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CRS — Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion (1/15/15)

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Cornell University ILR School)

Addressing tax evasion and avoidance through use of tax havens has been the subject of a number of proposals in Congress and by the President. Actions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 industrialized nations also have addressed this issue. In the 111th Congress, the HIRE Act (P.L. 111-147) included several anti-evasion provisions, and P.L. 111-226 included foreign tax credit provisions directed at perceived abuses by U.S. multinationals. Numerous legislative proposals to address both individual tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance have been advanced.

Multinational firms can artificially shift profits from high-tax to low-tax jurisdictions using a variety of techniques, such as shifting debt to high-tax jurisdictions. Because tax on the income of foreign subsidiaries (except for certain passive income) is deferred until income is repatriated (paid to the U.S. parent as a dividend), this income can avoid current U.S. taxes, perhaps indefinitely.

CRS — Veterans’ Benefits: The Impact of Military Discharges on Basic Eligibility (3/6/15)

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Veterans’ Benefits: The Impact of Military Discharges on Basic Eligibility (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Cornell University ILR School)

This report discusses the discharge or separation requirement for veteran status or, more specifically, how the VA assesses character of service to determine whether a former service member’s separation from the military can be considered other than dishonorable. In some instances, the military characterization of discharge is relatively uncomplicated, creating a binding entitlement to VA benefits (i.e., an honorable or general discharge [under honorable conditions]), assuming the individual meets other eligibility requirements for veteran status. However, if the characterization of discharge may preclude access to veteran’s benefits, the VA must develop the case, through an assessment of service records and other evidence related to a claimant’s time in the military. This report includes a hypothetical example (in Appendix C) illustrating the complexities associated with making character of service determinations by the VA.

CRS — Federal Employees’ Retirement System: The Role of the Thrift Savings Plan (3/10/15)

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: The Role of the Thrift Savings Plan (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Cornell University ILR School)

Federal employees participate in one of two retirement systems. The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) was established in 1920 and covers only employees hired before 1984. Participants in the CSRS do not pay Social Security payroll taxes and they do not earn Social Security benefits. For a worker retiring after 30 years of federal service, a CSRS annuity will be equal to 56.25% of the average of his or her highest three consecutive years of basic pay.

Because the Social Security trust funds needed additional cash contributions to remain solvent, the Social Security Amendments of 1983 (P.L. 98-21) required federal employees hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. To coordinate federal pension benefits with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement system for federal employees hired after 1983. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) Act of 1986 (P.L. 99- 335).

CRS — Congressional Careers: Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2015 (1/3/15)

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Congressional Careers: Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2015 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Cornell University ILR School)

This report presents data on Member tenure and a historical analysis of tenure trends. During the 19th century, the average service of Representatives and Senators remained roughly constant, with little or no change over time; the average years of service was slightly higher for the first half of the century than during the second. During the late 19th and through the 20th century, the average years of service for Senators and Representatives steadily increased.

The report also examines two further issues related to Member tenure: the distribution of Member service that underlies the aggregate chamber averages and historical trends in the percentage of Members who have served in both chambers. Although the average service tenure of Members has increased, more than half of Representatives and nearly half of Senators in recent Congresses have served eight years or less. While only a small and declining proportion of Representatives have historically had previous Senate experience, throughout history a sizeable percentage of Senators have previously served in the House.

Treatment of Foreign Fighters in Selected Jurisdictions

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Treatment of Foreign Fighters in Selected Jurisdictions
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report contains information on provisions in place or under consideration by the United Nations (UN), the European Union, and 73 countries on the treatment of individuals who join and fight for terrorist organizations in foreign countries. A number of countries are currently considering action following the September 2014 adoption of a UN Security Council resolution expressing concern about the threat of foreign terrorist fighters. Many nations, as illustrated below, already have punishments applicable to such fighters, including imprisonment and/or loss of citizenship. In a number of jurisdictions, penalties for joining terrorist organizations increase when the individual recruits others or undergoes military training with those organizations. A unique approach is being taken in one city in Denmark, where instead of facing punishment, returning fighters are being given study or employment opportunities. In addition to the report on these jurisdictions, two maps have been included to illustrate the findings.

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About Military/Defense

May 18, 2015 Comments off

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About Science, Technology and the Environment

May 18, 2015 Comments off
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