Saturday, October 25, 2014

Death By a Thousand Cuts: The Silent Assassination of European Democracy

Pro Big Corporate IRS: Agency Guts Whistleblower Program

It’s widely known among tax professionals that the US does little in the way of tax enforcement, and the little that it does do is directed against individuals and small businesses. What is not so widely known is how deep the institutional bias is in the IRS in favor of letting big corporate tax cheats get away with it.
Conventional wisdom is similar to the rationalization of weak enforcement at the SEC: that the agency is afraid that if they go after big companies, they’ll have the penalties and fines challenged in court, and they’ll often lose by virtue of being outgunned by better lawyer (yes, Virginia, even if you have a solid case, that doesn’t mean you’ll win at trial). And top tax litigators are among the most highly paid legal talent. I’m not up on current rates, but in the mid 1980s, Sumitomo Bank fought the IRS on a $100 million assessment and won. Their attorney was a solo practitioner who charged $1000 an hour.
It turns out that the picture is vastly worse than that...

Why the SEC’s $30M Whistleblower Award Should Make Banks Nervous American Banker. Nah, one award won’t do it. But a few more might, provided the SEC is also tough about cracking down on wrongful terminations of whistleblowers (which they have the power to do; the SEC is investigating a whistleblower complaint at CalPERS, and it may have more to do with the possible wrongful termination than the underlying conduct).
China’s Rising Wages and the ‘Made in USA’ Revival Business Week