Another provision in the package would rescind IRS Notice 2008-83, also called the "Wells Fargo ruling" after its largest beneficiary. In October, the IRS issued this two-page notice declaring, with no authorization from Congress, that banks could ignore a section of the tax code enacted under President Reagan to prevent abusive tax shelters. In December, over a hundred organizations signed a letter to the House and Senate asking them to rescind the Wells Fargo ruling.
An online six-minute video from the American News Project (click here if you need the YouTube version) explains how Treasury officials under former President George W. Bush issued the Wells Fargo ruling with no legal authority and gave banks a hand-out beyond their lobbyists' wildest dreams. The video features interviews with CTJ director Robert McIntyre and Senator Bernie Sanders, the sponsor of the Senate bill to rescind the Wells Fargo ruling, and gives props to the organizations that signed the letter urging Congress to enact his legislation.
Towards the end of the video Senator Sanders questions whether or not the ruling Democratic party will be courageous enough to stand up to the lobbyists for powerful financial interests. Well, that question will be answered soon, because the House stimulus bill to be voted on today includes the proposal that was introduced in the House last year to rescind the Wells Fargo ruling -- and this is one more reason to support the stimulus bill. The Senate version has also recently been amended in the Finance Committee to include a provision rescinding the Wells Fargo ruling. Senator Sanders has been willing to stand up against unjust giveaways like this even when doing so is not popular on either side of the aisle. Tax fairness advocates need to work to make sure his courage and hard work pays off by supporting this reform.