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U.S. tax code too complex, report says

Washington

Biggest tax problem cited: complexity

Too intimidated to do your tax return without help? Join the club. At nearly 4 million words, the U.S. tax law is so thick and complicated that businesses and individuals spend 6 billion hours a year complying with filing requirements, according to a report Wednesday by an independent government watchdog. That's equal to 3 million people working full-time, year-round. "If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States," says the report by Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate. Olson ranks complexity as the most serious tax problem facing taxpayers and the IRS in her annual report to Congress. She urges lawmakers to overhaul tax laws, making them simpler, clearer and easier to comply with.

Midland, Texas

Float driver won't face charges

A grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict the driver of a float involved in a train collision that killed four U.S. military veterans in a west Texas parade. Dale Andrew Hayden, the driver of the truck pulling the float, won't face charges stemming from the Nov. 15 accident that injured 16 others. Though the grand jury did not indict Hayden, it "has not concluded its review of the incident," according to Midland County District Attorney Teresa Clingman.

El Paso, Texas

Missile plot yields nearly 3 years

A federal judge sentenced a British businessman to 33 months in prison Wednesday for trying to buy surface-to-air missile parts from undercover U.S. agents to resell to Iran. Christopher Tappin, 66, pleaded guilty in November to aiding and abetting to export defense materials.

Elsewhere

North Korea: A private delegation including Google's Eric Schmidt on Wednesday urged North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens in a country with some of the world's tightest controls on information.

Gabon: Talks on the crisis in Central African Republic began Wednesday with representatives of the government, rebels and other groups gathering in this nearby country.

Jordan: The fiercest winter storm to hit the Mideast in years brought a rare foot of snow to Jordan on Wednesday, caused fatal accidents in Lebanon and the West Bank, and disrupted traffic on the Suez Canal in Egypt. At least eight people died.

Times wires

U.S. tax code too complex, report says 01/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 11:15pm]
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  1. Muslims thankful for support after rant, deadly attack

    Crime

    Associated Press

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Muslims in Portland, Ore., thanked the community for its support and said they were raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women — one wearing a hijab — who were targeted by an anti-Muslim rant.

    Jeremy Christian is accused of killing 2 men who stepped in as he berated two women.
  2. Following Trump's trip, Merkel says Europe can't rely on U.S. anymore

    Politics

    LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Donald Trump last week, saying that Europe "really must take our fate into our own hands."

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, shown speaking with President Trump last week, says Europe “must take our fate into our own hands.”
  3. Seven children, 1 to 10, seriously injured when driver loses control on I-4

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Seven young passengers 1 to 10 years old were seriously injured when the driver of a Chevrolet Suburban lost control, causing the vehicle to flip and hit a fence on Interstate 4 just east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of May 29-June 4

    Events

    Memorial Day: Among the free events paying tribute to fallen soldiers today is the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony in St. Petersburg, with speakers including Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Charlie Christ, musical performances, a rifle salute and taps. (727) 319-6479 . The Florida National Cemetery …

    Young blonde boy carrying an American Flag over a wooden Bridge.
  5. Sheriff's Office: Drug dispute preceded fatal Largo motel shooting

    Crime

    LARGO — A fight over drugs preceded the shooting death of a 47-year-old man Thursday night at a Largo motel, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

    Angel E. Martinez, 24, is accused in the shooting death of Ricky Garland, 47, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. [Pinellas County Jail]