New York sues Sprint for $300 million over alleged tax fraud [updated]

By on April 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM.

New York sues Sprint for $300 million over alleged tax fraud [updated]

New York on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Sprint Nextel Corp looking to collect more than $300 million, Reuters reported. The wireless company is accused of tax fraud for deliberately not collecting or paying more than $100 million in taxes over the past seven years. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed the complaint in the New York State Supreme Court on Thursday. The tax suit, which is the first filed under the state’s False Claims Act, could require Sprint to pay triple the amount it is accused of underpaying. Since 2002, New York state has required mobile phone companies to collect and pay sales taxes for their mobile services. Schneiderman claims Sprint has underpaid and submitted false records since 2005, however, in an alleged effort to undercut its competition and offer cheaper rate plans.

UPDATE: Sprint has issued a statement, which can be found after the break. More →

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Lawmaker launches assault on violent video games

By on February 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM.

Lawmaker launches assault on violent video games

An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed levying a new tax on violent video games. Oklahoma Democrat Will Fourkiller has suggested the tax be applied to all games that receive an ESRB rating, which is intended for adults only. In addition, Fourkiller thinks T-Rated games should also have a tax added to the cost of the games, since some include “simulated gambling.” But a tax on all T-Rated games would be too broad, Ars Technica points out, as there are also titles that are rated T for “cartoon violence, crude humor and suggestive themes.” Read on for more. More →

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Nokia owes Romania $10 million; tax authorities seize assets

By on November 11, 2011 at 8:45 PM.

Nokia owes Romania $10 million; tax authorities seize assets

Nokia’s local assets were seized by Romanian tax authorities on Friday after it was revealed the company’s Romania-based subsidiary owes the government $10 million, Bloomberg said Friday. “We decided to seize the assets as a precautionary measure to prevent Nokia from selling them before they pay their debt to the state,” head of Romania’s tax authority Sorin Blejnar said. “This won’t affect the activity of the factory.” Nokia announced in September that it would close its operations in the country, although the origin of the vendor’s $10 million in debt is unclear. According to Convert News, the debt may be related to bills that Nokia owes for transporting its materials in the country. Nokia has not yet commented publicly on the situation. More →

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House puts 5-year freeze on new mobile taxes with Wireless Tax Fairness Act

By on November 3, 2011 at 7:01 AM.

House puts 5-year freeze on new mobile taxes with Wireless Tax Fairness Act

The United States House of Representatives approved the Wireless Tax Fairness Act on Tuesday, an initiative that prevents new local and state taxes on wireless bills for the next five years. “We need to encourage the development and adoption of wireless broadband, not tax it out of existence,” Representative Zoe Lofgren said. The average tax rate on goods and services in the United States is 7.4% but consumers with wireless contracts pay an average of 16.4% in taxes and fees, WirelessWeek said. “The exorbitant discriminatory taxes on wireless customers are not only unfair, they are counterintuitive, adding another costly impediment to the success of so many American businesses who are struggling in the midst of a prolonged recession,” Representative Trent Franks argued. Read on for more. More →

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Steve Ballmer cashes in 49 million Microsoft shares

By on November 6, 2010 at 8:33 AM.

Steve Ballmer cashes in 49 million Microsoft shares

Microsoft has issued a statement describing Steve Ballmer’s plans to sell up to 75 million shares in order “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning”. A sale this large is bound to ring alarm bells with shareholders, however Ballmer has cleared the air of any brewing conspiracy theories. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” said the Redmond CEO. SEC filings indicate that Steve Ballmer has already sold 49 million shares, making him a cool $1.3 billion. With capital gains tax said to increase to 20 from 15% in January, Steve Ballmer has just saved himself some serious money.
More →

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Microsoft security VP suggests Net tax as cure for spyware problem

By on March 4, 2010 at 9:01 AM.

Microsoft security VP suggests Net tax as cure for spyware problem

spyware

As part of his presentation at the RSA Security Conference currently taking place in San Francisco, Scott Charney, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing, discussed different tactics for combating the scourge of spyware that is infecting computers by the billions. One such proposition applies a health care paradigm to the problem and views spyware as a disease that requires a social program to identify, quarantine, and cure afflicted computers. The bulk of the cost to identify and cure these sick computers would be shouldered by the Internet service providers who could pass this cost onto consumers by presenting the problem as a public safety issue and funding it with general taxation. Would you pay a stupid computer user general tax to help better the Internet and keep it clean or is Microsoft just drunk with success at its recent victory over the Waledac botnet and spewing forth wild and crazy ideas? More →

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Weekend rabble-rousing: Web sales tax bill may end free ride for eBay, others

By on April 19, 2009 at 11:21 AM.

Weekend rabble-rousing: Web sales tax bill may end free ride for eBay, others

The Rockefeller Institute, a research group tied to SUNY, said that sales taxes took a 6.1 percent dive in Q4 of 2008 and Q1 of this year was even worse. Given the current state of the economy of course, this is hardly a surprise. Beyond the obvious reasoning behind the decline — people are losing jobs, making less money and spending less money — the drop may be bad news on another front as it could finally spell the end for the free rides afforded by online shopping. The idea of requiring online retailers to collect sales tax on out-of-state sales has been tossed around over and over again but according to the New York Post, this time around it might just stick. A bill is expected to go before congress as soon as this week that would require online retailers such as Amazon and Overstock, and even the online auction house eBay to collect sales tax on behalf of the state to which items are delivered. This spells certain aggravation for consumers who enjoy saving cash by ordering online and even more so for Internet retailers who will have to implement the new policy.

In New York State where an online sales tax bill was passed last Summer, Web retailers are already in the midst of fighting the new policy. New York’s law now requires any online retailer that advertises on New York-based web sites to collect sales tax when shipping to New York. Amazon and Overstock have both pulled all advertising from websites based in New York in protest.

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