* The AccountantsWorld.com HEADLINE NEWS reported that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson feels the U.S. system for taxing corporations is overly complex and is hurting the country's global competitiveness. The average combined federal-state corporate tax rate stands at 39 percent, compared to an average of 31 percent for other major industrialized countries. Paulson will host a conference at the Treasury Department on July 26 to begin a review of U.S. business taxes and the impact they are having on economic growth and job creation in the United States. Joe Roth at ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATES provides some quotes from businessmen speaking at this conference in his July 27th posting “Loopholes or Lower Rates?”.
* Mark Minassian of BIZ TAX LAW at about.com reports on “How to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Audited”. According to Mark they are (1) file an extension for your return, or (2) file your return by paper and not electronically. I have heard the one about filing an extension before – it has been around for a long time - although I seem to think this is an “old wives tale”. One of the surprisingly few audits I have gone through over the years was for a return that was extended twice. As for filing by paper – no wonder my clients rarely get audited. I file all my federal 1040s by paper – always have and it appears always will.
* While I have, in the past, found errors in and disagreed with items discussed in Sandra Block’s weekly YOUR MONEY column in USA TODAY, I do recommend last Tuesday’s installment “Your Money: Donated Clothes May Not Help Charities”. When donating used clothes and household items to charity you should go with the “old reliables” like Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army, Vietnam Veterans of America or your local church – this way you are sure to be giving your items to a legitimate charity. In many cases the charity will come to you to pick up your donations. And if you are putting your donations in a “drop-off box” make sure the name of the charity is clearly indicated on the box. While these boxes may be convenient it is “more better” to drop off your donation at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army store or donation center, where you can get a signed receipt.
* Kay Bell of DON’T MESS WITH TAXES provides details on the hybrid auto tax credit, ending with a complete list of the eligible vehicles and the corresponding credits, in “Summer Drive and Tax Credit Time Winding Down”.
* WEB CPA WEEK reports that IRS Acting Commissioner Kevin Brown is following his former boss Mark Everson to the American Red Cross. Brown was named Acting Commissioner when former IRS Commissioner Everson left in April to become President and CEO of the Red Cross. Brown will leave the IRS in mid-September to become the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. During Everson’s tenure as IRS Commissioner Brown was his chief of staff. Deputy Commissioner Linda Stiff will replace Brown as Acting IRS Commissioner.