Best of 2009: Tax

In a year when corporate profits took a beating, Congress and the IRS provided tax relief for companies with reported net operating losses.

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It was a nice holiday surprise. Last November, at the behest of Congress, the Internal Revenue Service issued rules allowing companies to look back five years — before the financial crisis took hold — and offset taxable income from those “good” years with net operating losses from 2008 and 2009. The news helped offset other, less-pleasant tax developments last year.

In May, for example, the 2009 CFO State Tax Survey indicated that executives expected state tax authorities to step up their efforts to bolster state coffers. In August a federal appeals court sided with the IRS in its pursuit of certain Textron Inc. tax accrual papers. Observers worried that the decision would embolden tax authorities to be more aggressive in seeking company work papers.

We reported in September that foreign tax authorities were taking a more-aggressive approach to transfer pricing. And at the end of the year, experts told CFO that a legislative proposal aimed at tax dodgers could squeeze the credit markets in the coming year.

We wrote about these and other tax-related issues in 2009. The following is a selection of our coverage:


The Tax Men Cometh


Beset by plunging revenues, states step up their pursuit of corporate taxes.


Bonus Depreciation Is the Tip of the Tax Iceberg


Tax managers will have their hands full working out bonus depreciation schedules, managing tight closes, and accounting for uncertain tax positions.


Import Duties: Bend Me, Shape Me, Any Way You Want Me


Small and midsize businesses can use the same customs-duty strategies large multinationals use.


How Much Should You Reveal to the IRS?


Textron has spent three years fighting the IRS over access to tax accrual work papers that would, among other things, tell the agency exactly how confident the company was in its ability to prevail in any tax challenges.


How to Get on the Same Page as the Taxman


More companies are looking to make deals with tax authorities on transfer-pricing terms to avoid unexpected penalties, tax advisers report.


Ford’s Poison Pill Prevents Tax Losses


The automaker tries to discourage investors from triggering a technical change of ownership in the company that would cause it to lose $19 billion in net operating loss carryforwards.


Where’s the Cash? Look Behind You


A new law gives corporations a chance to apply net operating losses to income generated in good years, going back to 2003.


Transfer Pricing: A World of Pain


China, India, and other once tax-friendly domains look to squeeze U.S.-based multinationals on sales between subsidiaries.


A Tax Gift for the Holidays


For many companies, the new NOL-carryback rules could help make a bright end to a bleak year.


Hunting Tax Dodgers, Hitting Banks


A proposal to deter offshore tax evasion could keep some foreign banks away from U.S. capital markets.


Veritas Scores a Major Transfer Pricing Victory


The tax court sides with the software company against the IRS.

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