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In-House Lawyers: Deduct Your Travel Expenses

Few people like to do their taxes, and as a consequence they'll try to blaze through the tax-paying process as fast as possible. But if you're an in-house lawyer, that's greenbacks left in the hands of the IRS. And as much as people hate doing their taxes, they should hate letting the government keep their dollars.

One of the most common deductions taken are travel related. Here are a few IRS tips that will help you reduce your company's tax liability this season.

IRS Has a New Program to Help Employers Stay on Top of Payroll Taxes

Few people or companies jump at the chance to interact with the IRS. But the latest initiative by the tax-levying agency actually sounds like it has some promise.

On December 8, the IRS announced the launch of Early Interaction Initiative, a program designed to notify employers who may be falling behind on payments of their employment taxes.

Maybe you heard the news yesterday. Yahoo, one of the world's largest Internet companies, announced that it will be spinning off its core businesses in order to hang on to its $32 billion stake in Alibaba, the massive Chinese e-commerce company. The decision is the exact opposite of the plan proposed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer almost a year ago.

Why is Yahoo ditching its main businesses in order to retain Alibaba stock? What caused the unexpected about face? The IRS, of course.

Ireland Closes One Loophole for U.S. Companies, Opens Another

It looks like Ireland's recent closing of a popular tax-loophole that drew mega-corporations to Irish shores like flies to a honey-pot isn't entirely what it first seemed.

Chris O'Leary, lord mayor of the quiet town of Cork, isn't keen on seeing American companies leave in the wake of the closing of Irish tax-loopholes, but he maintains confident that "companies aren't just coming for the corporate tax rate." But a recent push to sweeten the deal for patent-heavy industries is nice to have as insurance.

SEC Announces $325,000 Whistleblowing Award

The SEC just announced a $325,000 award given to a former investment firm employee who blew the whistle to the SEC with specific information that allowed the federal agency to begin an investigation that later uncovered extensive fraudulent activity at the tipster's ex-employer.

Merger of Viagra Maker and Allergan Could Be Biggest of 2015

Share prices of Allergan exploded out of the opening bell and topped out with an almost 8 percent gain over the stock's closing. It's been a good several trading days for the Ireland-based pharmaceutical company.

The lastest jump in prices has been attributed to "preliminary friendly discussions" regarding Pfizer's proposed takeover of Allergan. If the deal goes through, it stands poised to be largest takeover deal of 2015.

In-House Salary Trends Remain Stable

According to a report composed of data compiled by Major, Lindsey & Africa Consultants, in-house lawyers enjoyed relatively stable incomes from 2014 to 2015. But Miriam Frank, Vice President of MLA, cautioned that the numbers may mislead because some compensation is classified as an equity, not compensation.

Get ready to do some math, in-house counsel, or at least to call up the accounting department. The Securities and Exchange Commission has finally adopted a CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, five years after Dodd-Frank imposed the disclosure mandate.

The new executive pay ratio rule is complicated and, for some companies, sure to be embarrassing. But, the SEC promises, it will help shareholders have a "say on pay" and might delay -- or ignite -- the coming income inequality-inspired revolution everyone from Thomas Piketty to billionaire hedge fund managers are warning about. Here's what in-house counsel need to know.

Microsoft Sues IRS for Info on Outside Auditor, Quinn Emanuel

Microsoft, like many companies, allegedly uses a complex web of overseas subsidiaries to shield itself from U.S. taxes. This is accomplished through "transfer pricing," which allows subsidiaries of the same company to buy and sell with each other in a way that maximizes profit for the parent company.

The IRS is none too pleased with all this and has begun to audit companies' transfer prices. Well, Microsoft is none too pleased with that, and filed a complaint in federal court yesterday to get the IRS to disclose transfer pricing documents.

5th Cir.: Naming Whistleblower Is an Adverse Action

In 2005, Halliburton hired Anthony Menendez to be the Director of Technical Accounting Research and Training in the Finance and Accounting department. Menendez trained field accountants and monitored accounting issues. A few months after he was hired, he reported to his boss, the Chief Accounting Officer (CAO), that some of Halliburton's accounting practices deviated from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).