Tag: Business

Investors lead push for Australian business to cut emissions more than government forecasts

Major investors and super funds will lead a push for the private sector to make much deeper cuts in national greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 than planned by the Morrison government, including setting a target based on what scientists say is necessary.



a herd of cattle grazing on a dry grass field: Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The newly created “climate league 2030” is calling on investors, insurers, banks and companies to sign up to a goal of reducing national emissions by at least 230m tonnes a year more than the government forecasts by 2030.

It is equivalent to about a 45% cut by 2030 compared with the 2005 benchmark used by the government – the minimum short-term target recommended by the government’s Climate Change Authority for Australia to play its part in keeping average global heating below 2C. They say action is needed now to put the country on a path to net zero emissions by 2050.



a herd of cattle grazing on a dry grass field: Institutional investors that collectively manage assets worth more than $850bn will push business to help cut Australia’s emissions much more than planned by the Morrison government.


© Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Institutional investors that collectively manage assets worth more than $850bn will push business to help cut Australia’s emissions much more than planned by the Morrison government.

Related: Climate crisis: business, farming and environment leaders unite to warn Australia ‘woefully unprepared’

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The league’s foundation members are 16 institutional investors that collectively manage assets worth more than $850bn. They include Aware Super, Cbus, IFM Investors, the Queensland Investment Corporation, AustralianSuper, Hesta, Lendlease Funds Management and UniSuper.

Aware Super’s chief executive, Deanne Stewart, said it was critical that businesses, investors and governments set and delivered transparent, meaningful and measurable targets and goals “to really shift the dial and achieve lasting action” to halt the potentially devastating impacts of the climate crisis.

“We can do this individually, but collaboratively we have the power to do so much more,” she said. “As a founding member of climate league 2030 we would encourage other investors, businesses and the community to come together, stop talking about the issues and instead start taking meaningful action to support a necessary transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy.”

The aspirational initiative is coordinated by the Investor Group on Climate Change, which based the idea on similar projects overseas, such as We Are Still In and We Mean Business in the US and the Climate Leaders Coalition in New Zealand.

Members are responsible for their own actions, but are expected to demonstrate that they can and will lead to a reduction in national emissions. The group said the league would be open to other parts of the private sector in coming months and promised a progress report late next year.

The league has the support of Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor now working as a UN special envoy for climate action and finance. He said the $3.5tn Australian super industry was the world’s fifth largest, giving it significant influence and investors were increasingly recognising that “climate risk is investment risk”.

“Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will require a whole of economy transition and every company, bank, insurer and investor

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Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all

It is tempting for critics of Donald Trump to react to the New York Times bombshell article by accusing Trump of tax evasion, which is a crime. And it’s equally tempting for his defenders to insist that all he did was use legal avoidance techniques, available to anyone. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. But the president’s sheer volume of legally dubious tax positions poses an insidious threat to the rule of law.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all


© Getty Images
Donald Trump business taxes threaten the rule of law for all

The Times was careful to not accuse Trump of tax evasion. Proving criminal tax fraud, the kind that took down Al Capone, is extremely difficult. But respect for the rule of law is more than simply avoiding criminal behavior. It means abiding by our societal responsibilities without trying to game the system.

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The Times documents numerous questionable positions, ranging from (relatively) small amounts to millions of dollars. Some of these are easy to follow and almost laughable, such as the $70,000 for hairstyling during Trump’s “Apprentice” years. The Internal Revenue Service and courts have repeatedly stated that personal grooming expenses are not deductible, even when required by an employer. When a Marine pays a barber for a haircut to comply with military rules, he cannot deduct it.

The president sets an insulting and dangerous example when he does so. He brags that he is “smart” for avoiding taxes. But all he does is take risks that ordinary Americans, who cannot afford aggressive advisers and attorneys who can fight the IRS, can’t expose themselves to. He acts like there are two different tax codes, one for the rich and one for everyone else.

