Finance

Tax amnesties, which have been offered in 35 states and the District of Columbia since the 1980s, are enjoying a wave of popularity. Data from the Federation of Tax Administrators show that since 2000, states have offered 35 tax amnesty programs. Under these programs, errant taxpayers face no penalty, no prosecution and, sometimes, no interest on delinquent taxes they pay. The state, on the other hand, gets its money and, possibly, some new taxpayers on the rolls. This may sound like a winning proposition for all, but some researchers at the W. P. Carey School of Business question the value versus the cost. Tax amnesty programs don't come without a price tag, they say mdash; and the downside of these deals actually may outweigh the minimal new revenue that amnesties usually bring in.

Multinational corporations, including some of the icons of American business, routinely cut tax liability through pricing schemes. By dropping the cost of goods sold to subsidiaries and inflating the price of goods that come back to the U.S., multinationals transfer profits — and tax liability — to tax-friendly nations. Experts estimate that corporations shift $62 to $87 billion of pre-tax income out of the U.S. each year resulting in substantial tax revenue losses. Legislation pending in Congress could help plug corporate tax-haven loopholes.

For the last 30 years, especially during elections, investors have speculated about the apparent link between stock market behavior and the U.S. presidential election cycle. To the observer, returns seem to be higher during the second half of a president's term than the first. Is it true, or has this phenomenon been merely an intriguing coincidence? A W. P. Carey School of Business finance professor analyzed market behavior going back to 1803 and confirmed that the pattern is real. The reasons why are not so clear.

From business schools to baseball batters, we use rankings to determine who's the best. Investors, too, look to rankings to assess the performance of financial professionals. The market has responded by providing several indices to gauge the success of funds, but investors need to look closely before deciding which ranking to use when making decisions. The indices can be misleading if you don't know what they are measuring.

Legislative pressure is requiring corporate America to set its financial house in order, creating an uptick in demand for accounting professionals. Business schools respond by retooling accountancy programs for the post-Enron era.