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House panel urges prosecution for ex-IRS official in Tea Party case

Lerner prepares to deliver an opening statement to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in WashingtonBy Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee has asked the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution for a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service official who played a key role in last year's Tea Party scandal at the IRS. By a vote of 23-14 along party lines, the Republican-led Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The request was submitted in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. Lerner triggered the IRS scandal last year when, answering a planted question from the audience at a legal conference, she issued a public apology in which she said the IRS had engaged in "inappropriate" targeting of political groups with the words "Tea Party" and other conservative terms in their names.

IRS whistleblower payouts down, critics say program too slow

A woman walks out of the Internal Revenue Service building in New YorkBy Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service reported it made progress last year in rewarding tax whistleblowers with a few big cash payouts, but critics said the tax agency is still struggling to act quickly on informants' tips. For the fiscal year ended September 30, the IRS said late last week that it paid whistleblowers $53.1 million, down from $125.4 million in 2012; The whistleblower program is aimed at encouraging people who know about tax evasion by companies or individuals to step forward and alert the IRS. Critics have long complained that the program moves too slowly and is inadequately funded, making would-be whistleblowers reluctant to file claims.

SandRidge MLP tax request snared by IRS ’pause’

Grubert, Executive Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategy for SandRidge Energy, speaks to guest and investors in New YorkBy Anna Driver NEW YORK (Reuters) – SandRidge Energy Inc's letter asking the Internal Revenue Service whether its water disposal business would qualify as tax-free for inclusion in a master limited partnership (MLP) has been caught up in the agency's pause of such reviews. "That process has started and there was the pause," Duane Grubert, SandRidge's head of investor relations, said at the OGIS energy conference in New York on Monday. SandRidge is exploring ways, including forming an MLP, to unlock the value of its oilfield water disposal business it estimates is worth around $1 billion. Oil and gas wells in the Mississippi Lime, a rock formation where SandRidge and other companies including Chesapeake Energy Corp operate, produce a large amount of water in the drilling process that is disposed of underground.

Tax proposal to help live theater brings out stars

FILE - This Jan. 19, 2012 file photo shows a Broadway street sign in New York's Times Square. Live commercial theater from Broadway to Los Angeles would get a huge financial boost under a change in the federal tax code that’s being championed by such actors as Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Tyne Daly. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s proposal would allow 100 percent of any live theater investment to be deducted up to $15 million per production, whether the eventual show is a hit or a flop, a benefit that is currently being granted to film and TV projects. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)NEW YORK (AP) ‒ Live commercial theater from Broadway to Los Angeles would get a huge financial boost under a change in the federal tax code that's being championed by such actors as Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Tyne Daly.

Italy to present new economic, public finance goals on Tuesday

By Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) – Italy will set new targets for the economy and public finances on Tuesday when the cabinet approves a multi-year plan for presentation to the European Commission, the prime minister’s office said. Premier Matteo Renzi said last week that the Financial and Economic Document (DEF) will cut this year’s economic growth forecast to 0.8 or 0.9 percent, from the 1.1 percent projection made by the previous government of Enrico Letta. The budget deficit target may be revised up slightly to around 2.6 percent of gross domestic product from 2.5 percent, government sources have told Reuters, but will remain well below the European Union’s 3 percent ceiling. The plan should also give some indication of how the government will manage to fund around 10 billion euros of income tax cuts which Renzi has promised will take effect from May, and which will lower government revenues by around 7 billion euros this year.

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