Monday, October 04, 2004

The Anti-Robin Hoods

From the NYT:

Republicans Try to Dilute Provisions in Tax Bill

Despite widespread agreement that abusive tax shelters are costing the federal government billions of dollars a year, House Republicans are working to eliminate or dilute provisions in a new corporate tax bill aimed at cracking down on illegal shelters.

The provisions, opposed by a range of business lobbyists and tax lawyers, are part of a larger battle in Congress over how hard to attack the rapidly expanding use of complex transactions that turn real-world profits into tax-world losses.

The issue is coming to a boil in a House-Senate conference committee that Monday night resumed considering a corporate tax bill that would provide up to $170 billion in tax breaks.

With only a few days left before Congress is supposed to adjourn, lawmakers are trying to make hundreds of last-minute changes that could affect tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue. Business groups, ranging from the National Association of Manufacturers to the Business Roundtable, have worked with tax lobbyists and accounting firms to protect the tax shelters.

A study prepared last year for the Internal Revenue Service estimated that abuse of tax shelters cost the federal government $12 billion to $18 billion a year.

A study last week by Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal research organization, reported that 82 of the nation's most profitable companies paid no corporate taxes in at least one of the last three years.

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