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IRS Aims to Bring Facebook to Court Again


By Adam Stuhlman I @stuhlman_adam

In January 2013, one Hartford resident was in the United States Tax Court because she couldn’t pay a $213 tax bill. She was unemployed. However, Internal Revenue Service lawyers debated penalties for refusing to pay $213, which should have been deducted for educational tax credit.

Then in February 2013 news broke that Facebook amassed a billion in profit in the previous year and did not pay taxes. In fact, Facebook was expecting a refund.

Like many, she wanted an answer to this blatant disparity in how the court system meted out justice to individual tax payers.

Now the IRS is fighting to get Facebook back to court over allegations that the social media giant has avoided paying taxes through shifting money overseas.

Matt Gardner, executive director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said Facebook has been shifting money out of the United States to Facebook Ireland and the Cayman Islands. He said they have also used a legal stock option tax break to reduce the amount of taxes they have to pay.

“The interesting thing about Facebook on this front is that the IRS has been trying to get Facebook to cooperate with their investigation into this precise issue for some time,” said Gardner. “The IRS has issued something like a half dozen different summons to Facebook, which Facebook has basically ignored.”

According to documents from their website, Facebook’s

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

$5 billion revenue in 2012 represented a 37 percent increase from $3.7 billion in 2011.

 

Citizens for Tax Justice, a partner organization with ITEP, said that Facebook paid nothing in income taxes in 2012. Gardner said the IRS has issued at least six summons for Facebook to appear in court.

IRS Spokesperson Yadira Nadal declined to comment on this, saying that federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting on any taxpayer, organization’s situation, or case.

Anteneh Daniel, executive for The Brunswick Group, said in an email that Facebook’s statement from their media relations department is as follows:

“Facebook applies with the rules and regulations of all countries where we operate and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Brunswick Group is an advisory firm that “specializes in critical issues and corporate relations,” according to brunswickgroup.com.

“It is very difficult to tell what these assets are worth. When companies aggressively seek to lowball the value of these assets it can be very difficult for the IRS to catch up with that and make them value it (assets) correctly,” Gardner said. “That is what makes it a hard thing to police and monitor.”

Gardner said transfer pricing rules are put in place to make sure that when companies transfer assets overseas, “they do so at a fair price.” But the difficulty in enforcing these laws makes it harder on the IRS. He said the only solution is to make sure the IRS has the proper funding and the authority to go after companies that break the law.

While the IRS may be having difficulty with Facebook, it keeps on going when it comes to collecting taxes from other citizens. An April 2014 Gallop poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans feel that corporations pay too little in taxes, with the middle class paying too much. It also said that 40 percent of Republicans felt that lower income individuals pay to less in taxes, as compared to 22 percent of Independents and 11 percent of Democrats.

Connecticut residents want to know whether lawyers in the Office of Chief Counsel, namely William Borgardus and Debra Lynn Reale, are still targeting nonprofit organizations and individuals after news of Facebook’s victory over the IRS.

Multiple calls and emails to the IRS about lack of corporate income tax and any potential impact this may have on other citizen’s taxes were not returned.

To read the gallop poll click here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/168521/taxes-rise-half-say-middle-income-pay.aspx

To read Facebook’s document click here: https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/annual_reports/FB_2012_10K.pdf

Reporter Adam Stuhlman can be reach on Twitter: @stuhlman_adam

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Hartford Voters Looking to Oust Democratic Incumbents


HARTFORD —  Less than two months before the Nov. 8 election, the Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition will hold a forum for candidates for Hartford’s State Representative on Oct. 5.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St. downtown Hartford.

The candidates will ask questions, hear representative ideas about the issues.

Invited candidates include District 1: Matthew Ritter, (D) and Ken Lerman (R); District 3: Minnie Gonzalez (D); District 4: Angel Arce (D)and A. Lloyd Carter (R); District 5: Brandon McGee (D) and Paul Panos (R); District 6: Edwin Vargas (D) and Russell Williams (R); District 7: Douglas McCory (D).

All the candidates, except Gonzalez, and McCory. Hartford Republicans are looking to oust incumbents who are unresponsive to the concerns of city residents and business owners.

Petitioning and Minor Party Candidates will also be invited.

For more information, email HartfordVotes@aol.com.

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Police Arrest Three Hartford Men for Burglary


WEST HARTFORD –Three Hartford men were arrested on Wednesday for suspicious activities that led to burglary in the Walbridge Road area, police said.

hc-west-hartford-car-burglary-20160921-001Damian Brito, 28, of Rowe Ave.; Angel Cabrera, 22, of Rowe Ave.; and Marcus Gonzalez, 18, of Capitol Ave. were charged with third-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools, trespassing and sixth-degree larceny.

