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December 20, 2013 | By Brian Bennett and Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - In its last workday of the year, the Democratic-controlled Senate overcame GOP objections Friday to confirm two high-profile Obama nominees to the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service, but put off final approval of Federal Reserve chairwoman candidate Janet L. Yellen until January as part of a late-night cease-fire so lawmakers could adjourn for the holiday recess. After heated debate, the Senate narrowly approved Alejandro Mayorkas, President Obama's controversial pick for the No. 2 job at Homeland Security, in a 54-41 vote.
November 26, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani
WASHINGTON - In a long-anticipated move to restrict the flood of secret money in campaigns, the IRS for the first time proposed rules to rein in the political activities of tax-exempt groups that have emerged as heavyweight players in American elections. Tuesday's proposal, which faces a long and likely arduous path before becoming final, could dramatically reshape the campaign landscape. Since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010, nonprofit groups organized under section 501(c)
November 26, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Way too late to avert scandal, the Internal Revenue Service has set forth new guidelines defining political activities by nonprofits. These are activities for which donations aren't eligible for tax exemptions or donor confidentiality.  What scandal, you ask? It's not the bogus scandal about the IRS targeting "tea party" and "patriot" groups for special scrutiny. It's the real scandal that these groups or any others were trying to get tax breaks and anonymity for political donations in the first place.  Unsurprisingly, conservative groups instantly put up a big squeal about the IRS rules; after all, they're the ones who have exploited the murky old rules most assiduously.
November 26, 2013 | By Lance Pugmire
Manny Pacquiao's bank accounts in the Philippines have been frozen, stopping him from fulfilling his promise to help typhoon victims in his homeland, according to his promoter. Pacquiao was locked in training camp more than 400 miles away from the typhoon's deadly devastation when it struck, killing more than 5,200, and he vowed after beating Brandon Rios by unanimous decision in Macao, China, on Saturday night Pacific time that he would roll up his sleeves and help with his country's recovery.
November 6, 2013 | Wire reports
Jonathan Vilma's season is over and his future on the football field is in doubt. The New Orleans Saints placed Vilma to injured reserve, ending his season - and possibly his career - only three days after he had returned for his first game of this season. Vilma began the season on short-term injured reserve because of an arthroscopic procedure in August on his left knee, which has troubled him through multiple surgeries over two-plus seasons. The designation allowed the 10th-year linebacker to return to the active roster in Week 9. Vilma was activated Saturday and played 12 defensive snaps in a 26-20 loss to his former team, the New York Jets, on Sunday.
November 3, 2013 | By Scott Gold
SANTA BARBARA--Perched on a rock, steps away from the gentle waves licking at the shore, 20-year-old Michael Jimenez allowed his eyes to wander up an oceanfront cliff, to a majestic estate nestled in a grove of cypress and eucalyptus trees. He shuddered. For decades, mystery has shrouded the manor known as Bellosguardo, where every blade of grass seemed to be in place, but no one ever seemed to be home. Among young people like Jimenez, who grew up here, there were whispers about an abandoned orphan, about spirits from the nearby cemetery.
November 1, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
The Internal Revenue Service warned about a telephone scam in which targeted taxpayers are told they owe money and must pay up immediately. The IRS on Thursday said the operation was sophisticated. The scammers are able to provide would-be victims the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and have the ability to spoof the agency's toll-free number on caller ID. “This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," said Danny Werfel, acting commissioner.
October 31, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
October 15, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Despite the partial government shutdown, the tax man still cometh. The Internal Revenue Service said that even though most of the agency's employees have been furloughed, Tuesday remained the filing deadline for millions of people who received a six-month extension to complete their 2012 tax returns. "The current lapse in federal appropriations does not affect the federal tax law, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal," the IRS said last week in reminding late filers of the upcoming deadline.
October 4, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Andrew Khouri and Alejandro Lazo
A prolonged government shutdown could deliver a substantial blow to an already softening housing recovery. If the political standoff lasts for weeks, it could stall sales because lenders can't use IRS documents to confirm borrower qualifications. The impasse could also threaten loans backed by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. "With each passing day, the anxiety in the marketplace is building," said Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA's Ziman Center for Real Estate.
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