Lunch Links: Congressman Beats State Tax Commission; Rhode Island Revelations; Paying Property Taxes with $1 Bills

June 16, 2016

Today is June 16, Adam Smith’s 293rd birthday. The Scottish author of The Wealth of Nations was arguably the first person to put pen to paper about what makes a good tax system, and the principles of sound tax policy that we follow today are traced to him.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • IRS Impeachment Hearings: The House Judiciary Committee will hear from four witnesses next week on the subject of impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, while the House Oversight Committee voted 23-15 along party lines to censure Koskinen. (The Hill)
  • Congressman Successfully Fights for State Tax Refund: Rep. James Renacci (R-OH) contested the state interpretation of a vague federal statute, and the state imposed double penalties because he didn’t just accept the state interpretation. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Renacci v. Testa that the tax commissioner was correct in his interpretation, but that taxpayers shouldn’t be penalized for making a case for an alternative reading. (State Tax Notes / Ohio Supreme Court)
  • Alabama Sued Over Internet Sales Tax Rule: Alabama issued a new regulation effective January 1 requiring sales tax collection from online sellers, a direct violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Quill ruling of 1992. California online retailer Newegg is suing, and Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee concedes the regulation conflicts with Quill. (Consumerist)
  • New Documents in Rhode Island 38 Studios Failure: Rhode Island promised to pay $75 million to investors in a video game business if the business failed, which it did. Now documents have emerged that showed investors didn’t scrutinize the business because the state guaranteed the bonds. Rhode Island still owes $51.9 million of the $115.9 in principal, interest, and fees. (Providence Journal)
  • Rhode Island Approves Budget: Rhode Island’s House also approved its budget just before midnight last night, including a slight reduction in corporate minimum tax and unemployment insurance tax. Uber rides will be subject to sales tax. The Senate is expected to concur today and Governor Raimondo (D) says she will sign it. (WPRI)
  • Louisiana Special Session Continues: The Times-Picayune suggests different directions it may go. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
  • Airbnb Begins Collecting Pennsylvania Hotel Taxes: Collection will begin July 1. (Law360)
  • Illinois Taxpayers Pay Property Tax in $1 Bills: Jeff McGrath and Dan Aylward marched into the McHenry County (northwest of Chicago) treasurer’s office with bags of $1 bills, out of frustration with rising taxes. Indiana Sen. Brandt Hershman invited them to Indiana via Twitter. (Chicago Tribune / Twitter)

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