Tag Archives: taxes

Obama Publicly Discloses Tax Returns, Asks to Pay More

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In an effort to get across his ideology on the national tax system, President Obama released his 2011 federal tax returns late last week. In the published documents, it is shown that the Obamas paid 20.5% in taxes on a total income of $789,674. 

In such light, Obama continues to advocate for higher taxation policies for the wealthiest Americans. He is also persistent in doing away with laws that have allowed millionaires to pay lower taxes. Such include laws President George W. Bush implemented that limited taxes on capital gains and investment retuns to 15%.

Obama further cited Warren Buffet’s statement that he paid lower rate taxes than his secretary. The President has thus proposed the “Buffett Rule”, which would require families earning $2 million to pay 30% in taxes.

Republicans have countered this by stating that such a law would not have applied to Obama this year. Also, they reasoned that individuals like Obama could “pay extra tax voluntarily”.

In the meantime, representatives from the Obama campaign have publicly scrutinized Romney for not having disclosed his federal tax returns yet. However, a spokesperson for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee assured he will do so “prior to the election”.

U.K. Trying to Eliminate Tax Breaks for Millionaires

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Chancellor George Osborne wants to limit tax breaks for millionaires who make substantial donations to charities. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, claims that many multimillionaires are donating to charities to simply “wipe out” their income tax bills.

Osborne was reportedly “shocked” by the number of people who donate in order to receive a substantial tax break. The Chancellor was shown official reports this week from some of the richest people in the country, which showed the number of loopholes some of these millionaires are using.

Many charities are not happy with the efforts to stop these millionaires. Donations are considerably down, and some of these non-profits are already suffering during these economic times. 1,800 charities, including Unicef, have signed a petition which was organized by the Charities Aid Foundation to stop the changes.

Universities, such as Cambridge University, are also concerned about their funds decreasing. Cambridge describes charitable donations as the “bedrock” of their funding.

Some of the millionaires, such as Lord Harris of Peckham, claim that they will give less to charities if these changes are made. Sir Tom Hunter called the move “stupid” on the government’s part.

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Payroll Tax Battle Continues, But Gives Obama Political Lift

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President Obama has received a political lift after House Republicans have refused to come to an agreement on payroll taxes.  The House Republicans have even received accusations from leading conservatives that they are mishandling the issue.

At stake is the continued payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and aid for long-term unemployed Americans.  These payroll tax cuts will expire on Dec. 31.

While Republicans are receiving the criticism for this latest blunder, Obama could be hurt if the tax breaks and jobless aid are not extended.  Also, the ugliness of the current state in Washington is reminding Americans of Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to make Washington work.

A 10-minute phone conversation between Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner did not go well.  Obama had asked Boehner to approve of the compromise two-month extension that Senate Democrats and Republicans had overwhelmingly approved earlier.  The House Republicans rejected the compromise and demanded negotiations toward a full-year measure that would keep most workers’ Social Security payroll tax at 4.2 percent, which is down from the current 6.2.

Boehner has reiterated time and time again that House Republicans want a full-year extension.  Neither the president nor the Senate has supported this notion due to unrelated provisions added and because it would cut unemployment aid.

 

Obama Health Care Law Upheld

President Obama’s latest reform of health care law requires all American citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty on taxes.  The constitutionality of the law was upheld on Tuesday by an appeals court.  The case is being prepared to pass on to the Supreme Court this week.

The law was upheld and turned over to Supreme Court ruling because the appeals court for the District of Columbia remained split on the issue, thus leaving it at a stalemate and making it the problem of a higher ruling.

The law is set to commence in the year 2014.  Seattle Times reports it is “the most controversial requirement of Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement” and it is a central issue splitting judges across the country.

The law’s constitutionality was challenged by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group originally founded by Pat Robertson, an evangelist.  The group made the claim that the law infringed upon American citizens’ freedom of religion, as the legislation’s mandate forces those who do not believe in medicine and science to buy a product that goes against their beliefs.  It also forces Americans in general to buy something for the rest of their lives regardless of whether they want to or not.

Upon the court’s ruling, the statement released said Congress had the power to pass such legislation to ensure all Americans have health care coverage, even if it encroaches on individual liberties.  The argument is that freedom from federal regulation is not absolute and that if the government has the chance to make national solutions for national problems then the violation of certain freedoms is acceptable.

One judge, Brett Kavanaugh, argues it is unlawful to review the health care legislation as it has yet to pass.  He feels it should not be brought to court before its initiation in 2014.  Regardless of such feelings, some, like Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the group that brought the suit to begin with, believe the law will ultimately be ruled as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Tax Rebate for ‘Jersey Shore’ in Home State

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The legislators of New Jersey are extremely angry over a tax rebate given to the first season of “Jersey Shore.”

New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority is giving the show a $420,000 tax rebate.  The state currently has a legislative program where rebates are given to shows and films that have at least 50% of their production expenses in New Jersey.

Many are upset that the show got the rebate because most disagree with the content on the show.

“The governor’s opinions about ‘Jersey Shore’ and its New Yorker cast are well-known,” Gov. Chris Christie’s office said. “They are phonies and the show is a false portrayal of New Jersey and our shore communities. He has also been clear about his belief that film tax-credit programs are not the most effective way to spur economic growth throughout the state.”

However, content is not taken into consideration when issuing out the rebate.

“There is no discrimination [for] content unless it’s considered pornographic or obscene,” Erin Gold, a spokeswoman for the developmental authority, said.  “We just administer the program.”

Despite this, not all are angry with the rebate, including Seaside Heights Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey.  He sees the show as boosting the economy.

The outrage against this is a bit silly though, because no one has the rights to veto the funding, and with the show going into it’s fifth season, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.

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