5 States Without Sales Tax

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 States Without Sales Tax

Sales taxes account for 30.1 percent of overall revenue at the state level. Unlike income taxes, which are managed at the federal level, sales taxes are handled by each individual state, which means some states don’t impose sales taxes at all. Here are the only five states that currently have no sales tax.

Alaska

Alaska

Credit: Maridav/ Shutterstock

Alaska is one of only two U.S. states without sales or income taxes. But, while there is no sales tax at the state level, local governments throughout Alaska have the right to impose taxes at their own discretion, and there are some areas of Alaska where a sales tax is charged on certain items.

You’ll need to pay attention as you travel through the vast state, as the taxes can be somewhat unpredictable as you do. If you’re in Anchorage or Fairbanks, you’ll pay no sales tax; if you travel to Juneau, you’ll pay a five percent sales tax on any item you purchase.

Delaware

Delaware

Credit: Christopher Boswell/ Shutterstock

We’re jumping straight from the largest U.S. state to one of the smallest — Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S., measuring in at just 96 miles long. Unlike Alaska, Delaware makes up for a lack of sales tax by imposing fairly high income taxes. In fact, this little state has the 17th highest income tax in the nation. Delaware also relies heavily on excise taxes, which are taxes imposed on specific types of goods, services, or activities. For example, while there is no general sales tax, there are taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and gas.

One interesting facet of Delaware’s tax policy is its impact on the art scene. Art collectors and dealers often work here in order to avoid the high taxes imposed on art sales in other states. This appeal is part of what allows the state to continue not charging sales tax; businesses will often register in Delaware to avoid sales tax, meaning that the state gets a good amount of its revenue from corporate taxes instead.

Montana

Montana

Credit: Vaclav Sebek/ Shutterstock

Montana may be nicknamed the Treasure State, but this moniker comes from its many mineral reserves, not from the money it rakes in from sales taxes. In fact, a significant portion of Montana’s tax receipts come from the taxes corporations need to pay when they mine in this state. The other biggest tax charge in Montana is income taxes.

Unlike most other states, individual jurisdictions in Montana cannot choose to collect sales taxes at their own discretion. Instead, Montana makes use of what is known as a resort and local option tax, which is a sales tax implemented in areas with a lot of tourist traffic but a low population. This type of tax, which affects lodging, restaurants, and recreational facilities, enables small towns to support large influxes of tourists without raising taxes for permanent residents. Only cities with populations of under 5,500 are allowed to use this tax — but given that Montana’s population density is just seven people per square mile, many areas meet this qualification.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire

Credit: DenisTangneyJr/ iStock

Along with Alaska, New Hampshire is one of the two states with no sales or income tax. The majority of New Hampshire’s tax receipts come, instead, from its property taxes, which are the third highest in the country.

In addition to its high property taxes, New Hampshire makes heavy use of excise taxes. Like Montana, local governments in New Hampshire cannot choose to charge sales taxes. Instead, the state as a whole taxes beer, electricity, tobacco, and gasoline. There is also a nine percent sales tax that is always charged on restaurant bills, car rentals, and hotel lodging. In addition to all of this, New Hampshire charges a 10 percent timber tax for trees chopped down in the state — although Christmas trees, fruit trees, nursery stock, ornamental trees, and sugar orchards are all exempt from this particular tax. All of these taxes combined make up a large portion of New Hampshire’s revenue.

Oregon

Oregon

Credit: Josemaria Toscano/ Shutterstock

Oregon is the most populous state on this list. Although it doesn’t charge a sales tax, Oregon does make use of excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and phone services. Local governments throughout the state also impose sales taxes in certain jurisdictions.

Despite its lack of statewide sales tax, Oregon does charge heavily in other areas. In fact, this state has the third highest income tax rate in the country, something it relies on to meet budgetary goals. This has led to Oregon being listed as one of the worst places to retire.

Oregon lawmakers aren’t actually all that happy about this tax situation. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, they have tried nine times to impose a sales tax — but all of these attempts were wildly unpopular among voters. Even one of the state’s most popular governors, Tom McCall, was unable to discuss a plan for imposing a sales tax without getting booed. Present day lawmakers are still trying to get a sales tax going in Oregon — but for now, this state remains sales-tax free.