Several other dubious positions jump out. Business owners can deduct litigation expenses related to their business, for instance a trademark dispute, but not the costs of running for office. Trump appears to have done just that, deducting expenses associated with the investigation of Russian contacts during the 2016 campaign.

Video: Glenn Kirschner: Trump’s alleged engineering of a sudden cash windfall in 2016 ‘looks potentially criminal’ (MSNBC)

Glenn Kirschner: Trump’s alleged engineering of a sudden cash windfall in 2016 ‘looks potentially criminal’

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Under Trump’s signature 2017 tax cuts, individuals may only deduct $10,000 in state and local taxes a year, while business owners face no such limits. Since 2014, he has deducted $2.2 million on Seven Springs, a 200-acre country estate, by claiming he owns it solely for investment purposes. Nevertheless, a Trump website describes the estate as a “retreat for the family” and his sons have referred to it as “our compound.”

Suspicion also mars Trump’s deduction of $26 million in consulting fees. In some cases, third parties who worked on his projects cannot recall any outside consultants. In others, the fees appear to have gone to his daughter Ivanka Trump, who double dipped by also taking a salary from the Trump Organization for her work on the projects.

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IRS Should Target Individual Taxpayers Reporting Large Business Losses

The estimated annual “Tax Gap” exceeds $440 billion.  That is to say, the amount that U.S. taxpayers pay in taxes every year falls short of the amount actually owed by some $440-plus billion.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration—or, for those who prefer a more wieldy acronym, TIGTA—a government tax watchdog, has been engaged in an effort to determine how the IRS can make a meaningful dent in that ever-troubling Tax Gap.  The answer, in part, is more audits.  But more specifically, the right kinds of audits.  According to TIGTA, that means placing a particular focus on taxpayers who report “Schedule C” activity reflecting significant losses.

Schedule C Reporting

A sole proprietor engaged in a business is generally required to report the associated income and expenses on Schedule C of their Form 1040.  Much the same, an individual operating through a single-member limited liability company (LLC) is often required to report such business activity on a Schedule C.  Schedule C is used to calculate a sole proprietor’s business profits and losses.  While Schedule C often involves complex business expense deductions, there is often limited tax withholding or information reporting associated with Schedule C activities.  In other words, there are often limited third-party checks in the system, and thus it is not easy to validate or cross reference those deductions without conducting an audit.  

The IRS estimates that net misreporting with respect to Schedule C activities is as high as 55 percent when there is little information reporting or associated tax withholding.  The IRS estimates that underreporting contributes to approximately $352 billion of the annual Tax Gap, and that as much as 45% of this underreporting is attributable to individual business income associated with Schedule C.  So it comes as no surprise that TIGTA has drawn its attention to Schedule C reporting.  

The courts, for their part, have characterized the consistent, sizeable underreporting of income as a so-called “badge of fraud” that indicates tax fraud.  Recognizing this, TIGTA has recommended that the IRS should focus its efforts on systematically identifying Schedule C underreporting—a recommendation that it maintains will combat a significant source of repeat noncompliance. 

The Primary Target: Taxpayers Reporting Schedule C with No Gross Receipts and No Profit

TIGTA’s most recent study indicates that the IRS should zero in on tax returns with at least one Schedule C reflecting no profit.  TIGTA found that when the IRS audits tax returns with at least one Schedule C with no gross receipts and no profit, and where the return reflects a loss of $100,000 or more, the audit results in an average assessment in excess of $50,000.  In layman’s terms, the IRS gets a pretty big bang for its buck. 

TIGTA’s report was also critical of the IRS’s past failure to focus on, or even audit, Schedule C losses.  TIGTA noted that individual tax returns with a Schedule C reflecting losses present a high compliance risk and an opportunity for the IRS to realize a high return on investment when

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Miami business hawks pro-police collector coins. One state says its design breaks the law

As the nation grapples with tensions over cases of police brutality, a small Miami company says it’s found a successful niche selling pro-law-enforcement “challenge coins” and pins online.

The company, LEO Challenge Coins, hawks collector-type coins that depict police badges and emblems from agencies from around the country, plus body armor, rifles, American flags, President Donald Trump in heroic poses and even Baby Yoda wearing a coronavirus mask.

