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Should Success Be Punished with Higher Taxes?
Posted By: Brandon Arnold - 02/01/13

ExxonMobil released some good news today – its profits have reached a five-year high. Exxon’s competitor Chevron also experienced a large fourth quarter bump in earnings.  But before employees and shareholders start popping champagne corks, they should keep a close eye on Washington DC.

Already, politicians are seizing upon this news as an opportunity to raise taxes on “Big Oil.”  Both White House press secretary Jay Carney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have suggested that these just-announced profit figures could create a better political opportunity to raise taxes on the industry.

They would do so by eliminating a so-called tax loophole for oil and gas companies.  Of course, this loophole isn’t really a loophole at all. It’s a broad-based manufacturing tax deduction that is utilized by virtually every company in the Dow Jones index.  The deduction should probably be eliminated altogether as part of comprehensive tax reform in which credits and deductions are scrapped and the rate lowered for all companies.  But that’s not what the White House and Reid are talking about here.  Instead, they want to single out one industry to punish it for being successful.  They would keep the manufacturing deductuion for all companies except those in the oil and gas industry.

If the oil industry wanted to curry favor with tax-hike proponents, it would probably be better off losing scads of money and rocketing towards bankruptcy.  In that case, they might become the beneficiary of a large taxpayer-funded bailout.  Instead, they could see their taxes raised dramatically as a punishment for making profitable business decisions.

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Speaking of Taxpayers, Jan. 25: This is your Tax Code on “Obamacare”, with Dan Pilla
Posted By:  - 01/27/13

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Tax compliance expert and taxpayer advocate Dan Pilla joins the podcast to discuss tax complexity and his report detailing some of the new dangers "Obamacare" will throw at taxpayers this year; plus the Outrage of the Week!
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The Late Edition: January 24, 2013
Posted By:  - 01/24/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Check out this Huff Po article explaining the support of a wide range of groups, including NTU, for the The Mulvaney-Frank amendment which freezes Pentagon spending at current levels.

This commentary piece from Bloomberg takes a look at various actions Congress could take to simplify the tax process for businesses.

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Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson Take a Swing at Never-ending Tax Hikes on Rich
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 01/24/13

A recent high-profile refugee from the Golden State’s excessive tax burden is professional golfer Phil Mickelson. Mickelson expressed his displeasure with California’s recent tax hike binge, saying he would have to make changes in response to the new rates, and received some backlash for his opinions.

In an interesting sign of taxpayer solidarity, Tiger Woods was asked about Mickelson’s comments and backed up his tour colleague’s feelings on the matter, saying: “I moved out of here back in ’96 for that reason. I enjoy Florida, but I also understand what I think he was trying to say. I think he’ll probably explain it in a little more detail.”

A heartwarming sign for taxpayers feeling the heat as governments at every level largely fail to manage their budgets responsibly.

As Forbes Contributor Robert W. Wood noted, athletes and entertainers are usually taxed excessively no matter which state they hail from, but successful California residents are subjected to a whole host of additional taxes:

When you are a resident–as Mickelson is of California at least for now–you get taxed on everything. Most PGA Tour players live in no-tax states like Florida or Texas. Controversially, California residents voted in November to raise tax rates to 13.3% from 10.3% for those making more than $1 million. Still, Mr. Mickelson was measured in his remarks. Many are much less so and headed for the exits.

On the East coast, Maryland presents another example of how harsh tax rates on the so-called “rich” drive upper income earners away and leave revenue-hungry states with even less to fund their budgets. The Wall Street Journal takes a closer look at how the Old Line State’s misguided fiscal policies have shrunk, not swelled, the state’s treasury.  

One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.

Will fiscally irresponsible lawmakers ever stop playing “whack-a-millionaire” and get their budgets in order? Hopefully high profile examples of the damage these punitive tax hikes cause will force them to start controlling spending.

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The Late Edition: January 23, 2013
Posted By:  - 01/23/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Today NTU wrote a letter in support of Representative Bob Goodlatte’s "Tax Code Termination" Act (H.R. 352), which would phase out the current complicated Internal Revenue Code and work towards a simpler system.  

Last week, a federal judge ruled that the IRS cannot force tax preparers to take a competency exam in order to continue offering their services. The decision is a win for tax preparers who would have had to endure burdensome new regulations, and for taxpayers, many of whom seek out experienced professionals to help them with their taxes. 

Check out this infographic from the Economic Policy Journal visually illustrating the payroll tax hike all working Americans are now subjected to.

Payroll tax hike

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Late Edition, January 21: Beer Tax?! Just when you thought it couldn't get worse
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 01/21/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Pete Sepp explains the many issues affiliated with Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

New Hampshire’s proposed 33 percent beer tax has left businesses uneasy about what that would mean for sales according to the Sentinel and Enterprise.

Sen. Charles Schumer says Senate Democrats will be passing a budget this year (for the first time in four years) and it will include tax increases, according to the Washington Examiner.

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Speaking of Taxpayers, Jan. 18: Congress’ Start on Spending; State Update
Posted By:  - 01/21/13

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NTUF's Dan Barrett discusses the latest Taxpayer's Tab and what spending bills have already been introduced in the new Congress, as well as how much savings Congress failed to pass last year. NTU State Affairs Manager Lee Schalk delivers an action-packed update on state fiscal legislation; and the Outrage of the Week!

   

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The Late Edition: January 17, 2013
Posted By:  - 01/17/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently proposed not only a higher-than-anticipated increase in state income tax, but he coupled it with a cut in sales tax. Read the full story at WGBH News.

Indiana is considering a bill that would add a 7 percent sales tax to online purchases, beginning July 1st if it garners enough support to pass according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

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The Late Edition: January 16, 2013
Posted By:  - 01/16/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTUF’s Dan Barret explains the $921.65 billion in annual savings Congress could have used to cut next year’s projected deficit by roughly 93 percent in this CNS News piece.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to unveil a budget this evening calling for $1.5 billion in additional spending next year and $2 billion annually in successive years. He plans on securing $1 billion in revenue by raising the state income tax, and likely instating another sales tax hike to cover the rest.

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A Tale of Two Tax Plans
Posted By: Lee Schalk - 01/11/13

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal emerged as a taxpayer hero this week, while Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell rightly faces heavy criticism from all sides thanks to his tax hike plan unveiled Monday. Yesterday, Jindal boldly proposed a complete elimination of the Pelican State’s income and corporate taxes, a job-creating move that would keep more taxpayer dollars where they belong – in people’s wallets. These reforms would quickly give the State’s economy a boost and make Louisiana one of the most business-friendly places in the Nation.

Virginia, on the other hand, is stuck with McDonnell’s burden-shifting tax hike that attempts to address the State’s transportation financing woes. On behalf of taxpayers everywhere, the National Taxpayers Union applauds Governor Jindal for his excellent proposal and urges other governors (we’re looking at you, Gov. McDonnell) to take notes. The straightforward, transparent reforms laid out by Jindal are the stuff taxpayer heroes are made of.

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