Lunch Links: Puerto Rico Bill This Week; David Allen Coe Sentenced; Noah’s Ark Tax Credits

Today is June 28, the date in 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down NFIB v. Sebelius, upholding the Affordable Care Act as authorized under the Taxing Clause. Ours was one of the few briefs submitted that addressed that issue, and I predicted that Chief Justice Roberts’ strange redefinition of what a tax is would be an aberration. (It has been so far.)

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Senate to Begin Debate on Puerto Rico Bill on Wednesday: Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began a procedure (“filling the amendment tree”) to head off proposed Democratic amendments to add appointees of the Puerto Rico Governor to the oversight board, remove the power of the oversight board over budgetary matters, increase funding for Puerto Rican services, and alter minimum wage changes. Treasury Secretary Lew pleaded with the Senate to act before a July 1 default. (Politico)
  • CBO Says Added IRS Enforcement Would Boost Tax Revenues: The IRS estimates tax evasion totals about $406 billion per year, and has asked for more enforcement funding to collect it. The Congressional Budget Office evaluated the request, concluding that it would add $18.7 billion to federal spending over ten years but collect $55.3 billion, for a net of $36.6 billion. IRS critics say the agency is too quick to jump to enforcement solutions rather than customer service and better information technology. (Congressional Budget Office)
  • Kentucky Pays Attorney Fees to Noah’s Ark Attraction in Tax Credit Dispute: Kentucky declined to provide $18 million in tax incentives to a $100 million Noah’s Ark attraction opening on July 7 in Williamstown, Kentucky. The attraction’s owners, Answers in Genesis, sued and won the incentives plus $190,000 in attorney’s fees. (Associated Press)
  • Mississippi Special Session Today: Gov. Phil Bryant (R) called legislators into a special session today to close a budget gap for the fiscal year that ends Thursday. (Jackson Free Press)
  • Country Singer David Allan Coe Sentenced in IRS Case: The man behind “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” has been ordered to pay $980,000 in back taxes, interest, and penalties. The singer reportedly accepted payment for performances in cash in an attempt to avoid paying taxes. (Taste of Country)
  • No More Qui Tam For Me: David Brunori of Tax Analysts, commenting on a Massachusetts proposal to allow citizens to sue companies directly for tax law violations, criticizes that the tax profession refers to such laws using the unapproachable Latin term qui tam. He’s right, so from now on I’ll be using the phrase “private attorney general” instead. (Tax Analysts)

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