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  • US Lawmakers Look To Business For Tax Reform Help

    House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R – Utah) have sent a letter to a coalition of small businesses asking for ideas on how to cut the effective tax rate for US pass-through businesses, which pay tax at individual income tax rates.

    In their April 13 letter to the Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates (CFETR), which joins a large number of American small business associations, Ryan and Hatch were looking for input on how the effective tax rate for pass-through businesses could be reduced, while not cutting statutory individual tax rates.

    Those ideas could be important if only corporate tax reform is able to be progressed in Congress in the foreseeable future. President Barack Obama has so far insisted on this, given that he is against any reduction in the top rate of individual income tax. In that case, a reduction in effective tax rates on pass-through businesses would be necessary to maintain their competitiveness in the face of reduced statutory corporate tax rates.

    While both Ryan and Hatch have indicated that their preference is for comprehensive tax reform, involving both individual and corporate tax codes, their letter adds that, if “the reality is that the statutory tax rates for pass-through businesses will have to wait until the next President, there are reforms we can enact now that will lower their effective tax rate.”

    CFETR members have been requested to send their comments by May 31, 2015.


  • IRS Scam Phone Calls Increase Prior To Tax Deadline

    There is a scam going around for the public to beware of, with the scammers calling individuals and claiming to work for the government. This IRS scam has cost victims $15 million or more, reports CNN. The reason the calls have conned so many folks out of money is because of some of the high-tech tools the scammers are using to sound legitimate when they call. Those techniques include “spoofing” the caller ID number displayed to make it appear as if the calls are coming from the IRS, or even mimicking the background noises heard in call centers to fake as though the caller is in a room with a bunch of other IRS agents talking to others on their own phone calls.

    The IRS scammers may use phone numbers that appear to originate from Washington, D.C., and even have information about your financial history. The scam phone calls became so prevalent that the IRS issued a report about how to spot them and what to do if you’ve received one. This reporter actually received three of the IRS scam phone calls in one day, with a computerized voice left on a voicemail message on Sunday, April 5, claiming the made-up name of some IRS agent was calling from the “audit department of the IRS.” It said the call was to inform you that a lawsuit “which has been filed in your name” will be sent with this case to the local county courthouse. In that instance, the scam callers asked to “kindly call us back on our number, which is (713) 701-5034.”

    The computerized voicemail is a scam, along with any others purporting to originate with the IRS that haven’t been initially accompanied by a written communication from the IRS. In their report, the IRS states that they’ll never demand payment from those who owe money in the form of a pre-paid debit card like the scammers are doing, nor will they ask for your credit card numbers over the phone.