Police said that after 2 a.m.,  a person called to report that three men  walking through his yard.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the men with stolen property from several cars. They also had rubber gloves and burglary tools, police said.

The three men had fled from officers earlier in the evening when they were seen in the area of Boulevard and South Highland Street, police said.

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Poll: Gov. Malloy Approval Rating Still Low


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is one of the least popular governor in America.

According to a Quinnipiac Poll, Malloy’s approval rating was at 24 percent. Seven out of 10 voters in Connecticut, or 70 percent,  say they disapprove of Malloy.

Also, a new survey shows similar results about Malloy’s approval rating.

Malloy’s approval rating was 26 percent in the new survey by Morning Consult.

The most popular governor in the survey was South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who had a 74 percent approval rating. The other least popular governor was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

From May through September, Morning Consult surveyed 71,900 registered voters in all 50 states.

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Hartford Community Schools Receive $1.6 Million


By Chris Senecal

HARTFORD — When Sahar Hakim, Catholic Charities’ after school program director for Thirman L. Milner School, was planning the first year of a new Milner LEADS student summer internship program this past spring, she had no idea that the program was going to make such a positive impact on the entire community.

 

The eight eighth-grade students selected for the paid internship program spent each morning learning about what it takes to be a leader, and each afternoon organizing neighborhood festivities as a part of National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. All of the students learned how to effectively communicate with local leaders, businesses, and organizations to as a part of their work.

 

The Milner LEADS students chose “Stop the Violence” for their National Night Out theme. Members of the Hartford Police and Fire Departments, along with Mayor Luke Bronin and former Mayor Thirman Milner, joined in the event. Hundreds of neighborhood residents, community organizations attended and residents enjoyed the festivities, the largest one of several National Night Out events held throughout Hartford.

 

These types of unique enrichment programs will continue to be offered to hundreds of students and their families thanks to grants totaling $1.6 million from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support Hartford’s seven community schools.

 

“Learning to speak to adults and asking them to participate in the event was extremely challenging,” said Alexiah Smith, who was in charge of recruiting entertainment for the event. “But it was so satisfying to see that all of our hard work paid off, and so many people donated their time and resources and so many people participated in the event. It showed us that even though we’re young, we can accomplish positive things for our community.”

 

First developed in 2008, Hartford Community Schools seek to close a variety of opportunity gaps that Hartford students and families often experience as a result of economic disadvantages. The seven community schools receiving funding from the Foundation include the Asian Studies Academy at Bellizzi, Alfred E. Burr Elementary School, the Fred D. Wish Museum School, Thirman L. Milner School, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, Burns Latino Studies Academy, and West Middle School.

 

Three Hartford nonprofit agencies currently coordinate student supports and services in the schools working in partnership with the schools’ principals and district leaders. Over the course of an academic year and the following summer, the schools will each provide a broad range of wraparound services such as vision, health and dental care, mental health services, academic support and enrichment, civic engagement programs and cultural activities.

 

“The Hartford Foundation is committed to promoting educational equity and opportunity through the entire region that we serve,” said Sara Sneed, Director of Education Investments for the Hartford Foundation. “Hartford Community Schools represent a proven model of school improvement and student support that results in better academic outcomes for students and schools as well as significantly increased community engagement in student learning and student success.”

 

The community school model has been cited by the State Department of Education, Hartford Public Schools and others as a stabilizing force among Hartford schools, due in large part to community schools’ focus on school culture and climate alongside academics and developmental gains. Overall, Hartford Community Schools presently serve more than 4,000 students and connect the schools with more than 60 community partnerships, including partnerships with area universities, health care providers, cultural organizations and others.

 

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $630 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.

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Connecticut Labor Department to Hold Fall Job Fair


WETHERSFIELD – The Connecticut Department of Labor will hold its annual fall career fair series starting this month.

On Sept. 20, there will be Heroes 4 Hire South event in Bridgeport, followed by an Octo. 11 Middlesex County Career fair in Cromwell and an Oct. 27 Diverse Ability Career Fair in Waterbury.

“With more than 19 years of experience in providing job and career services to Connecticut residents, the Labor Department is recognized as a leader in offering effective, well-organized events to help match companies with quality employees,” explains State Labor Commissioner Scott D. Jackson. “Our career fairs have attracted thousands of jobseekers and hundreds of businesses, and many have made very successful employment connections.”

Locations of the career fairs and hours are:

*   Heroes 4 Hire South: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 20, Wheeler Recreation Center, University of Bridgeport, 126 Park Avenue.
*   Middlesex County Career Fair: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., October 11 Radisson Hotel Cromwell, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell.
*   Diverse Ability Career Fair: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. October 27, Courtyard By Marriott, Downtown Waterbury, 63 Grand Street, Waterbury.

