Congress has, perhaps with good reason, temporarily set aside concerns about balancing the federal budget. Stimulating the economy and stopping the downward spiral of reduced demand and layoffs has become a higher priority than raising enough tax revenue to pay for public services. But one provision in the stimulus bill would raise revenue (albeit a mere $7 billion, officially). This provision 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.

A provision rescinding the ruling was included in both the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed bill and is included in the conference agreement.

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