EU agrees on system to tackle tax evasion — Oversight wants Lerner details from DOJ — Schumer weighs Wall Street relationship
EU AGREES ON SYSTEM TO TACKLE TAX EVASION. The Associated Press has the story, “European Union nations on Thursday agreed on a sweeping policy to fight tax evasion after tiny Luxembourg dropped its reservations to new rules which render its secretive banking culture more transparent. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel confirmed at Thursday’s summit of EU leaders ‘the willingness of the government to take that road,’ a key step to scrap the banking secrecy for foreigners.”
“The legislation proposes an EU-wide automatic exchange of data on bank deposits to allow governments to identify and pursue tax evaders with foreign accounts on home soil. Van Rompuy said it would ‘close down loopholes, promote automatic information exchange to bring in transparency.’” http://wapo.st/1g6XGR9
SCHUMER WEIGHS WALL STREET RELATIONSHIP. Manu Raju and Ben White report, “Sen. Chuck Schumer swung by the 50th floor of Nasdaq’s Wall Street headquarters last month to schmooze with deep-pocketed donors who poured thousands of dollars into the New York Democrat’s campaign coffers. During the breakfast fundraiser there was one thing left unsaid, but something virtually everyone wanted to know: Whether Schumer will seek the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee next Congress.”
“It’s an issue of intense interest in New York and Washington and one fraught with major implications for both Wall Street and the three-term Democrat’s political future. The choice will signify whether Schumer is aiming to recast his political career as Capitol Hill’s chief policymaker for his home-state industry — or is instead seeking to position himself as the next leader of a Senate Democratic Caucus that has railed against the excesses of Wall Street. And for the financial industry, it may mean having a chairman with a friendly ear — like Schumer — versus one who has gone to battle with the big banks, likely Sherrod Brown of Ohio.” http://politi.co/1nHP745
OVERSIGHT WANTS LERNER DETAILS FROM DOJ. The Wall Street Journal’s John McKinnon reports, “House Republicans on Thursday asked the Justice Department to turn over information concerning an interview a former top Internal Revenue Service official gave to prosecutors in recent months, while she was declining to answer GOP lawmakers’ questions. The official, Lois Lerner, is at the center of a controversy over IRS targeting of conservative tea party groups for special scrutiny.
Republicans are unhappy that Ms. Lerner gave Justice Department prosecutors a full interview on the matter while refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions. The new letter from Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to Attorney General Eric Holder asks for Justice Department communications about the Lerner interview, but stops short of demanding the interview transcript. That’s apparently because the investigation is ongoing.” http://on.wsj.com/1l8DTnB
UP NEXT FOR SOME PSI SCRUTINY: CATERPILLAR. Richard Rubin and Jesse Drucker write for Bloomberg, “A U.S. Senate investigative panel is examining Caterpillar Inc. and whether the company improperly avoided U.S. taxes by moving profits outside the country, said three people familiar with the inquiry. The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing in early April, said two of the people. They spoke on condition of anonymity before an official announcement.” http://buswk.co/1ikoZqy
HAPPY FRIDAY! Morning Tax is headed down to Raleigh to cheer on the GW Colonials. #raisehigh. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. And if you want to talk taxes, you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LaurenNFrench. As always, please follow @POLITICOPro and @Morning_Tax.
HOUSE & SENATE: Gone.
‘OPEN MIKE’: Mike Allen visited the offices of Americans for Prosperity for a conversation with President Tim Phillips that ranges from the Koch brothers and Harry Reid, to Obamacare and AFP’s ground game, plus his secret to politics (good hair). WATCH:http://politi.co/1i9newl
BERNIE PULLS JP MORGAN INTO HIS WEB. Our M.J. Lee has the story, “’JPMorgan knew it,’ [Bernie Madoff] said as part of a wide-ranging interview last week at a medium-security prison here, as Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009 to massive investment and securities fraud that devastated thousands of clients.”
JPMorgan Chase served as Madoff’s bank for more than two decades and its role in his infamous Ponzi scheme has been the subject of intense interest to both federal authorities and investors who were victims of his fraud… But a group of shareholders is hoping to prove — with Madoff’s help — that the bank knew more about his shady dealings than it has admitted. Last month, they filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of New York against current and former JPMorgan executives. The complaint alleges that the bank was ‘uniquely positioned for 20 years to see Madoff’s crimes and put a stop to them’ and that top executives “chose to turn a blind eye” to his behavior.”http://politi.co/1phqery
TIGTA WARNS OF NATIONWIDE TAX SCAM. Our Rachael Bade reports, “The largest-ever IRS tax scam is pulsing through the nation in the middle of tax season, an IRS watchdog investigating the matter said on Thursday. Phony IRS impersonators are calling taxpayers demanding hundreds and thousands of dollars in alleged ‘unpaid taxes.’”
“‘This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,’ said J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. ‘Do not become a victim.’”
“The fraudsters have duped people into paying at least $1 million, TIGTA says. They’ve heard reports of at least 20,000 instances. Reports of the scam have popped up around the nation from Delaware to Washington state.