Republicans Despise the Working Class

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

President Trump looking at guests identified as “middle class families.” CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

You can always count on Republicans to do two things: try to cut taxes for the rich and try to weaken the safety net for the poor and the middle class. That was true under George W. Bush, who sharply cut tax rates on the top 1 percent and tried to privatize Social Security. It has been equally true under President Trump; G.O.P. legislative proposals show not a hint of the populism Trump espoused on the campaign trail.

But as a terrible, no good, very bad tax bill heads for a final vote, something has been added to the mix. As usual, Republicans seek to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, but they don’t treat all Americans with a given income the same. Instead, their bill — on which we don’t have full details, but whose shape is clear — hugely privileges owners, whether of businesses or of financial assets, over those who simply work for a living.

And this privileging of nonwage income isn’t an accident. Modern Republicans exalt “job creators,” that is, people who own businesses directly or indirectly via their stockholdings. Meanwhile, they show implicit contempt for mere employees.

More about that contempt in a moment. First, about that tax bill: The biggest-ticket item is a sharp cut in corporate taxes. While some of this tax cut might trickle down in the form of higher wages, the consensus among tax economists is that most of the break will accrue to shareholders as opposed to workers. So it’s mainly a tax cut for investors, not people who work for a living.

And the second most important element in the bill is a tax break for people whose income comes from owning a business rather than in the form of wages. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has evaluated the Senate bill, which the final bill is expected to resemble. It finds that the bill would reduce taxes on business owners, on average, about three times as much as it would reduce taxes on those whose primary source of income is wages or salaries. For highly paid workers, the gap would be even wider, as much as 10 to one.

Continue reading the main story

As the Center’s Howard Gleckman notes, this might mean, for example, that “a partner in a real estate development firm might get a far bigger tax cut than a surgeon employed by a hospital, even though their income is the same.” (Yes, a lot of the bill looks as if it were specifically designed to benefit the Trump family.)

If this sounds like bad policy, that’s because it is. More than that, it opens the doors to an orgy of tax avoidance. Suppose that I could get The Times to stop paying me a salary, and instead to pay the same amount to Krugmanomics LLC, a consulting firm consisting of one person — me — that sells opinion pieces. I would probably get a big tax break as a result.

Now, the bill will contain complicated rules intended to limit such gaming of the system, and they’ll probably prevent me personally from taking advantage of the new loophole. But as Gleckman says of these rules, “some may fail and some may work too well” — that is, deny the tax break to some business owners who really should qualify. On average, however, they’re likely to fail: a lot of revenue will be lost to those who game the system. Think about it: We’re pitting hastily devised legislation, drafted without hearings over the course of just a few days, against the cleverest lawyers and accountants money can buy. Which side do you think will win?

As a result, it’s a good guess that the bill will increase the budget deficit far more than currently projected. And meanwhile, after all those promises Republicans made about simplifying our tax system, they’ve actually made it far more complicated.

So why are they doing this?

After all, the tax bill appears to be terrible politics as well as terrible policy. Cutting corporate taxes is hugely unpopular; even Republicans are almost as likely to say they should be raised as to say they should be lowered. The Bush tax cuts, at least initially, had wide (though unjustified) popular support; but the public overwhelmingly disapproves of the current Republican plan.

But Republicans don’t seem able to help themselves: Their disdain for ordinary working Americans as opposed to investors, heirs, and business owners runs so deep that they can’t contain it.

When I realized the extent to which G.O.P. tax plans were going to favor business owners over ordinary workers, I found myself remembering what happened in 2012, when Eric Cantor — then the House majority leader — tried to celebrate Labor Day. He put out a tweet for the occasion that somehow failed to mention workers at all, instead praising those who have “built a business and earned their own success.”

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Yes, it was just a gaffe, but a revealing one; Cantor, a creature of the G.O.P. establishment if ever there was one, had so little respect for working Americans that he forgot to include them in a Labor Day message.

And now that disdain has been translated into legislation, in the form of a bill that treats anyone who works for someone else — that is, the vast majority of Americans — as a second-class citizen.

Tax Bill Lets Trump and Republicans Feather Their Own Nests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

To understand the cynicism and mendacity underlying the Republican tax bill, look no further than a provision that would benefit President Trump and other property tycoons that is in the final legislation Congress is expected to vote on this week.

The provision would allow people who make money from real estate to take a 20 percent deduction on income they earn through limited liability companies, partnerships and other so-called pass-through entities that do not pay the corporate tax. The beneficiaries would also include members of Congress like Senator Bob Corker, who last week decided he would vote for the bill even though Republican leaders did nothing to address his concerns about an exploding federal deficit.

