Essential reading: Fiscal cliff forces all sides to jockey, and more

Welcome from About Cash Flow to the top tax headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Fiscal cliff forces all sides to jockey. Damian Paletta – The Wall Street Journal. Lawmakers, CEOs, business groups and charities are scrambling to shape the debate over tax and spending policy after the November elections, staking out negotiating positions for what could be a fast-paced brawl. The jockeying is intensifying as Election Day approaches, despite a halt in talks between party leaders about how to avoid a total of $500 billion in annual tax increases and federal spending cuts set to begin in January. Link

* Political pastors offer up Biblical bait to IRS during election season. Greg Bluestein and Katie Leslie – The Atlanta Journal Constitution. A nearly 60-year-old tax law prohibits preaching politics from the pulpit, but with just days before the presidential election, dozens of Georgia’s religious leaders are embracing a movement to challenge the rule. Pastors across metro Atlanta have openly flouted the law in recent weeks, attacking the Internal Revenue Service’s stance as an intrusion of their sacred free speech rights. Link

* Supreme Court takes PPL appeal in tax credit case. Jonathan Stempel and Patrick Temple-West – Reuters. The Supreme Court said on Monday it will take the rare step of considering a tax case, one with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and broad implications for companies with businesses abroad and for the Internal Revenue Service. Link

* Tax whistleblower collects $38 million from IRS: lawyer. Reuters. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has awarded $38 million to a whistleblower for information about a tax dodge involving a large corporation, according to the informant’s lawyers. Link

* Payroll taxes are ‘regressive’? Time to rethink that idea. Kip Hagopian and Lee Ohanian – The Wall Street Journal opinion. Those who assert that the Social Security tax is regressive note that the income cap results in a decline in taxes paid as a percentage of income as income rises above the cap. But this observation omits three critical facts. Link

* Allysia Finley: Jerry Brown vs. the 99 percent. The Wall Street Journal opinion. At the outset of his administration in 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown pledged not to raise taxes without a vote of the people. But he never promised a fair election. Link

* The real barrier to tax reform. Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times opinion. It is believed that the principal barrier to tax reform is the resistance of special interests to the elimination of any particular preference that benefits them. Taking the top 10 tax breaks “off the table” means taking more than 70 percent of the dollar value out of the tax reform debate. Link

* ‘A dance is a dance’ The New York Times editorial. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled last week that Nite Moves, a strip club, must pay sales taxes. State law exempts from sales tax “dramatic or musical arts performances.” The question was whether a private lap dance or a pole dance qualifies as a “dance.” Clearly, they should. Link

Via Reuters – Essential reading: Fiscal cliff forces all sides to jockey, and more

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