But one coin depicting a Virginia trooper — who earned online notoriety for cursing and preening to the camera during a video-recorded traffic stop — is drawing heat, including from the state itself. Virginia’s Secretary of the Commonwealth this week issued a cease-and-desist order to the Miami company, threatening fines and even jail time because the coin displays the state seal.

“As keeper of the Seals, I request that you cease such usage and remove any representation of the seal of the commonwealth of Virginia,” Secretary Kelly Thomasson wrote in a letter, which threatened a fine of up to $100 or up to 30 days in jail.

The company’s owner, Louis Gregory, a Miami music producer and former high-ranking U.S. Department of Homeland Security official, says he has no intention of stopping sales.

“This is hand painted pop art,” Gregory, 42, wrote back in an email to the secretary. “This coin is a parody and by no means conveyed in any other means.”

In an interview, Gregory said he now plans to donate all the proceeds from sales of the coin to a charity benefiting children of slain officers.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic and they have nothing better to do?” said Gregory, who retired last year as the director of planning and programming at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

There has been intense scrutiny on law-enforcement tactics — and the portrayal of police officers in media, TV and movies — since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May. Unprecedented protests against police brutality and racism took place across the country, leading to some civil unrest, clashes with pro-police groups in the streets and political furor fueled by President Trump.

The coin depicts Virginia State Trooper Charles Hewitt, who went viral after video surfaced of him cursing and playing to the camera while pulling a Black motorist from his car during a traffic stop in 2019.

The video showed Hewitt, who is white, ordering motorist Derrick Thompson to get out of the car, smiling to the camera and saying “watch the show, folks.” This month, a Virginia prosecutor said while Hewitt “could have used a more appropriate demeanor,” the trooper did not break the law in arresting the man.

The challenge coin features phrases from the video — including “How do you like that motherf—er?” and “I’m a f—ing specimen right here buddy” — as well as a stylized image of Hewitt pointing at the driver.

The creation of the coin flabbergasted Thompson’s attorney, who called it “outrageous” and said it celebrates a

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Government Probes Microsoft’s Effort to Boost Diversity | Business News

By MATT O’BRIEN and ALEXANDRA OLSON

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”

CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding dearth of Black, Latino and female workers in technical and leadership positions. But this time they are running into scrutiny by a Trump administration that has sought to intervene with universities and other institutions over their approach to race and discrimination.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” in the federal workforce and among federal contractors. Microsoft is a major federal contractor, supplying its Office workplace software and cloud computing services to multiple government agencies.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press, the Labor Department said it “appreciates Microsoft’s assurance on its website that it is not engaging in racial preferences or quotas in seeking to reach its affirmative action and outreach goals.” The agency added that it “looks forward to working with Microsoft to complete its inquiry.”

The letter from the Labor Department gives Microsoft until Oct. 29 to explain how it plans to carry out its pledge regarding Black leadership.

The Labor Department did not respond to a question about whether it has started similar inquiries into other companies with federal contracts.

The Trump administration’s move contrasts with a flurry of efforts by private companies and institutions to increase racial diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests. There has been a particular emphasis on bringing more African Americans into leadership positions.

More than 40 private and publicly traded companies have joined a pledge to add at least one Black member to their board of directors by 2021. Target last month pledged to increase the representation of its Black employees by 20% over the next three years. Goldman Sachs announced an initiative to recruit more bankers and traders from historically Black colleges. Other firms that have announced similar hiring or promotion goals include Salesforce, Mastercard and Accenture.

Glassdoor, the jobs site that allows users to review their employers anonymously, added new feature to allow users to rate companies on their diversity and inclusion initiatives. The company said the feature was added partly in response to a

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EU Lashes Out at Turkey Over Rule of Law, Rights, Freedoms | Business News

By LORNE COOK, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Tuesday that Turkey’s negotiations on joining the world’s biggest trade bloc shouldn’t be accelerated because of its failure to uphold democratic standards, protect the independence of its courts and effectively fight corruption.

