Pure Potency Pricing

“British Prime Minister David Cameron will propose . . . that British retailers charge a minimum of 40 pence (63 cents) per unit of alcohol. A unit is the equivalent of 10 milliliters of pure alcohol.”

American taxes on alcohol depend on the form it comes in:  alcohol in beer is taxed less than alcohol in liquor, with wine in between.  Cameron’s policy of treating all alcohol alike has a lot of theoretical appeal.  Why doesn’t he propose taxing it?  Do pro-business leanings explain his desire to see the money to people in the alcohol business?

Quote is from Paul Sonne and Jeanne Whalen, Cameron Wants Brits to Pay More for Alcohol in Bid to Curb Drinking, WSJ, March 23, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304724404577297814271968518.html?KEYWORDS=alcohol+unit

 

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How the Roth IRA got its name

When Senator Roth introduced a bill for an individual retirement account with no upfront deduction, part of the superficial appeal was that the revenue damage to the budget came outside the budget window.  He called it the IRA Plus.  My boss at the time (1988 or 1989 or 1990), Senate Finance Chair Lloyd Bentsen, said that PLUS  stood for “Pay Later, Uncle Sam.”  That retort became Tax Notes’ quote of the week.  The name IRA Plus disappeared, and Senator Roth’s name got attached to what became the Roth IRA.

UPDATE: It was 1989, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_IRA.

 

Football Bounty Payments: Tax Law to the Rescue

The New Orleans Saints NFL team supposedly paid cash bounties to defensive players who injured opponents.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/sports/football/nfl-says-saints-had-bounty-program-to-injure-opponents.html?hp.  I doubt that those payments were reported as income by the recipients, or reported to the IRS by the payors.  If the justice system can’t convict the batterers, the tax system may be able to go after them.  Like Al Capone.