SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES TAX PATENT BAN

Washington, D.C. - The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve bipartisan patent reform legislation, including provisions banning tax strategy patents.The committee vote sent comprehensive patent reform legislation to the full Senate for the third time since 2008. The American Institute of CPAs and other groups have urged Congress to preserve a provision in the bill that would prohibit patents on tax strategies.

Enactment of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 would make the first significant changes to the patent system in nearly 60 years. In addition to banning tax strategy patents, the act would make changes to "inter partes" review, Patent and Trademark Office funding, and supplemental examinations, among other revisions to the country's patent regime.

 

IRS SIGNS DEAL TO CURB PRISONER TAX FRAUD

Washington, D.C. - After prodding by a group of senators and an embarrassing report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Internal Revenue Service has signed an agreement with the Bureau of Prisons to end fraudulent tax returns filed by prisoners.

The memorandum of understanding between the IRS and the BOP will end a years-long impasse between the two agencies and is aimed at saving taxpayers significant money in the future.

Senators Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, had urged the IRS and the Bureau of Prisons to share information to curb the fraudulent filing of tax returns by incarcerated prisoners that has cost American taxpayers $123 million since 2004.

A TIGTA report in January found that prisoners in federal and state penitentiaries are filing fraudulent refund claims from their jail cells without penalty, due in part to an impasse between the BOP and the IRS. The IRS reported that the number of fraudulent tax returns filed by federal and state prisoners in the U.S. more than doubled from 18,103 in 2004 to 44,944 in 2009.

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