Books: Taxman's Ax

An IRS ruling may prompt publishers to destroy stocks

Some pens are mightier than other pens. Last year the Supreme Court handed down an opinion that spelled harder times for thousands of publishers and their authors. In Thor Power Tool Co. vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the court ruled that the company could not claim a reduced value on warehoused stock in order to lower its taxes. The accounting procedure, known as a writedown, was a standard legal loophole. Its plugging has allowed the IRS to move with its customary even heavyhandedness. "All the...

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