Briefly: IRS loses appeal over regulation of tax preparers; House panel backs bill to ban in-flight cellphone calls -
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:35 pm
Briefly: IRS loses appeal over regulation of tax preparers; House panel backs bill to ban in-flight cellphone calls

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service lacks authority to regulate paid tax preparers, a federal appeals panel said Tuesday, upholding a lower-court ruling throwing out licensing rules for as many as 700,000 practitioners.

The IRS issued new rules in 2011 to address concerns about the performance of some preparers. The agency relied for authority on a 1884 law empowering it to “regulate the practice of representatives of persons before the Department of Treasury,” according to the ruling by a three-judge panel in Washington.

In the 125 years after the law's enactment, “the executive branch never interpreted the statute to authorize regulation of tax-return preparers,” U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the panel. The law “cannot be stretched so broadly as to encompass authority to regulate” preparers, the court said.

Today's ruling “is a major victory not just for tax preparers but for taxpayers,” said Dan Alban, of the libertarian Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va., who argued the case on behalf three tax preparers challenging the IRS rules. “This is about the freedom to choose your tax preparers. Taxpayers get to choose, not the IRS.”

“The IRS is currently reviewing the decision,” Julianne Breitbeil, an agency spokeswoman, said. “It's critical for taxpayers to be able to rely on quality work from tax preparers.”

The rules imposed standards on preparers who aren't certified public accountants, attorneys or enrolled agents already licensed to practice before the IRS. — Bloomberg News

House panel backs bill to ban in-flight cellphone calls

WASHINGTON — Allowing airline passengers to make cellphone calls in-flight is asking for trouble, lawmakers said Tuesday as a House panel approved a bill to ban such calls.

The bill — passed without opposition by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — requires the Department of Transportation to issue regulations prohibiting such calls. The department has already said it is considering creating such a ban as part of its consumer protection role.

The bill has no impact on the Federal Aviation Administration's decision late last year to allow passengers to email, text, surf the Internet and download data using personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

Phone calls are another matter. Both Republican and Democratic House members said they believe in-flight calls would be noisy and disturbing to other passengers and possibly disruptive.

“Most passengers would like their flights to go by as quickly and quietly as possible,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the committee's chairman and sponsor of the bill, said. — AP

Chick-fil-A to use chicken without antibiotics

NEW YORK — Chick-fil-A says its plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics within the next five years.

The Atlanta-based fast-food chain says it's working with its suppliers to build an adequate supply.

Chick-fil-A said late last year that it was making a number of changes to remove high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes from its dressings and sauces. — AP

Toyota weighs paying $1 billion fine

Toyota Motor Corp. is reportedly close to paying a $1 billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into allegations of sudden acceleration and whether it properly reported safety complaints to regulators. Meanwhile, Toyota's lawyers are in settlement talks over hundreds of civil suits alleging wrongful deaths or injuries, potentially adding hundreds of millions to the tab.

Previously, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action case brought by Toyota owners who said that sudden-acceleration problems damaged the value of their vehicles.

The automaker has repeatedly denied any serious safety defect that caused its cars to take off at high speeds, causing accidents that killed or injured occupants.

Now, Toyota appears ready to pay what it takes to move the story off front pages and newscasts.

“Toyota is trying to put this entire episode behind it,” said John Goldberg, a Harvard Law School professor and product liability expert.

Investors and shareholders generally react positively to “closure,” even when that comes at a price, Goldberg said. — The Los Angeles Times

Airbnb event seeks Omaha-area hosts for Berkshire weekend, CWS
USDA offers aid for disasters that have driven up beef prices
Union Pacific's profits withstand challenging weather
Program gets students with disabilities on the job, ready for future
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
New tenant moves in at old Omar Baking
Applications for U.S. jobless aid edge up to 304,000
Nebraska Crossing Outlets stores, layout
Garbo’s Salon at Midtown Crossing to expand, add loft
New First Data Corp. board member is latest JPMorgan alum
$600 million job-training effort to focus on skill sets
Original Recipe or Extra Crispy? Don't be chicken! Wear your dinner to prom with a KFC corsage
In brief: Bitcoin exchange faces liquidation
Summer concerts to start May 30 at Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion
Fed survey sees growth across U.S.
Janet Yellen signals that interest rates will remain low
Special Mustang to honor pony car at 50
Spring planting off to slow start
Indoor play center Go Kids’ Gym opens at 120th and I
Community woodworking space Bench will move to warehouse at 12th and Nicholas
Stationery store set to open in Lincoln's Haymarket district
Jon Barker replaces Hayneedle co-founder Doug Nielsen as chief executive
Technology – including Google Glass – gets a try-on at Omaha Infotec conference
GROW Nebraska plans entrepreneurship conference
Google applies for patent for camera in contact lens
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »