Lunch Links: IRS Backs Up Apple on European Commission Tax Claim; Missouri Ballot Amendment Would Ban Sales Taxes on Services; Calvin Coolidge’s Pet Lion Cubs’ Names

September 1, 2016

Today is September 1, the date in 1914 when Martha, the last known living passenger pigeon, died. While not using passenger pigeons, a Phoenix taxpayer once successfully deducted the care, food, and housing of carrier pigeons as a business expense. The taxpayer was a technophobe, refusing to ever use telephones or computers, so the deduction was fair game to communicate with his business partner.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Cook Continues Discussing EU/Ireland Verdict: Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company paid a worldwide effective tax rate of 26.1 percent on its profits in 2014, and disputed the claim that it only paid 0.005 percent tax to Ireland. The European Commission stood by its calculation, used in its ruling Tuesday that the company underpaid its taxes by €13 billion (roughly $14.5 billion US). (BBC / Bloomberg)

Ex-IRS Commissioner Says Ruling Harms International Cooperation: “I don't think it's a fight about the money — I think it's a fight about the rule of law, and who has the authority to impose the tax. I don't think the EU does,” said Mark Everson, who was IRS Commissioner from 2003 to 2007 when he scaled back service and stepped up enforcement. (CNBC)

Missouri to Vote on Banning Sales Taxes on Services: Pushed by the Missouri Association of Realtors, the measure is on the ballot as Amendment 4. Experts say it would likely cause sales tax rate increases, as a tax only on goods shrinks compared to the service-based economy over time. (Governing)

Oregon Governor Agrees Measure 97 Would Increase Prices: While proponents of the initiative say corporations will pay the tax bill and won’t be able to pass it on to consumers, Gov. Kate Brown said that “Oregonians are smart enough to realize there will be, um, they will bear some of these increased costs.” (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Timeline for Tax Reform? Mario H. Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund says Congress should set a timeline for when and how it will fix the tax code. (The Hill)

Interesting Name: Historian Amity Shlaes tweets that Calvin Coolidge had two pet lion cubs, “Budget Bureau” and “Tax Reduction.” (Twitter)

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