at all. Irish lawmakers have proposed requiring corporations registered in Ireland to also be tax residents of the country.

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Georgians Set to Vote on Income Tax Straightjacket


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Georgians will vote Nov. 4 whether to permanently enshrine the state's top income tax rate of 6 percent in the state constitution.

The so-called "tax-cap" amendment sounds American as apple pie. No one looks forward to the day their income tax bill comes due, and the prospect of capping the rate understandably sounds appealing at first. But Georgia voters who take a second-look at the proposal will see it for what it truly is: an attempt to keep taxes for the wealthiest Georgians low and to block future generations from meeting the needs of a rapidly growing state.

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Steris, the latest to renounce U.S. Citizenship, Only Paid a 16.3% Tax Rate Over Three Years


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After announcing Ohio-based Steris Co.'s plans to become British for tax purposes on Monday, CEO Walter Rosenbrough later said on a conference call, "We're not typically users of aggressive tax policies and I don't think we are here."

That's his story, and he's sticking to it. But even a cursory look at the company's financial reports tells another story.

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The Inversion Parade Continues: Steris Announces Pretend Move to Britain


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As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, the Treasury Department cannot fix the inversion crisis by itself. Only weeks after the Obama Administration announced that Treasury will take important regulatory steps to help prevent U.S. -based companies from inverting to foreign havens as a tax-dodging strategy, the Ohio-based Steris Corporation announced its plan to purchase a British health care firm and reincorporate in the United Kingdom.

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State Rundown 10/10: Lottery Bust, Music Credits on the Table


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Oklahoma state lottery faces scrutiny; Kansas revenue projections fall short for the fourth time; New York music industry fights for tax incentives; California lawmakers want extension of tax increases.

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European Commission Crackdown on Special Tax Deals


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The European Commission's recent action to crack down on special deals some European Union governments offer to corporations could be a blow to multinational corporations' tax-dodging strategies.

As we noted in a report earlier this year, three European countries (Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) are among the top twelve tax haven countries for U.S.-based multinationals. Corporations use these and other tax havens to artificially shift their profits to foreign jurisdictions and avoid U.S. tax.

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