Lunch Links: French Raid Google, Castles and Property Taxes, and the “Federal Student Tax”

May 25, 2016

Today is May 25, the day when you might see people walking around with towels. It's also the one-month anniversary of Lunch Links, which we launched to gauge interest in us providing a daily list of interesting tax-related links. A month in, an average of 1,989 people click on these posts each day, and if you're one of them, e-mail me to tell me what you like and don't like.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • House Judiciary Committee Begins Impeachment Hearings on IRS Commissioner Koskinen: The 2-1/2 hour hearing focused on accusations that Koskinen lied under oath and defied a congressional subpoena. Koskinen didn’t testify, but sent a statement that emails were destroyed before he knew about it and that he tries to work with Congress. Another hearing will occur in June. (Washington Post / Tax Notes)
  • Scammers Impersonating IRS Demand Payment of “Federal Student Tax”: It’s all fake. There is no federal student tax. The IRS will never call you (at least now) to demand money, and they certainly will never demand that you wire it to them immediately. (Don’t Mess With Taxes)
  • French Tax Investigators Raid Google’s Paris Office: Dozens of police, financial fraud investigators, French tax officials, and IT specialists entered the offices just after 5:00 AM local time, looking for evidence of unpaid taxes. Google France employs 534 people in the country. (BBC)
  • North Carolina Senate Approves Standard Deduction Increase: Single taxpayers would get to take home another $1,000 tax-free; for married filers, it’s another $2,500. If approved by the House and signed by the Governor, the changes will take partial effect this year and full effect next year. The state has been running sizeable surpluses since the 2013 tax reform. (Senator Phil Berger)
  • Nebraska Tax Relief Town Hall Today: State senators in North Platte will take questions on possible tax changes this evening. (Platte Institute)
  • West Virginia Budget Debate Continues: Delegates voted 44 to 55 Tuesday to reject a 45 cent cigarette tax increase. (West Virginia MetroNews)
  • Brunori on Our Iowa Report: Public finance expert David Brunori writes that our new Iowa study is on point. (Tax Analysts)
  • Nevada Sales Tax Study Released: Tasked by the Legislature to study expanding the sales tax to services as an alternative to other tax increases, UNLV Professor Alan Schlottman concludes that a 2 percent sales tax on services could raise as much as $778 million per year. Exempting health care and business-to-business services would reduce that, and increasing the rate would increase it. (UNLV / Ralston Reports)
  • Ex-King of Romania Appeals Property Tax Bill on Castle: King Michael may have been deposed by the Communists in 1947, but his Savarsin Castle has racked up $1 million in back property taxes. He’s asking for an exemption as a veteran (he was supreme commander of the country’s military in World War II). (Bankrate)

And the A Crime a Day twitter feed reports that it’s a federal crime to brew more than 200 gallons of beer per year for a household of two adults without paying tax on it.

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