GOVERNMENT ACTIONS AFFECTING COMMERCE









 

    2001:  SEPTEMBER:

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  • Friday, September 14:  The U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission today issues an order that waives certain regulations to allow companies and executives to aid in supporting the prices of their stock shares. This is being done in order to prevent a wave of panic selling opf shares when the stock markets resume trading next week.

        This is a temporary expedient and will be in effect for just next week if the markets meet expectations and reopen next Monday. It will permit publicly traded companies to buy their own stock on the open market without observing a limit on the number of such shares that they may buy back. Company directors and senior executives who had issued sell orders just before the markets closed will now be allowed to go back into the markets and to attempt to repurchase their companies' stock.

        Using their emergency powers for the first time, the members of the Commission have loosened some accounting and capital rules; they have also eased off on certain lending restrictions that had been placed upon mutual funds.

        These emergency actions demonstrate the Commission's anxiety over what they expect will be the situation when trading does resume. The Commission members seem to fear that there will be a huge  oversupply of sell orders for many stocks, and few matching buy orders. They therefore hope that, by allowing companies and their officers to repurchase shares above the normaly limited amounts, some stability can be injected into the markets.

  •     In another action designed to cushion the effects of the disruptions caused by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the U. S. Internal Revenue Service announced on Friday, September 14, 2001 that it was granting tax-filing extensions to businesses, individuals, and non-profit groups which were involved in or harmed by those atttacks. They will now have up to an additional 10 months in which to file returns and to pay any taxes which might be due. This ruling applies to all taxpayers in New York City and in Arlington County, Virginia, home of the Pentagon building. If other businesses or individuals can show that they were harmed because of lost or damaged records, because of death of an employee or employees, or injury to them, or if their operations were impacted because employees aided in the rescue and relief efforts, they will receive filing/payment extensions also.

        In the case of individualswho may have already had extensions, including extensions to October 15, 2001, they will now have an additional 120 days beyond the October date, in which to settle accounts with the IRS.

        Corporations will now have until January 15, 2002 in which to make estimated tax payments. The government will waive penalties on excise and withholding taxes, if they are deposited by November 15, 2001. This policy was announced by Terry Lemons, who is a spokesman for the IRS.

        In order to claim the extension, taxpayers are being told to write "September 11--Terrorist Attack" in red ink at the top of their returns. Also, all taxpayers everywhere, who have returns or taxes due from September 11 through September 24, 2001 have until September 24 in which to file and to pay any taxes due.    

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