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Jitters over possible intervention in Syria and the rising cost of mortgages are seen as factors contributing to a decline in U.S. consumer confidence last week as measured by the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The latest drop is the fourth in a row as consumers feel additionally burdened by "geopolitical tail risks emanating from the Middle East, the lagged impact of tax hikes and gasoline prices, and slower overall growth and job gains," said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.
On Thursday, the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations that would change the tax treatment of certain research and development expenditures incurred by a company in developing a product. Among other things, the IRS is proposing to no longer disqualify research expenditures just because the resulting product is subsequently sold to a customer.
Participants at the eighth Group of 20 summit meeting are expected to enact a tax regime that would limit the ability of multinationals to structure operations to avoid paying national taxes. A draft of the tax agreement was endorsed by the G-20 in July. Actually putting in place these rules, though, will take years.
The Internal Revenue Service could be allowing as much as $69.4 million remain uncollected by not following up on additional returns by underpaying taxpayers, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The study looked at a sample of audits in which taxpayers had understated their tax bill. It then looked at returns filed in other years by those taxpayers, and found similar problems, and that the IRS failed to follow up on most of them.