The biggest winners would be people like Mr. Trump, his family and similarly advantaged developers who make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars every year on swanky office towers and luxurious apartment buildings. An earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate provided a 23 percent deduction but put limits on its use that would prevent wealthy developers from profiting from it. The House version would simply have reduced the rate at which pass-through income is taxed.

Republican leaders and Mr. Corker, who owns a real estate partnership in Tennessee, say the new loophole was not put in place to win over his vote. Mr. Corker has become more important because his party can afford to lose only two votes, and Senator John McCain will be absent because of the aftereffects from his cancer treatment.

Republicans insist, further, that the provision was not “airdropped” — Mr. Corker’s term — into the tax bill during conference committee negotiations, and that its main purpose was to make sure pass-through businesses were not treated unfairly because corporations would be getting a big tax cut to 21 percent, from 35 percent now. Whatever the Republicans’ protestations, this malodorous loophole is further confirmation that congressional leaders are doing everything they can to maximize benefits for the wealthy at the expense of almost everybody else.

As for Mr. Trump, he has been going around saying the tax bill would “cost me a fortune” and his accountants “are going crazy now.” This claim has always been “fake news.” But with the new loophole it has become even more nonsensical. Having done nothing to drain the Washington swamp, the president now luxuriates in its warm waters.

Continue reading the main story

All told, the 20 percent deduction for pass-through income would cost the government $414.5 billion in lost revenue over 10 years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. To put that number into context, it is about 29 times as much as the roughly $14 billion a year that the federal government spends on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly nine million kids from low-income families. Congress let authorization for that program lapse at the end of September.

The tax bill’s generosity toward real estate titans stands in stark contrast to its stinginess toward the average wage earner as well as its very real damage to taxpayers in high-cost states. Average wage earners who would get modest tax cuts in the early years would see them evaporate into thin air after 2025. Homeowners and others in high-cost states like California, New Jersey and New York would see their once-sizable deductions for state and local taxes shrink to a maximum of $10,000 a year, which could in turn reduce home values. Further, the tax bill would permanently change how tax brackets are adjusted for inflation so that more people would be pushed into higher tax brackets over time even if they received only modest raises in salary.

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Details aside, here in broad numbers is the bill’s impact 10 years from now, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: Nearly 70 percent of families with incomes of between $54,700 and $93,200 a year would pay more in taxes than they would under current law. By contrast, 92 percent of families whose incomes put them in the top 0.1 percent of the country would get a tax cut averaging $206,280.

This bill is bad enough. No less revolting is the dishonest and sneaky way it was written.

The One Main Reason Legal Pot Sales Are Lacking: Greed/Price

The One Main Reason Legal Pot Sales Are Lacking: Greed/Price

(A commentary by OldPoet56)

 

I have been reading articles the past couple of days in main stream media that marijuana sales in California are in big trouble financially and the legal companies are complaining to the state about their hardships. Folks I knew that this issue would arise back when the vote was made to make it legal. I am no rocket scientist and I know that by no means was I the only one to see this coming issue. The only reason this is happening is the price of the product, the greed of the “legal” corporations and the greed of the politicians. Greed from the politicians in the form of tax revenue on the product. Greed on the side of the “legal” Corporations by pricing the product way out of the reach of the very people who voted to make it legal in the first place. Most people who want or need the product cannot afford the “legal” price. The price on ‘the street’ is already to high for most everyday working or disabled people to afford. The price of the ‘legal’ product is many times higher that the street price. In many cases the price of one ounce of legal marijuana in a store is higher than the price of an ounce of gold. If people cannot afford to buy the legal product and they are financially forced to buy it off of the street then the state gets no tax revenue from the sales. When a legal growers store wants $500-2,000 per ounce there are very few people who can afford it at all, if they are going to buy it they will buy if off of a street vendor for $150-350 per ounce. Even these street vendors prices are to high for the average person to buy any of it. If a person is working a job for $12 per hour, after taxes it would take most all of their pay check just to buy one ounce per week, and that is at street prices. A huge amount of regular working people could easily spend their whole months earnings on one ounce of “legal” weed. People cannot afford the product, this is THE reason that sales figures are way down from what was expected by the corporations and the politicians, it is not rocket science, it is an issue of cost, of GREED!

 

Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes In 2018!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SNOPES NEWS)

 

Did Amazon Pay No Federal Income Taxes in 2018?

SEC filing: “We have tax benefits … that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income.”

