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TaxBuzz Top 5 - Hunter Biden Sues IRS, Gainesville Raises Property Taxes, & More

TaxBuzz Top 5 - Hunter Biden Sues IRS, Gainesville Raises Property Taxes, & More

Each Friday, TaxBuzz brings you the top five tax and accounting headlines you need to know from the workweek. We know life can get busy and you don't always have time to scroll through your news feed to stay informed.

We weed through all of the week's stories to showcase the most important updates in the tax and accounting world.

1. Hunter Biden Sues the IRS

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Amid his ongoing legal drama, Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden (D) and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, has sued the Internal Revenue Service. Per a CNBC report, Biden, 53, and his legal team allege that the IRS has engaged in criminal activity by “repeatedly and intentionally” sharing his tax return information.

Three days before Biden's lawsuit was filed, he was indicted on three federal gun charges. This comes after a tentative plea deal fell apart in July 2023. CNN reports that a judge has denied Biden's request to appear virtually for his arraignment on October 3 -- he will be required to be in court in-person. 

The President has not publicly commented on the IRS lawsuit or the latest charges against his son.

2. Pence Slams Trump's Tax Plan

Despite his recent indictment on multiple charges, former President Donald Trump (R) is continuing his campaign to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. Trump recently suggested that he would instate a universal 10% tax on all imported goods if he is re-elected. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump's 2016 running mate, has slammed the plan, saying that this type of across-the-board tariff would only make inflation worse, ultimately rewarding U.S. "adversaries like China." 

Pence, who has launched his own 2024 presidential campaign, also stated, “He [Trump] and his imitators in this race are backing away from American leadership."  CNBC notes that Pence's blatant disdain for Trump's tax proposal is likely to be a key piece of how he approaches his campaign moving forward. 

3. Iceland to Implement New Tourism Tax

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If you enjoy traveling the world, lean in. Trips to the beautiful island nation of Iceland are about to get more expensive. The Icelandic government is set to implement a new tourism tax that is intended to help preserve the country's natural wonders amid climate change. 

Travel & Leisure provides details about the new tax, noting that Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir recently stated the tariff would “not be high," and will be instated as city taxes for tourists staying in Iceland. The exact tax rate has not yet been confirmed by officials.

Iceland joins other nations around the world in passing tourism tax legislation. Bali, for example, will begin charging a $10 USD tourism tax in 2024, per a report from local news source, The Bali Sun.

4. Kansas Republicans Promote Flat Tax Rate

GOP leaders in Kansas are promoting a flat tax rate for all residents. The original version of the legislation received backlash due to the fact that it would have primarily benefitted the wealthiest Kansans. Now, however, Republicans have declared themselves a united front, "like brothers and sisters," in an attempt to create a bill that works. 

The Kansas Reflector shared details about the proposed flat tax plan, which, in its original form would have seen the top 20% of Kansas wage earners getting about 70% of the total $764 million tax cut benefit. 

Senate President Ty Masterson (R-Andover) does not believe that the original plan only benefitted wealthy Kansas residents.

“These comments about somehow it benefits the wealthy, you have to get yourself in quite a good mental contortion to get there,” Masterson stated. “It was a benefit for everybody just on that face value alone.”

Governor Laura Kelly (D) vetoed a modified version of the proposal, referred to as Senate Bill 169, and Republicans failed to override the veto by a single Senate vote. Now, legislators are committed to reintroducing the flat tax proposal and getting it passed.

5. Gainesville Finalizes 29% Property Tax Increase

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The City of Gainesville -- home of the University of Florida -- has finalized a 29% property tax increase. The new millage rate for property taxes will sit at 6.4297 mills instead of the current year's 5.5 mills. According to a Main Street Daily News report about the situation, city officials also implemented a 3% electric rate increase and a 5% wastewater increase. 

These changes come amid news that Gainesville has sued the State of Florida to retain control of Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU). State discussions regarding the relationship between GRU and the general government and utility debt have been key this budget cycle, forcing the city government to cut jobs and funding across the board. 

According to the Gainesville Sun, the lawsuit against the state and Governor Ron DeSantis (R) was filed on July 21.

It is worth noting that, despite numerous cuts, municipal police department and fire department budgets were increased by a total of $11 million.

Which headline this week most interests you?

Feature Image Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Rebekah Barton

Rebekah Barton

Rebekah's search engine optimization career began completely by accident as a college student. Over the course of her career so far, she has "grown up" with the SEO industry, from writing content while juggling classes to managing her own teams of writers and overseeing SEO strategy in subsequent roles. She is excited to bring her passion for high-quality content to CountingWorks, Inc.

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