In a scathing report on Turkey’s progress toward EU membership, the European Commission said the Turkish authorities continue to pressure civil society, aid groups and the media, and that political power is still being concentrated in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkey remains a key partner for the European Union. However, Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union with serious backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary,” the commission said.

Turkey began its EU membership talks in 2005 but they have stood at a standstill in recent years, and tensions with Ankara have mounted since over its disputed energy exploration in parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

Some EU countries oppose the large, relatively poor and mainly Muslim country joining. Germany, notably, would prefer an alternate kind of “privileged partnership.” France too is opposed to Turkey’s membership, and all 27 EU nations must agree for any country to join.

Countries hoping to take a seat at Europe’s big table must align their laws and legislation in 35 policy areas, or negotiating chapters. EU leaders agreed in 2018 that no new chapters in Turkey’s accession talks should be opened or closed.

“The report presented today confirms that the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold, despite the government’s repeated commitment to the objective of EU accession,” said the commission, which runs and monitors membership talks on behalf of the 27 EU nations.

It said that the “adverse impacts” of a state of emergency, which was imposed by Erdogan after a failed military coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 and lifted two years ago, are still being felt today.

Turkey’s dispute in the eastern Mediterranean with EU members Greece and Cyprus, as well as its roles in conflict-torn Libya and Syria were also criticized in the report, which noted that Ankara’s foreign policy has “increasingly collided with the EU priorities.”

The commission was more upbeat about Ankara’s migration policy. It said that “Turkey sustained its outstanding efforts to provide unprecedented humanitarian aid and support to more than 3.6 million registered refugees from Syria and around 370,000 registered refugees from other countries.”

The EU relies on Turkey to stop migrants from entering the bloc through its borders with Greece and Bulgaria, and is paying around 6 billion euros ($7 billion) to help Syrian refugees in the country to persuade Ankara not to let migrants head to Europe. EU leaders suggested last week that they are willing to send Turkey even more funds.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Pandemic triggers sea-change for business in society

Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman wrote a seminal article in 1970 stating that there is only one social responsibility of business, and that is to increase profits. In essence, he claimed that the sole purpose of business should be about a long-term increase in shareholder wealth, and nothing else. Yes, that’s right, the only reason a business should exist, is to make as much money as possible, rather than being concerned about its impact on people or the planet. Unfortunately, this profits-are-everything philosophy caught on and became conventional wisdom. The consequences of the single bottom line paradigm have been dire – from growing inequality, to the destruction of our natural resources, to climate change and global warming.

Mike Middleton, partner, Innate Motion

In South Africa, pressing social needs have pushed business to become involved in developing society over the years in a complex interaction with government, challenging Friedman’s prevailing philosophy of ‘the business of business is business’. Foreign companies that elected to operate in the country during apartheid, particularly American businesses encouraged by the Sullivan Principles to invest in critical societal issues, led the way in showing how a business could serve society. Companies acted as donors to projects offered by a robust civil society, and the term ‘corporate social investment’ (CSI) was coined. CSI, in turn, gained further momentum from 2003 as part of the requirements of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Codes of Good Practice.

Triple bottom line

The concept of broader corporate social responsibility (CSR) then evolved, capturing the needs of a business to deal responsibly with all impacts on society, and forming part of a social licence to operate. The King Reports on Corporate Governance further focused South African businesses on the triple bottom line (TBL) – a sustainability framework that examines a company’s social, environmental, and economic impact.

John Elkington, who first developed the TBL concept, now argues it has been captured and diluted by accountants and reporting consultants. Is the bewildering range of reporting frameworks providing businesses with tools to greenwash and alibis for inaction? Are we truly capturing purpose and real-world impact? And is much of social investment still based on enlightened self-interest?

The pandemic has been a litmus test for many companies, and a clear indicator of how a business pursues its purpose and chooses to fulfil a broader role to serve and sustain the society and environment it operates within. Success or failure in TBL sustainability goals must surely be measured in terms of the wellbeing of our people and the health of our environment, and indeed how we continue to address these in challenging times.

