Lunch Links: Questionable Trump Tax Maneuver to Avoid Debts Cited; Colorado Rebuts Arizona Ads Opposing State’s Marijuana Voter Proposition; Left’s Opposition to Washington Carbon Tax Criticized; Yale Daily News Endorsement Puts Tax Exemption at Risk

November 1, 2016

Today is November 1, the date in 1765 when the Stamp Act went into effect and collections began. The law required a tax stamp to be purchased, in British money, and affixed to all legal documents (including attorney licenses and land grants), magazines, playing cards, dice, pamphlets, and newspapers in the American colonies. Besides revenue, the Act’s tax on professional licenses suggested a motive of reducing educated professions, and references to as-yet-nonexistent ecclesiastical courts and expanded jurisdiction of non-colonial courts sparked distrust. Colonial opposition was immense and the discussions to coordinate resistance forged an American identity. By mid-November, most of the appointed stamp distributors had been intimidated into resigning, and Parliament repealed the act in early 1766.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

More Details on Trump’s Large Tax Loss: Tax experts who have reviewed available documents conjecture that Trump swapped debt on his casino projects (that was canceled in bankruptcy) for partnership equity, enabling him to avoid his debts while being able to deduct the losses on his taxes. His lawyers warned him not use the maneuver. Congress outlawed it in 2004. (The New York Times)

Dynamic Scoring Now Mainstream: The Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay discusses the landscape of tax scoring. (Heritage Foundation)

19 States See Higher Gas Taxes: New Jersey’s gas tax goes up today, but the state is not alone. Nineteen states and D.C. have raised gas taxes since 2013. (Tax Justice Blog)

Arizona Anti-Marijuana Ads Get Rebuttal from Colorado Officials: The ads from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, opposed to Proposition 205, which would legalize and tax marijuana, say that Colorado has raised no new money for education. Colorado officials note that marijuana taxes have raised $138.3 million for education, more than half of the total. (Arizona Republic)

New Mexico to Stop Tax Holds on Foreigners: New Mexico’s tax department has agreed to stop automatically withholding tax refunds from taxpayers who lack a Social Security number but have an IRS-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). (Albuquerque Journal)

The Washington Post Criticizes Left’s Opposition to WA Carbon Tax: The editorial board: “The activists want micromanagement. Because the plan would recycle the revenue it raised, none would be left over for ‘investments’ that activists favor. […] In other words, softening the blow for the poor and middle class is not enough. The government must divert the revenue according to the wishes of specific interest groups. […] In most of the country, a leftist coalition could not impose a dramatic climate plan premised on jacking up taxes and government spending. If it really wants to fight climate change, the movement should be able to take yes for an answer.” (The Washington Post)

Did the Yale Paper Put Its Tax Exemption at Risk? The Yale Daily News, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Newspapers often endorse candidates; 501(c)(3) nonprofits are prohibited from doing so. But the only direct precedent is a past IRS ruling that held a student newspaper endorsement did not put the overall university’s tax status at risk. (Surly Sub Group)


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