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  Tax - Legal News


President Donald Trump’s tax returns can be turned over to New York prosecutors by his personal accountant, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, leaving the last word to the Supreme Court

The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upholds a lower court decision in the ongoing fight over Trump’s financial records. Trump has refused to release his tax returns since he was a presidential candidate, and is the only modern president who hasn’t made that financial information public.

In a written decision, three appeals judges said they only decided whether a state prosecutor can demand Trump’s personal financial records from a third party while the president is in office.

The appeals court said it did not consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office or whether the president himself may be ordered to produce documents in a state criminal proceeding.

According to the decision, a subpoena seeking Trump’s private tax returns and financial information relating to businesses he owns as a private citizen “do not implicate, in any way, the performance of his official duties.”

Several weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan tossed out Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block his accountant from letting a grand jury see his tax records from 2011.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. sought the records in a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied them.


President Donald Trump’s lawyers are saying they’ll immediately go to the Supreme Court if an appeals court in New York says his tax returns can be released to state prosecutors.

The lawyers notified the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan Tuesday that they’ll need time to appeal if the 2nd Circuit rules against them.

The appeals court is hearing the challenge to a judge’s ruling tossing out Trump’s challenge to a subpoena of his tax returns since 2011. The records were sought from Trump’s accounting firm for a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Oct. 23. A ruling would be likely soon afterward. A spokesman for Vance declined comment.

EU court: Dutch tax deal with Starbucks is legal

  Tax  -   POSTED: 2019/09/24 21:00

A European Union court overturned Tuesday a ruling by the European Commission that a tax deal between the Dutch government and Starbucks amounted to illegal state support for the coffee giant.

Dutch authorities had clawed back 25.7 million euros ($28 million) from the multinational following the 2015 ruling by the EU's executive.

The court's findings in appeals by the Dutch state and Starbucks against the 2015 ruling could have implications for EU efforts to crack down on favorable tax deals offered by some member states to multinational companies.

In its decision on the appeals, the General Court of the European Union said the commission "was unable to demonstrate the existence of an advantage in favor of Starbucks."

Starbucks and Dutch State Secretary for Finances Menno Snel welcomed the ruling. "This judgment means that the tax service did not treat Starbucks better or differently from other companies," Snel said in a written statement.


A dispute over business tax credits between New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and political powerbroker George Norcross is set to play out in a hearing before a Superior Court judge.

Attorneys for the Democratic governor and insurance brokerage and hospital executive are to appear before Judge Mary Jacobson Monday.

Norcross sued Murphy over a task force Murphy set up this year to investigate business tax credits. Norcross says the panel illegally exercised subpoena power.

Norcross sued Murphy after a task force hearing in May that raised questions about how firms tied to Norcross got tax credits.

Monday’s hearing is expected to cover Norcross’ attempt at stopping the task force from issuing a report and holding a third public hearing. The task force agreed to delay meeting until after Monday’s hearing.



The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday upheld a car rental tax surcharge that’s imposed in Maricopa County to pay for building a professional football stadium and other sports and recreational facilities, marking the second time an appeals court has ruled the tax is legal.

Car rental companies had challenged the surcharge on the grounds that it violated a section of the Arizona Constitution that requires revenues relating to the operation of vehicles to be spent on public highways.

A lower-court judge had ruled in favor of the rental companies four years, saying the surcharge violated the constitutional provision and ordering a refund of the tax estimated at about $150 million to the companies.

But the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the decision last spring. The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday echoed the Court of Appeals’ ruling.

The surcharge partially funds the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, an agency that uses the money to help pay off bonds for the stadium in Glendale where the Arizona Cardinals play, along with baseball spring training venues and youth sports facilities. The rest of the authority’s revenue comes from a hotel bed tax and payments for facilities usage.

The surcharge is charged on car rental companies, but the costs are passed along to customers.

Attorney Shawn Aiken, who represented Saban Rent-A-Car Inc. in the case, said in a statement that the challengers will evaluate in the coming weeks whether to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.


The Arizona Supreme Court is scheduled to release a decision Monday in a challenge of a car rental tax surcharge imposed in Maricopa County to pay for building a football stadium and other sports and recreational facilities.

The state’s highest court said last year that it would review a lower court’s ruling that concluded the surcharge is legal.

Attorneys for car rental companies had argued that a constitutional provision meant the surcharge revenue can be used only to build and maintain roads.

The surcharge partially funds the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. The agency uses the money to help pay off bonds for the stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play, along with baseball spring training venues and youth sports facilities.


The Supreme Court seemed inclined Monday to side with a retired U.S. marshal who argues West Virginia is discriminating against former federal law enforcement officers like him by giving a more generous tax break to former state law enforcement officers.

James Dawson says West Virginia currently exempts the vast majority of state law enforcement retirees — including police and firefighters — from paying income tax on their retirement benefits. But retired U.S. Marshals Service employees like him don't get that perk. Dawson has to pay income tax on his retirement benefits except for the first $2,000 annually, which is tax free.

Dawson says federal law prohibits West Virginia from taxing his retirement income more heavily than it taxes the retirement income of those who did a similar job working for the state.

During arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday, both conservative and liberal justices seemed more willing to side with Dawson. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked West Virginia's attorney Lindsay See why looking at the text of the federal law wasn't "game over," ending the case in Dawson's favor. And Justice Stephen Breyer listed a number of those getting better tax treatment than Dawson.

"It's not just the state police. It's also the local police. It's everybody in law enforcement almost. And they can get into it and the feds can't. Why isn't that just the end of it?" Breyer said.

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