In Face-off With IRS, the Boston Bruins Win Big – Laura Saunders July 7, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET

Hockey team prevails in tax case about deducting cost of meals, a ruling that could have wide impact

The owners of the Boston Bruins, whose players include Patrice Bergeron, above, won a tax case that experts say could have broad implications.

The owners of the Boston Bruins, whose players include Patrice Bergeron, above, won a tax case that experts say could have broad implications. Photo: John Russell/NHLI/Getty Images

​The Boston Bruins ruled the world of professional hockey six years ago when they last won the Stanley Cup. But the team’s victory last week over the Internal Revenue Service will likely resonate far beyond the rink.

In Jacobs v. Commissioner, the owners of the National Hockey League’s Bruins argued the team should be able to deduct 100% of the cost of certain meals they provided to players and staff. Under current law, only 50% of the cost of many business meals is tax-deductible.

The Bruins’s victory has potentially opened up a new tax maneuver for many businesses. Now they may be able to write off twice as much as they thought allowable for meals provided to large groups at business meetings far from company headquarters.

“This decision goes completely for the taxpayer and opens the door to meal deductions that many people assumed weren’t possible,” says Eddie Adkins, national technical leader for employee benefits with accounting firm Grant Thornton.

A spokesman for the IRS, which still has time to appeal the decision, had no comment. A Bruins spokesman said, “We are pleased with the decision.”

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BMW Has Finally Made a Gorgeous Bike That’ll Appeal to Young Riders – BY ALEXANDER GEORGE 09.22.14 | 6:30 AM

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The four designers with their respective one-off creations. BMW 

BMW motorcycles have long been considered chariots for gray-haired commuters and intrepid adventure riders. Yes, the company makes the occasional insane superbike and even built a cruiser for awhile, but the quintessential Beemer (the cars are “Bimmers”) is a globe-trotting workhorse like the R 1200 GS. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But we’re still thrilled that BMW has unleashed the R nineT, the most seductive motorcycle to come out of Bavaria in years, maybe ever. Many props to BMW’s motorcycle design boss Ola Stenegard, a tatted-up Swedish chopper enthusiast. His team has built a brawny, naked bike with retro touches in a bid to attract the younger buyers BMW desperately needs to keep its business growing.

The R nineT nicely balances BMW’s longstanding hallmarks (boxer twin, Paralever shaft drive) with thoroughly modern styling and attitude. The company is planting a flag in territory firmly held by the likes of the Ducati Monster, Triumph Bonneville and the Moto Guzzi V7. And like those bikes, the R nineT looks stunning out of the box. But its beauty lies in the customization potential. The rear pillion is removable of course, and you can adjust the position of the exhaust to suit your tastes. And the rear subframe is held in place with just eight bolts, making it a snap to radically change the bike’s lines from a compact cafe racer to a highway cruiser.

Granted, its $14,900 price tag makes the R nineT a hard sell to young riders with shallow pockets looking for a retro ride, but the bike has garnered a lot of attention from the cruiser and custom scenes, expanding the brand’s base.

For those unconvinced of the R nineT’s ability to appeal to a young, aesthetically minded market, BMW handed four R nineTs to four different bike builders in Japan: Kaichiroh Kurosu of Cherry’s Company, Go Takamine of Brat Style, Shiroh Nakajima of 46 Works, and Hideya Togashi of HIDE Motorcycle. Each builder had six months to make something unique.

Why Japan? “That we were gonna reach out to Japan was always clear,” Stenegard says. “The Japanese scene was always an inspiration to us and the nineT. The guys over there somehow does not seem to buy anything, they just make it themselves. And the level of craftmanship is astonishing!” After drafting up a dream list of Japanese custom builders, BMW sent out the offer to their favorite bike guys. Beyond Stenegard’s expectations, all of them accepted.

Stenegard’s reaction to finally seeing what they had done to his creation: “Overwhelmed. Beyond overwhelmed! I could only drop to my knees in awe!”

Click through the gallery above to see the results.