Fundamentally, Elkington says we have a hard-wired cultural problem in business, finance and markets, which arguably rears its head even more during a crisis. He says that while business leadership will ‘move heaven and earth’ to ensure that profit targets are met, the same is very rarely true of their people and planet targets. Clearly, the triple bottom line has failed to bury the

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Uber, Lyft Look to Kill California Law on App-Based Drivers | Business News

By BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Californians are being asked decide if Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers should remain independent contractors or be eligible for the benefits that come with being company employees.

The battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and labor unions including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters could become the most expensive ballot measure in state history. Voters are weighing whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to drivers.

Uber and Lyft have fought a losing battle in the Legislature and courts, so now — with help from app-based food delivery companies DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart — they are spending more than $180 million to take their fight directly to voters in the Nov. 3 election.

Early voting in California starts Monday. Uber and Lyft, both headquartered in San Francisco, have said they may leave the state if the measure fails.

The landmark labor law known known as AB5 threatens to upend the app-based business model, which offers great flexibility to drivers who can work whenever they choose. But they forego protections like minimum wage, overtime, health insurance and reimbursement for expenses.

“What’s at stake is the future of labor, the nature of work, how conditions are changing for households amidst the pandemic and recession,” said David McCuan, chair of California’s Sonoma State University political science department.

Labor-friendly Democrats in the Legislature passed the law last year to expand upon a 2018 ruling by the California Supreme Court that limited businesses from classifying workers as independent contractors.

Uber and Lyft have maintained that their drivers meet the criteria to be independent contractors, not employees. They also have argued the law didn’t apply to them because they are technology companies, not transportation companies, and drivers are not a core part of their business.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra took the companies to court, and a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled the companies are subject to the new employment standards. But that ruling has been put on hold while the companies appeal.

Any ruling could be undone by the outcome of the vote, though further litigation is likely.

If Proposition 22 passes, it would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from the labor law and drivers would remain independent contractors exempt from mandates for overtime, sick leave and expense reimbursement.

But it also would put in place policies that require those companies to provide “alternative benefits,” including a guaranteed minimum wage and subsidies for health insurance if they average 25 hours of work a week.

Supporters say drivers enjoy the independence and flexibility of the current model.

“If I want to work four hours and say, ‘I’m done,’ I can do that,” said Doug Mead, a Palm Springs retiree who delivers meals for Uber Eats and Postmates and estimates he makes about $24 an hour. “Where is there an employer on the planet where I can do that?”

Opponents say the companies exploit

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How To Begin A Business In Panama

Criminal law and spiritual law sometimes coincide, however oftentimes not. Most of the guns utilized by criminals are already unlawful. Any other gun control laws ought to be a matter of debate on the State degree and never the Federal degree. The aim of this article is to give a primary understanding of the laws and ideas of basic electronics.

Along with the twelve tribes and the twelve common laws add the twelve “homes” of the zodiac which are stated to influnce life on earth. The government banned certain guns in Australia and a gun mafia was not created. She knew of his psychological issues, but nonetheless kept the weapons in her dwelling and it price her life and people lives of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Properly California in all probability has the most narcissistic people per capita of any state within the United is why we have now probably the most gun laws of any state in the United States. Civil lawyers deal with lawsuits that involve individuals, companies, and even the federal government.

I used to be talking about the seizing of weapons secondary to a traditional authorized warrant in the course of the investigation of prison activity. The Law that builds relationship between the government of a country and the citizens is a public Law. The federal Republic of Nigeria, which is probably the most populated country in Africa, has the sources of Her Law as received English Law, equity, custom and at last, status and legislature.

Usually there’s an amnesty interval, with or with out compensation depending on the specifics of the state of affairs, for people to give up illegalized weapons. As an example, within the Law of Federal Republic of Nigeria, same sex marriage shouldn’t be permitted but in United States of America, the Law of the nation permits such.…

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