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    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

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    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

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CEOs Support Higher Taxes and Debt Solution

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Campaign to Fix the Debt

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in cooperation with former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles has created a “Campaign to Fix the Debt.”

Bowles and Simpson were co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. They proposed a bipartisan budget solution at the request of President Barack Obama.

The CEOs Gather

On October 25, over 100 CEOs gathered at the New York Stock Exchange to support a comprehensive budget solution similar to that proposed by the Bowles-Simpson Commission. One of the commission members was Honeywell Chairman and CEO David Cote. He stated, “The U.S. has an opportunity to not only fix our debt issue and have an economic recovery, but we can also be a model for the world and how to deal with debt. What it really comes down to is if we still have the political will to be a great country.”

Cote continued to emphasize that it is important to develop a comprehensive solution. This solution will include “higher revenue, reduced entitlement spending, reduced discretionary spending, and investment in infrastructure and math and science.”

Congressional Leaders

Congressional leaders from both parties responded to this public proclamation by leaders of many of America’s largest corporations. The Senate Democratic leadership indicated that it believes part of the solution involves tax increases on individuals with higher incomes. House Republican leaders continue to oppose these tax increases.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) observed that it is important for corporate leaders to pay their “fair share” of taxes. He commented, “Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes.” Sanders noted that many large corporations use various tax provisions to reduce their taxes. In his view, this tax reduction has been a factor in the major deficit problems.

Assessment

Maya MacGuineas, Chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, supported this bipartisan effort by the 100 CEOs. She stated, “The collective voice of these business leaders has helped shine a light on the fact that the debt is already affecting Americans where they work and live. We have listened to the CEO Council and heard the consequences of inaction – businesses aren’t investing in an uncertain economy and are slowing job growth to protect their employees. With the CEOs’ backing and the support of the over 280,000 person Grassroots Network, we believe we can successfully push for a comprehensive debt reduction deal.”

Editor’s Note: It is unusual for a bipartisan group of business leaders to be so public in support of both a budget solution and higher taxes. This willingness to place both spending and tax increases on the table is significant.

Conclusion

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Is There a Six Month Deferral for the Fiscal Cliff?

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The Budget Control Act of 2011

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

Speaking in Chicago last week, Senate Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) proposed a change in the plan to reduce spending starting January 1, 2013. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, substantial spending cuts in both defense and Medicare providers will commence on that date. These cuts together with potential tax increases have been described as a “fiscal cliff” that could send the nation back into recession.

Spending Cuts

The spending cuts are required because the Joint Congressional Committee in 2011 was unable to agree on a budget and tax plan. The anticipated spending cuts are designed to reduce costs by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

Sen. Durbin proposes delaying the spending cuts for a term of six months. The Budget Control Act would be modified to allow the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee an opportunity to develop a new plan.

Under Durbin’s proposal, the two committees must submit bills by June of 2013. The plans must total $4 trillion in budget savings. There would be $1.33 trillion in increased taxes and $2.67 trillion in budget reductions.

Assessment

Following hearings by both committees, the bill would need to be submitted to a conference committee. After passage by both the House and the Senate, the $4 trillion plan could be signed by the President. If all of those steps were completed by June 30, 2013, the mandatory budget cuts would not take place. They would be replaced by the agreements for tax increases and budget cuts in the new law.

Editor’s Note: The mandatory budget reductions in defense and Medicare take effect in 2013 because the Joint Congressional Committee was unable to agree on the balance of tax increases and budget reductions. There will be an opportunity for enacting new tax and budget provisions in the November session following the elections. Because the time is quite short for writing major legislation, many Senators and Representatives would like to defer action to 2013. However, there is a general reluctance to agree on the level of tax increases and budget reductions necessary for a compromise bill.

Conclusion

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The Tax Foundation Reviews the Presidential Candidates’ Tax Proposals

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Goals for Sound Tax Policy

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation states that its goals for sound tax policy include, “simplicity, neutrality, transparency and stability.”

The Review

It published a review on September 6, 2012 of three different major tax proposals. The review discussed the tax proposals of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the proposals of President Obama and the proposals of Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. The nonpartisan Tax Commission attempted to provide an objective comparison of the three proposals. It discussed proposals for income tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax and gas tax for each plan.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform produced a plan in December of 2010. With nine Democrats and nine Republicans on the committee, the plan received 11 of 18 votes. However, it did not receive a sufficiently large majority to be submitted for a vote by the House and Senate.

The plan is commonly described as the “Simpson-Bowles” plan after the Republican and Democratic Co-Chairs of the Commission.

The “Simpson-Bowles” Plan

Simpson-Bowles proposes a 28% top rate on personal income taxes. Capital gains and corporations would also be taxed at 28%. Corporations would not pay tax on earnings overseas. The alternative minimum tax would be repealed. Taxes on gasoline would be increased from 18 cents to 23 cents per gallon.

With the reduction in the top income tax rate, most credits and deductions would be greatly limited. There would be a child credit, an earned income tax credit, a limited deduction for mortgage interest and deductions for health and retirement plans.

The principal goal of Simpson-Bowles is to reduce spending to 21% of gross domestic product (GDP) and to raise taxes to that same level. Simpson-Bowles is projected to balance the budget by 2037.

The Tax Foundation

The Tax Foundation study of proposals by President Obama covered many of the same areas. The top income tax rate would be set at 39.6%. Long-term capital gains are taxed at 30% under the “Buffett Rule.” Dividends are potentially taxed at the top rate of 39.6% plus the 3.8% additional tax under the Affordable Care Act. Corporate taxes for both U.S. and foreign profits are 28%. The alternative minimum tax is retained with the “Buffett Rule” level of 30%.

President Obama proposes retaining most credits and deductions with some technical changes. The benefit of deductions for the upper income brackets of 39.6% and 36% would be limited to the tax savings in the 28% bracket.

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney proposes a top income tax rate of 28%. Capital gains would continue to be taxed at 15% and dividends at 15%. Corporate tax rates would be reduced to 25%, and foreign income would not be taxed. There would be substantial limits on credits and deductions. There would be limited deductions for home mortgage, charitable gifts, retirement plans and health plans. The alternative minimum tax would be repealed. Candidate Romney’s plans are projected to balance the budget by 2020.

Editor’s Note: This nonpartisan review by Dr. McBride and the Tax Foundation is offered as an educational service to our readers. Your editor and this organization take no position on the specific provisions that are involved. Our readers should recognize that with the complexity of our tax system, the comparison by Dr. McBride involves review of extensive information and a number of judgments on the various proposals.

Conclusion

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Wind Energy Alternate Investments

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Calm or Gusty?

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

The Energy Department released the “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report” this week. It noted that there was substantial growth for wind energy, but significant uncertainty about its future.

Federal Aviation Administration

In a parallel development this week, the Federal Aviation Administration issued tentative approval of Cape Wind, a planned wind farm off the shore of Cape Cod and Nantucket Island. The 130 wind turbines of Cape Wind will stand 440 feet tall. The wind farm is opposed by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

However, the FAA approved the wind farm and noted that the towers would be required to include appropriate lights and be painted in colors that made them more visible to aircrafts. With the FAA approval, the Cape Wind developers may now seek final financing and could receive a 25 year lease from the federal government.

2011 Growth

The energy report on wind technology showed significant growth in 2011. Approximately 6.8 GW (gigawatts) of new wind energy capacity were added in the United States.

Of all the new energy facilities created, wind represented 32% of the total in 2011. However, total wind capacity is now just 3.3% of America’s electricity demand. Cape Wind will be the first major offshore U.S. wind project.

China Rising

The world leader in wind energy is China. The U.S. is now in second place with about 20% of global wind capacity. The states with major commitments to wind energy are Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Assessment

The major concern affecting wind energy in 2013 is the potential loss of federal and state wind tax benefits.

In addition, wind faces substantial competition from natural gas. With the development of “fracking,” natural gas production has substantially increased. With a large new supply of natural gas, there are now sufficient reserves to support the U.S. needs for 100 years. This increased supply reduces the cost of natural gas and makes it more attractive than wind energy.

Conclusion

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The Supreme Court Permits Healthcare Taxation “Penalty”

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On the PP-ACA

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

In 2010 Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A key part of the Act is an individual mandate for health insurance. All individuals must have health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax-penalty.

The Tax Penalty

The tax-penalty starts at the greater of $285 per family or 1% of income in 2014. However, by 2016, the tax-penalty increases to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income, whichever is larger.

Commerce Clause

Many states sued the federal government and asked that the individual mandate be held invalid. While the various courts had different positions on the issue, some federal judges were concerned that requiring a person to purchase insurance could be a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

CJSC John Roberts

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts wrote the opinion for a 5-4 majority in the PPACA case. First, he determined whether or not the Court was prohibited from ruling on the case under the Anti-Injunction Act. He decided that the required payment would be a “penalty” for purposes of that Act and not a tax. Therefore, the Supreme Court could issue a ruling.

Second, Chief Justice Roberts reviewed the powers of government under the Commerce Clause. He agreed with the other four justices opposing PPACA that Congress had the right to regulate commerce, but does not have the right to regulate non-activity. Therefore, requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is not a permitted power under that provision. PPACA could not be approved under the Commerce Clause.