  • PUBLISHED 19 NOVEMBER 2019
  • UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER 2019

Claim

Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax in 2018.

Rating

Origin

A frequent political talking point — when issues of tax law and corporate governance are concerned — is the lack of income taxes Amazon pays to the federal government. In 2018, Snopes rated “True” the claim that the online retailer had paid no such taxes in the 2017 tax year. Readers raised the same question for the 2018 tax year, and once again our rating is “True.”

Though Amazon’s actual U.S. tax filings are not public, a broad overview of their overall tax burden can be found in their SEC 10-K filing. In 2018, the company made over $200 billion in sales, but paid no money to the U.S. government in the form of income tax (in fact, the government actually owed the company some $129 million as noted in parentheses in the chart below):

However, the company did pay taxes abroad and at the state level: “Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years,” an Amazon spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in February 2019.

As we discussed in our previous Amazon tax fact check, the methods employed to make that extremely reduced tax burden a reality are only vaguely described by the company, but the process involves taking as many tax credits as possible under the law. “We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income,” the company wrote in their SEC filing.

Stock-based compensation refers to the fact that publicly traded corporations, like Amazon, can list the stock options they grant to employees as a business cost in their accounting, and if an option-receiving employee makes over $1 million a year in salary, the profits from the sale of those stocks can then be counted as a federal income tax deduction for the corporation.

With respect to the other tax credits or deductions? “It’s hard to know exactly what they’re doing,” Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy for the non-partisan Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, told Yahoo. “Their public documents … don’t lay out their tax strategy. So it’s unclear exactly which breaks [Amazon is taking advantage of].”

Regardless, it is factually true that Amazon paid nothing in federal income tax in 2018.

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Appeals court hands Trump another loss, saying Congress can seek his tax returns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Appeals court hands Trump another loss, saying Congress can seek his tax returns

Washington (CNN)An appeals court has denied for the second time President Donald Trump’s attempt to stop an accounting firm from turning over his financial documents to the House, making it the second tax case Trump’s lawyers say they are taking to the Supreme Court.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday that a panel of eight judges out of 11 voted against allowing Trump to continue his appeal.
The decision is another loss stacked against Trump, after federal judges have repeatedly rebuked him and greenlighted the House’s effort as it also pursues his impeachment. The case, if Trump loses again with the Supreme Court, could deliver his tax returns or closely related financial documents into the hands of House Democrats.
The opinion reiterates the strong signal the court sent last month, when it upheld a lower court ruling that Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA must comply with a House subpoena of his tax documents and turn over eight years of accounting records.
Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said Wednesday that they will appeal the decision to Supreme Court, noting “well reasoned dissent” from three judges to Wednesday’s opinion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed the new ruling in a statement Thursday, saying, “once again, the courts have resoundingly reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight and consider legislation on behalf of the American people.”
In a separate case, Trump faces a Thursday deadline to ask the Supreme Court to block a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for copies of his financial records and tax returns. His attorneys have previously said they intend to ask the Supreme Court to take up the New York case.
And in yet another new filing in a third case Wednesday night, Trump’s legal team asked a judge for a two-week buffer period if the US House asks for his tax returns through New York state. Congressional Democrats countered in that court filing that they’d like to write an argument this week responding to this request and have an in-person hearing before the judge makes a decision.
Courts have previously refused to curtail Congress’ subpoena power.
The majority of the appeals court did not give reasoning why they declined to hear Trump’s appeal on Wednesday. But two judges, Greg Katsas and Neomi Rao, both Trump appointees to the federal appellate bench, wrote that they disagreed with the vote and would have heard Trump’s arguments again.
Katsas, who served in the White House Counsel’s office before taking the bench, wrote that he wanted a larger panel of judges on the court to hear the case, which he said presents “exceptionally important questions regarding the separation of powers among Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judiciary.”
He said that because the records are “personal” and not related to the office of the presidency, the “unavailability” of an assertion of executive privilege “creates an open season on the President’s personal records.”
Rao, who also served in the Trump administration and also dissented from the three-judge panel’s opinion, charged that when the court allowed the subpoena to go forward it “shifted the balance of power between Congress and the President and allowed a congressional committee to circumvent the careful process of impeachment.”
She said that even though the House has subsequently authorized an impeachment inquiry, the committee in issuing the subpoena was not relying on impeachment power.
A third judge, Karen Henderson, appointed to the circuit by President George H.W. Bush, signed onto their reasoning.
The administration has continued to stand its ground against all efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns. Trump has claimed that ongoing IRS audits have stopped him from making his tax returns public, even though audits don’t prevent individuals from releasing tax returns.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump can’t sue New York state in DC federal court to stop release of tax returns, judge says

(CNN)A Trump-appointed federal judge decided Monday that President Donald Trump can’t sue New York state officials in a Washington, DC, court at this time to stop the release of his tax returns to Congress.