There is no cost to jobseekers attending the events and parking in convenient and free. All three fairs will include hands-on assistance from Labor Department employees who will help visitors develop and critique their résumés. Visitors can also receive information about finding a new job, changing careers or using employment services at their local American Job Center.

Employer registration includes an exhibit table at the event, program guide listing, radio, newspaper and Internet advertising, and advertisements at the American Job Centers, veterans’ centers, local libraries and community organizations. For companies planning to attend the Heroes 4 Hire South or Middlesex County career fairs, registration is $300, while the Diverse Ability Career Fair is $200. An additional $25 is charged for each event where electricity is required.

Companies interested in taking part in one or all of the fairs can visit the Connecticut Department of Labor’s career fair website at www.ctjobfairs.com<http://www.ctjobfairs.com>, while jobseekers can visit the site for interview tips, directions to the career fairs, list of participating employers and recruitment events at their local American Job Center.

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Schweitzer Symposium To Highlight World Peace


WEST HARTFORD —   Most do-gooders say they want to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Very few get to do it–and do it well. Dr. Albert Schweitzer was one of the few.

Trinity College will sponsor a the first Albert Schweitzer Symposium to highlight his life and career. The event,  free and open to the public, will take place from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, at St. James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford.

The Symposium is part of a new collaboration between The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival at Trinity College and the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University.

During the symposium, David Ives, Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac, will introduce My Life is My Argument, a documentary made by the Institute and aired on CPTV in 2007; the documentary won an Emmy for the Institute in May, 2008.

Following the video presentation, Dr. Lisa Wong, a pediatrician, violinist and avid exponent of the benefits of music medicine, will present an hour-long discussion of Schweitzer’s contribution to the field, describing her recent visit to the Schweitzer hospital in Lambaréné in Gabon, and her many personal experiences in performing for patients, especially Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Wong is the author of From Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine.

The new collaboration between the Festival and the Institute will bring Dr. Schweitzer‘s love and mastery of music to the offerings of the Institute, and will bring an exploration of Schweitzer’s ethics to the Festival.

 

Both organizations will further explore the connection between music and medicine. Quinnipiac University will be an active sponsor of the Albert Schweitzer Symposium, and will bring university students to Festival events throughout the weekend.
The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, now in its 19th year, presents an organ competition every fall in two categories: high school and young professional. The winners receive prize money towards their musical education.
“The Festival and the Institute are delighted to collaborate in pursuing the many areas in which Dr. Schweitzer made a profound contribution,” said David Spicer, Artistic Director of the Festival. “The Institute has always focused on Dr. Schweitzer’s ethical and philosophical endeavors to change the world, while the Festival has always focused on his gifts to the world of music – in particular organ performance. In addition to being a humanitarian, a theologian and a physician, Dr. Schweitzer was an internationally-recognized organist.”

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HARC to Celebrate 57th Anniversary in City


HARTFORD —  A community-based nonprofit organization in Hartford, HARC has been serving people with intellectual disability since 1951.

This November it will celebrate its annual auction to be held on Nov. 5 at the Hartford / Windsor Marriott.

HARC currently provides programs and services for more than 2, 200 individuals and their families in Greater Hartford.

Andrea Barton Reeves, Harc’s President and CEO said, “We are thrilled that Lou, Al and Jay have agreed to be part of this year’s auction! It’s particularly special because it’s our 65 anniversary year. They all have a true commitment to our mission and we’re so grateful for their support.”

Mr. Pepe is a litigation attorney who focuses his practice on business torts, contract disputes and construction contract cases. He represents his clients in state and federal courts as well as in arbitration, mediation and other ADR proceedings.

Mr. Turco is an ERISA and Financial Services partner, whose practice concentrates on financial transactions and ERISA fiduciary responsibility.  He counsels employers, fiduciaries and financial services organizations in connection with their development, acquisition, management and disposition of ERISA investment products and services.  Al is a recognized authority on Section 401(k) stable value funds.

Mr. Harris joined ESPN in February 2003 as a SportsCenter anchor, and in February, 2016, he was named as one of the anchors for the new 7 a.m. SportsCenter: AM program. He came to ESPN from WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh, PA. where he was a news anchor/reporter.

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AARP Honors Rep Baram for Legislative Role


Recognition for Power of Attorney Legislation

HARTFORD — Rep. David Baram was proud to receive a Certificate from AARP recognizing his role as a legislator – attorney in providing advice and guidance in drafting new legislation revising Connecticut’s statute on the Power of Attorney.

Featured picture: Joined by Mike Humes (Associate Director), volunteers Marilyn Diaz and Veda White!

 

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U.S. Secretary of Education John King Visits Hartford to Talk Diversity


HARTFORD — U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King recently visited Hartford to talk diversity.

Very little diversity was in the room, though.

Check back later for details.

 

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