Lunch Links: IRS to Change Rules on Estate Tax; The Double Mortgage Interest Deduction; San Francisco Kills Tech Tax

August 3, 2016

Today is August 3, the date in 1936 when Jesse Owens won the first of four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin. Unlike today, there wasn’t much in the way of endorsement deals (certainly for African-Americans like Owens) and Owens eventually fell into debt, worked as a gas station attendant, and was fined $3,000 in 1966 for not reporting $68,166 in speaking fees on his taxes.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • IRS Opens 90-Day Comment Period on New Estate Tax Regulation Proposal: Inherited fractional or minority stakes of small businesses are worth less than an equivalent-sized part of a full stake in a business, so the value is discounted for estate tax purposes. The IRS says these valuations are being abused to get them under the $10.9 million estate and gift tax exclusion, and have issued proposed regulations to end the practice. (The Wall Street Journal / Politico / IRS)
  • Tax Analysts Describes Renacci Tax Plan: A good sum-up. (Tax Analysts)
  • IRS Agrees to Allow Unmarried Couples to Double Mortgage Interest Deduction: Taxpayers can deduct up to $1.1 million of mortgage interest ($1 million for the purchase mortgage and $100,000 for a home equity mortgage). Bruce Voss and Charles Sophy are unmarried but own property together, and argued that they could together deduct up to $2.2 million. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the taxpayers, and now the IRS gives in and will allow the deductions going forward. (Accounting Today)
  • Kansas Primaries Oust Several Incumbents: Kansas’ destructive pass-through exclusion may be on the chopping block after several Republican legislators lost their primaries to challengers seeking to reverse the state’s problematic tax and budget policies. (Kansas City Star / Bryan Lowry / Tax Foundation)
  • Ohio Tax Commissioner Stops by State Fair: Joe Testa sang “Taxman” and held a drawing to choose 15 taxpayers to visit with him in Columbus to share their ideas. (Associated Press)
  • New Hampshire Governor Candidate Pledges No Sales or Income Tax: Republican candidate Ted Gatsas made the pledge while unveiling a 10-point growth agenda plan. (Another point is to stop applying the gross receipts-based Business Enterprise Tax to unprofitable businesses.) Polling has Gatsas behind state official Chris Sununu, although polls are close with potential Democratic challenges. (Incumbent Governor Maggie Hassan is running instead for the U.S. Senate.) (State Tax Notes)
  • San Francisco Officials Kill “Tech Tax”: The California city's proposed 1.5 percent payroll tax only on tech companies died in committee after testimony against noted it would be divisive, praised tech companies for charitable donations for programs in the city, and a report showing the tax would hurt San Francisco’s economy. (Time)

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