The case is one of many where the President or his administration have asked federal judges to intervene before House Democrats obtain Trump’s financial records.
Effectively, the ruling is a loss for Trump but a less significant one then the blows other courts have dealt him in cases involving Democrats’ pursuits of his financial records. Courts have sided with the House multiple times in cases where its committees have subpoenaed Trump’s financial records. Trump is still appealing those rulings, keeping the House subpoenas on hold.
If Trump wants to continue to challenge a New York state law that says Congress can request his state tax returns, he’ll either need to wait for Congress to make the request or start over with a new lawsuit in a New York court, the judge, Carl Nichols of the federal district court in DC, said Monday.
“Mr. Trump may press his claims against the New York Defendants in this Court should future events support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them, or he may opt to pursue those claims in an appropriate forum,” Nichols wrote in his opinion, which dismissed Trump’s lawsuit against the New York state officials. The judge is still considering whether Trump can sue the House Ways and Means Committee to stop it from requesting his returns under the state law.
In this case, Trump had sued New York state and the House to preempt a new New York state law, called the TRUST Act. Congress hadn’t yet requested his state tax returns under the law.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office had argued that the case “plainly belongs in a New York court.”
Trump had argued that the DC federal court was the right place to sue because New York state would send the tax returns to Washington if Congress requested them.
But Nichols, a Trump appointee to the federal bench in Washington, sided with New York on Monday.
It’s possible Trump could file a similar lawsuit with another court, such as in New York state, or later in an attempt to prevent the request from Congress, Nichols wrote.
“The Commissioner [of tax and revenue in New York] has not taken any such actions—at least not yet. But more importantly, the acts of corresponding with the Committee and transmitting Mr. Trump’s state tax returns would not constitute transacting business” in Washington, DC, the judge wrote on Monday.
Trump also claimed he could be hurt, for the purposes of a lawsuit, in Washington. “Such acts, if taken, could be enough to satisfy” part of the DC code, the judge wrote. “But speculation that they might occur is insufficient to exercise jurisdiction over the Commissioner now.”

8 Years of Trump Tax Returns Are Subpoenaed by Manhattan D.A.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

8 Years of Trump Tax Returns Are Subpoenaed by Manhattan D.A.

Investigators demanded the president’s personal and corporate tax returns as they examine hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.

ImageA lawyer for the Trump Organization last month called the investigation politically motivated “harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons.” 
CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

State prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump’s accounting firm to demand eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

The subpoena opens a new front in a wide-ranging effort to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns, which Mr. Trump initially said he would make public during the 2016 campaign but has since refused to disclose.

The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan district attorney’s office late last month, soon after it opened a criminal investigation into the role that the president and his family business played in hush-money payments made in the run-up to the election.

Both Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, for money Mr. Cohen paid to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the affair.

It was unclear if the broad scope of the subpoena indicated that the office had expanded its investigation beyond actions taken during the 2016 campaign. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., declined to comment.

The state prosecutors are seeking a range of tax documents from the accounting firm, Mazars USA, including Mr. Trump’s personal returns and those of his business, the Trump Organization. The subpoena seeks federal and state returns for both the president and the company dating back to 2011, the people said.

The investigation by Mr. Vance has been focused on $130,000 that Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, just before the election. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to breaking federal campaign finance laws and received a three-year prison sentence.

While the federal prosecutors who charged Mr. Cohen stated in a court filing in July that they had “effectively concluded” their inquiry into possible crimes committed by the company or its executives, Mr. Vance’s office is exploring whether the reimbursements violated any New York state laws.

In particular, the state prosecutors are examining whether the company falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.

But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken. Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns.

Democrats have insisted for years that Mr. Trump release his tax returns, which every modern presidential nominee has done before him. They contend that the president may be trying to conceal details of his actual financial worth, the source of his wealth and possible conflicts of interest involving his business partners.

Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.

The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York State law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump’s team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year.