IRS officials don’t recall physical damage to Lerner’s hard drive – By Bernie Becker – 08/11/14 07:21 PM EDT

A pair of IRS technicians said under oath that they tried unsuccessfully to recover data from former agency official Lois Lerner’s hard drive, according to new court documents released Monday.

Neither technician said they saw any sign of physical damage on the hard drive, painting a similar picture to what IRS official have been saying for months — that Lerner’s computer crashed on its own in 2011, leaving missing an untold number of her emails over a two-year span.

Lerner, who apologized in May 2013 for the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups, is the central figure in that controversy.

The IRS employees made the statements in response to a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog that has sought a wide range of Lerner’s emails as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

In July, Judge Emmet Sullivan of U.S. District Court in Washington gave the IRS a month to detail why it can’t recover all of Lerner’s emails, and ordered the agency and Judicial Watch to work with another judge to try to recover missing emails.

Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said the filings fell far short of what the group was expecting.

“This latest IRS filing seems to treat as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order requiring the IRS to produce details about Lois Lerner’s ‘lost’ emails and any efforts to retrieve and produce them to Judicial Watch as required under law,” Fitton said in a statement. “Frankly, it seems the cover-up continues.”

The filings tell a similar story to court documents released last month as part of a separate lawsuit filed by another conservative organization, True the Vote.

IRS officials said in those filings that Lerner’s hard drive was wiped clean and destroyed in 2011, a standard procedure to protect confidential taxpayer information. The agency added that it generally doesn’t put serial numbers on individual hard drives, but received the serial number for Lerner’s from an outside contractor.

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The media ignore IRS scandal – Paul L. Caron 7:59 p.m. EDT May 12, 2014

 We need to get to the bottom of it by giving Lois Lerner full immunity in exchange for her testimony.

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The timeline of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups reveals nothing less than a scandal. It is a scandal that blew into public view a year ago this week and about which the press has been far from curious.

In 2009, the president of the United States commented in a commencement address that the IRS would soon be auditing the president of the university and the Board of Regents for refusing to grant him an honorary degree. Supporters of the president dismissed critics who worried that the “joke” was a “dog whistle” intended to declare open season on the president’s political opponents.

In January 2010, the president in his State of the Union Address publicly berated the six Supreme Court justices in attendance for their decision inCitizens United, which held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and labor unions.

In the wake of Citizens United, many political groups formed in opposition to the president applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which does not require the disclosure of donors. Senators of the president’s party called on the IRS to investigate these groups.

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Fewer taxpayers face IRS audits – By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 4/13/14 8:26 AM EDT

WASHINGTON — As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday’s tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years.

Budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to police tax returns. This year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s.

Taxpayer services are suffering, too, with millions of phone calls to the IRS going unanswered.

“We keep going after the people who look like the worst of the bad guys,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an interview. “But there are going to be some people that we should catch, either in terms of collecting the revenue from them or prosecuting them, that we’re not going to catch.”

Better technology is helping to offset some budget cuts.

If you report making $40,000 in wages and your employer tells the IRS you made $50,000, the agency’s computers probably will catch that. The same is true for investment income and many common deductions that are reported to the IRS by financial institutions.

But if you operate a business that deals in cash, with income or expenses that are not independently reported to the IRS, your chances of getting caught are lower than they have been in years.

Last year, the IRS audited less than 1 percent of all returns from individuals, the lowest rate since 2005. This year, Koskinen said, “The numbers will go down.”

Koskinen was confirmed as IRS commissioner in December. He took over an agency under siege on several fronts.

Last year, the IRS acknowledged agents improperly singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012. The revelation has led to five ongoing investigations, including three by congressional committees, and outraged lawmakers who control the agency’s budget.

The IRS also is implementing big parts of President Barack Obama’s health law, including enforcing the mandate that most people get health insurance. Republicans in Congress abhor the law, putting another bull’s-eye on the agency’s back.

The animosity is reflected in the IRS budget, which has declined from $12.1 billion in 2010 to $11.3 billion in the current budget year.

Obama has proposed a 10 percent increase for next year; Republicans are balking.

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