However, Roberts observed that it is permissible for the Court to consider the validity of PPACA under the power of the government to tax. He determined that the individual mandate to purchase insurance or pay a penalty-tax is permitted under that power. Roberts stated, “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.” He carefully approved the use of the power without discussing the appropriateness of PPACA provisions.

Roberts found several reasons for permitting the taxing power. The tax-penalty will be paid when filing IRS Form 1040. As is true with other tax provisions, lower-income individuals are excluded from this tax-penalty. The tax-penalty is part of the Internal Revenue Code and will be collected by the IRS.

Dissenters

The four dissenting Justices would have determined that PPACA fails to meet the requirements of the Commerce Clause and would have invalidated the entire bill.

Editor’s Note: The taxes to pay for PPACA include a new tax on medical devices that will increase costs to individuals and healthcare providers. There also is a new 3.8% Medicare tax. It applies in 2013 to income and capital gains. If the expected post-election tax bill extends the current 15% capital gain rate, then the capital gains tax rate will be 18.8% in 2013. However, if the 15% federal capital gains tax rate is increased to 20%, then the new rate in January of 2013 will be 23.8%. The increase in capital gains rate may influence charitable gifts of appreciated property in 2013.

Conclusion

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Are We Finally Lifting the Secret IRS Veil on Un-Paid Taxes?

The Tax Gap Increases to $450 Billion

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP

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Each year the IRS conducts a survey to determine the amount of unpaid taxes. The “tax gap” is defined as the amount of taxes that are owed by taxpayers but not paid on time.

2006 Results

For the year 2006, revised figures released this week showed that the tax gap increased.  The previous estimate of the 2006 tax gap was $345 billion but it increased to $450 billion. The “net tax gap” is a smaller number that reflects the ability of the IRS to collect some of the unpaid taxes.  When the additional $65 billion in taxes collected later is subtracted from the $450 billion, the net tax gap is $385 billion.  The net tax gap number increased from $290 billion in 2001 to the larger number by 2006.

Tax Compliance Level

The compliance level for taxpayers remains 83.7%.  This indicates that the majority of Americans are continuing to calculate and pay their taxes correctly.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  He responded to the IRS survey by noting,

“This report shows that closing the tax gap needs to be a major focus of tax reform.  An improved tax code that’s simple and fair to all Americans will help close the tax gap, boost our economy and create jobs.”

Editor’s Note: 

Both Sen. Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) have been conducting hearings that will lead to major tax reform in 2013.  For the vast majority of Americans who pay their fair share of taxes, it is beneficial if Baucus and Camp are able to simplify the tax system and reduce the tax gap.  More effective collection of revenue decreases the need to raise taxes on those who are currently paying their fair share.

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Doctors May Save Some Money with These 2011 IRS Tax Changes

A Brief IRS Tax Code Update

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

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In an information letter, the IRS outlined seven specific changes in the 2011 law that will be useful to doctors and all taxpayers filing their tax returns this year. And, some of these 2011 tax law changes may reduce your taxes:

1. Energy Credits – The energy credit was reduced from the $1,500 limit for 2010 to a maximum of $500 for 2011. Up to 10% of qualified expenditures for high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, biomass stoves, energy-efficient windows and doors and other energy improvements will qualify. The 2011 limit is $500. This credit is reduced by previously-taken energy credits and will generally be available for taxpayers who made their first energy improvements in 2011.

2. 2008 Homebuyer Credits – Some purchasers of new homes in 2008 qualified for a first-time homebuyer credit. The credit was essentially an interest-free loan to be paid back over 15 years. For these taxpayers, the second repayment of the credit amount will apply for 2011.

3. Capital Gains and Losses – Previously, capital gains and losses were recorded on Schedule D. There is a new Form 8949 to report gains and losses. Schedule D will still be used for a summary of capital gains and losses.

4. Roth Conversions – Those individuals who converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2011 must report their taxable income. In previous years, only half of the income was reported each year for two years. However, for 2011 conversions the full amount is reportable.

5. Standard Mileage Rates – The standard mileage rates changed on July 1 for business use, medical travel, moving or charitable services. For the first half of 2011, the rates are business travel at 51 cents, medical and moving travel at 19 cents, and charitable travel at 14 cents per mile. For July 1 through the end of the year, business travel is 55.5 cents, medical and moving travel at 23.5 cents and charitable travel remains 14 cents per mile.

6. Alternative Minimum Tax Exemption – The AMT exemption for 2011 will be $74,450 for a married couple, $37,225 for married persons filing separately and $48,450 for single person or heads of household.

7. Health Insurance – Generally, self employed persons who operate a small business will qualify for deduction of health insurance premiums.

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