But it may be more difficult to fend off a subpoena in a criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury, as there is in Manhattan. It is possible the Trump Organization could try to negotiate with the district attorney’s office to narrow the scope of the subpoena.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, and Marc L. Mukasey, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, both declined to comment.

Asked whether the company would seek to quash the subpoena, Mazars USA said in a statement that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations,” adding that the company was prohibited by its policy and professional rules from commenting on its work. The statement, however, did not directly address whether the company might take any legal action to block the subpoena.

Even if the Manhattan district attorney’s office is successful in obtaining the president’s tax returns, the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case.

At the beginning of August, the state prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization, seeking documents related to the payment to Ms. Daniels and the reimbursement to Mr. Cohen. With few legal options, the Trump Organization has been complying with that subpoena.

Still, the company has derided the investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, as politically motivated.

“It’s just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons,” Mr. Mukasey said last month.

As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney’s office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank.

The investigation is not the first time Mr. Vance’s office has focused on members of the Trump family or its business. In 2012, his office declined to charge two of Mr. Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., in an investigation into whether they misled buyers interested in the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium project, a decision that resulted in criticism of Mr. Vance.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

Ben Protess covers the Trump administration, including its overhaul of Obama-era regulations and potential conflicts of interest arising out of the president’s personal business dealings. He previously covered white-collar crime, Wall Street lobbying and the private equity industry. @benprotess

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @WRashbaum  Facebook

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China: France to implement ‘national decisions’ on digital tax despite Trump’s threat

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

France to implement ‘national decisions’ on digital tax despite Trump’s threat

Xinhua

French Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, said on Friday that the digital tax on internet giants was “a national decision” that the government would put on the ground, defying US threat of “a substantial reciprocal action.”

“France will implement its national decisions,” French newspaper Le Figaro quoted Le Maire as saying, in response to US President Donald Trump’s warning.

“The taxation of digital activities is a challenge that concerns all of us. We want to reach an agreement on this issue in the framework of the G7 and the OECD,” Le Maire said.

The French Parliament passed a new law to tax digital giants on July 11, making France one of the first countries to tax “GAFA” companies, namely Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

“If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine,” Trump wrote in his tweet.

The French Digital Services Tax imposes a 3-percent tax on total annual revenues generated by some companies from providing certain digital services to, or aimed at, French users.

The tax applies only to companies with total annual revenues from the covered services of at least 750 million euros (US$834 million) globally and 25 million euros in France.

The tax was initially adopted by France’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on July 4. It is expected to collect 400 million euros this year and 650 million euros by 2022.

Despite a setback in Brussels to reach a European Union-wide taxation, the French government decided to impose the tax at the national level.

In response, the United States Trade Representative announced that it has initiated an investigation against the French law and its impact on US businesses.

The USTR launched the investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, accusing the French government of “unfairly targeting the tax at certain US-based technology companies”. It has been quoting Section 301 in investigating and interfering with foreign countries’ policies.

Section 301 is part of an outdated US trade law adopted in 1974 that allows the US president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions on foreign countries.

Palestinian-Israeli Meeting Fails to Resolve Tax Funds Crisis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Palestinian-Israeli Meeting Fails to Resolve Tax Funds Crisis

Friday, 28 June, 2019 – 11:00
A Palestinian demonstrator takes part in a protest against an Israeli decision to trim funds over prisoner stipends, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on February 19, 2019. (Reuters)
Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat
A new Palestinian-Israeli meeting has failed to end the Palestinian tax revenue crisis.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs and Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said ongoing talks with Israel about the seizure of Palestinian deducted funds did not make any progress.

“I met with the Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Palestinian Minister of Finance Shukri Bshara yesterday(Wednesday) and discussed means to solve the clearance issue,” he tweeted.

“We demanded that Israel release the funds,” he said.

Their meeting at the Israeli Ministry of Finance headquarters in Jerusalem was attended by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon.

Israeli sources said they only discussed economic matters, explaining that it was one of a series of meetings that brought them together in an attempt to reach a solution to the crisis.

Israel wants to reach a settlement in this matter in a way that would prevent the collapse of the PA.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahlon have earlier discussed emergency plans, should the PA’s financial system collapse over its refusal to accept tax dividends collected by Israel.

Israel has tried to transfer large sums of money to the PA, which refuses to accept them without the deducted amounts, leading to a critical financial crisis.

Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and then it transfers the money to the PA.

In February, it decided to deduct around $10 million a month from those revenues, corresponding to the amount it said the PA paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails.

Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds from which unilateral deductions had been made.