Extra Extra : Tax fraud

Politically active 'social welfare' nonprofits get IRS approval with cash, connections

The Sunlight Foundation reports that in the wake of Citizens United, tax-exempt social welfare groups, 501(c)4 organizations, have becoming increasingly popular as conduits for big, anonymous campaign donations. A survey by the Sunlight Foundation found dozens of groups in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia that appear to benefit Republican and Democratic politicians, despite being set up as social welfare nonprofits that according to tax code most benefit whole communities. The Sunlight Foundation also reports "plenty of evidence that a group's ability to operate as a tax exempt organization has less to do with its political persuasion ...

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America's worst charities collect $1 billion for corporate fundraisers

Hundreds of charities now operate, not to help the needy, but to turn donations made to paralyzed veterans, dying children and cancer victims into profit for private fundraising companies. An investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting, CNN and the Tampa Bay Times revales that the top 50 worst charities collected more than $1 billion used for corporate fundraisers.

CIR and the Tampa Bay Times published reports today. CNN will air broadcast reports on June 13 during the AC360 show at 8 pm and 10 pm ET.

Google's UK tax structure in question

Today, Reuters released two articles about Google and the company’s tax structure in the UK:

From 2006 to 2011, Google generated $18 billion in revenues from the UK and paid just $16 million in taxes. Google defends its low tax bills by saying it does not have a British tax presence, because its sales to the UK are made by staff in Ireland. A Reuters examination of Google’s activities raises questions about that. Our reporting reveals many employee roles located in Britain that actually target, negotiate and close sales of Google’s advertising products to its customers. Also ...

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Millions of leaked documents reveal impact of offshore secrecy

Dozens of journalists working for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism sorted through millions of leaked records that "lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways." 

International Consortium of Investigative Journalism reports that key findings include: 

  • Government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.
  • The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not ...
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Extra Extra Roundup: Tax delinquency, wrongful foreclosure, false confessions and school abuse

Center for Investigative Reporting
VA’s ability to quickly provide benefits plummets under Obama
“Internal VA documents, obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting and authenticated by the agency, reveal that delays newly returning veterans face before receiving disability compensation and other benefits are far longer than the agency has publicly acknowledged. The documents also offer insight into some of the reasons for those delays.”

The Houston Chronicle
Pasadena Superfund site's owner indicted, missing
“In reality, prosecutors said, he is a polluter responsible for a 17-acre disaster - hundreds of dumpsters and concrete tanks vaporizing hazardous chemicals into the air ...

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Yahoo, Dell arrangements reveal role of Netherlands as tax haven

Yahoo! Inc. has taken advantage of Dutch laws to quietly funnel millions of dollars to island subsidiaries, Bloomberg News reports, which has cut its worldwide tax bill. The computer maker Dell has used the law to avoid roughly $4 billion in income taxes since 2004. Bloomberg reports that the arrangements demonstrate how the Netherlands have become one of the most important tax havens for multinational companies, and that Dutch parliament is debating the fairness of the country's tax system.

Extra Extra Monday: Student debt, river debates, lead contamination and opiate addictions

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Wrong-Way River
“Biologists predict the number of unwanted organisms moving on the Chicago canal will only grow until the waterway is somehow plugged. And it is much more than a Great Lakes problem because biological pollution travels both directions on this invasive species superhighway.”

The Morning Call
Amazon warehouse workers fight for unemployment benefits
“Its relationship with Amazon has made Integrity Staffing Solutions the biggest temporary-employment firm in the Lehigh Valley and one of the fastest-growing agencies of its kind in the country. Part of its role is fighting to keep its workers from collecting unemployment ...

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Amazon creates billion-dollar tax shield

An examination of accounts filed by 25 Amazon units in six countries show how the company has avoided paying more tax in the United States, where it's based, according to a report from Reuters. Reuters writes that Amazon, in effect, used inter-company payments to form a tax shield behind which it has accumulated $2 billion. Last year, it was announced that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service was seeking $1.5 billion in back taxess, which Amazon said it would "vigorously contest."

Washington Post exposes secretive deals, billions in unexplained property tax reductions

In an ongoing series, The Washington Post's Debbie Cenziper and Nikita Stewart identified $2.6 billion in unexplained property tax reductions, made through secretive, back-room deals, for hundreds of influential developers in Washington, D.C. The third installment today found that the District's new chief appraiser had been dogged by similar allegations at his last job in Atlanta, where steep tax reductions were awarded to a mall and mansion owned by Lee Najjar, also known as “Big Poppa,” a well-known developer mentioned on the reality series, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Today's story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com ...

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Crooks using SSA’s Death Master File to claim recently deceased children

“The Internal Revenue Service — citing data it is making public for the first time at the request of Scripps Howard News Service — estimates that tax filers improperly submitted 350,000 returns on dead Americans this tax season, improperly seeking $1.25 billion in refunds.

Parents who recently lost a child are increasingly targeted by these thieves, experts say. Armed with the deceased child’s Social Security number and other personal information, the crooks falsely claim them as dependents and have the refunds routed to them.”