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March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
March 23, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: In 2007, my parents signed over their house deed to my name. Does this trigger the gift tax? They never filled out a gift tax form. Is it too late? Dad has passed on but Mom is still with us. She has Alzheimer's disease, and I have her power of attorney. Are there no taxes due because of the lifetime exclusion? Answer: Yes, a gift tax return should have been filed, but no, the gift tax itself almost certainly wasn't triggered. In 2007, each of your parents would have had to give away more than $1 million in their lifetimes before gift tax would be owed.
March 22, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
Earlier this month a German court might have succeeded in doing what no soccer team in Europe has been able to do in quite some time, namely wound Bayern Munich. Whether the conviction of team President Uli Hoeness for tax evasion is simply a minor scratch or a mortal blow remains to be seen. But Hoeness' four-day trial, which captivated the country and embarrassed the team, couldn't have come at a worse time for Bayern, which is completing what may be the most dominant two-year stretch in club soccer history.
March 20, 2014 | By Shan Li
Californians pay the second-highest taxes in the nation, beat out only by New Yorkers. That's according to personal finance firm WalletHub, which took a look at how states stack up against each other when it comes to taxes. The conclusion , which should come as no surprise to taxpayers: Where you live has a large effect on how much Uncle Sam takes from your pocketbook. PHOTOS: World's most expensive cities Taxpayers in the states with the highest taxes pay about four times more than those in states with the lowest taxes, WalletHub said.
March 19, 2014 | By Kerry Cavanaugh
Would you, city of Los Angeles resident, support a higher sales tax for smooth streets and sidewalks? How about backing a higher sales tax to build light-rail and subway lines? Would you support both tax increases? That's the question L.A. leaders and voters may soon confront. On Tuesday, two Los Angeles officials proposed putting a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot to raise money for road and sidewalk repairs. City leaders have considered a street repair tax since at least 2006, but council members previously favored a bond measure, which would be paid by property owners.
March 19, 2014 | By Richard Verrier
The British government took another step to lure filmmakers across the Atlantic. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced Wednesday that the government had approved enhancements to the United Kingdom's film-tax-relief program, which will take effect April 1. Among the key changes, the government said it would offer a 25% credit on the first $33 million of qualifying production expenditure, and 20% thereafter. Currently, such projects could only claim a 20% rebate.
March 18, 2014 | By David Zahniser
One year after Los Angeles voters rejected a sales tax increase, the City Council is looking at trying again - this time by tying the money to the repair of the city's deteriorating network of streets. Two high-level City Hall policy advisors recommended Tuesday that lawmakers place a half-cent tax hike on the November ballot that would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years. The proceeds, they said, would pay to fix the most severely damaged roads and sidewalks. Passage of a tax could add momentum to Mayor Eric Garcetti's "back to basics" campaign, which focuses on upgrading basic services.
March 17, 2014 | By Kim Christensen
Scores of small businesses burned in a payroll-tax scam got some welcome news late last week when an insurance company said it would cover $3 million of their total losses. "We won't get all of our money back, but at least it looks like we will get a good chunk," said Melissa Meltzer, who with her husband, Robert, owns a Los Angeles children's fitness franchise that lost about $55,000. The Meltzers are among about 150 mostly Southern California restaurateurs, dentists, hairstylists and others who learned around Christmas that money they had deposited with LA Payroll for state and federal taxes had disappeared - as had the company's owner, Tovmas Grigoryan.
March 17, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Last November, the Internal Revenue Service asked for public comments on proposed rules to rein in political activity by tax-exempt "social welfare" groups that don't disclose their donors. The agency has gotten an earful of negative reaction, not only from conservatives who long have accused the IRS of political bias, but also from some liberal and civil-liberties groups. (The Republican-controlled House has voted to delay the rules for a year.) A few of the criticisms are justified and easily addressed.
March 16, 2014
Re "A philanthropic revolution," Opinion, March 13 A funny thing happened to me on the way to reading Jack Shakely's Op-Ed article. After I told a friend I was going to a nonprofit accounting seminar, he said, "Well if you want to make a lot of money, go to work for a nonprofit. " I attempted to rebut that statement using personal experience. We seminar attendees were alerted to details of the proposed Tax Reform Act of 2014. The potential change that may negate Shakely's donor-advised fund promotion is that the Tax Act proposes an annual excise tax on contributions that are not distributed within five years.
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