Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. That’s Not How Taxes Work

 

From Larry Correia, who is not only a bestselling author, but an accountant, on the New York Times’ Trump tax story: No, You Idiots. That’s Not How Taxes Work. – An Accountant’s Guide To Why You Are a Gullible Moron.

Of course the comments are all about the “morality” of paying your “fair share”. Which isn’t how any of this works in real life. Just stop it with your vapid hot takes already. You clearly have a child-like grasp of a complex topic, and your words are making America dumber.

As a former accountant, please allow me to explain why all of today’s newly formed tax experts are [redacted] morons, and we should metaphorically put a brick in a sock and beat them over the head with it until they shut up.

Hat tip to the priceless Instapundit, and language warning for the dewy-eyed.

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  1. Doug Watt Moderator

    Exactly this, and it’s one of the reasons I vote no on measures that will increase my property taxes. Only a moron votes yes to increase their property taxes.

    • #1
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. JoelB Member

    Anyone who actually pays taxes should know this.

    • #2
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Full Size Tabby Member

    OK, I have not been paying attention to the news that apparently the New York Times has published some report purporting to be an analysis of President Trump’s tax returns for some number of years.

    First, my instinct is to not believe anything the New York Times says. The information could be entirely fabricated. 

    Second, a person’s tax returns are by law to be confidential. Since I doubt President Trump released them, what the NYT is working with is either made up, or, if real, someone broke a law (either the NYT stole the information, or someone in some government position broke the law by sending it to the NYT). People who get information by breaking a law are quite likely to not get all the information, and so what they get is incomplete and/or inaccurate. 

    Third, Mr. Trump’s tax returns are likely extremely complicated and must run into the hundreds or thousands of pages for each year. I have modest investments to fund my retirement, and my federal tax return runs to something like 50 pages including schedules and supporting documentation. Mr. Trump’s must involve multiple linked companies and other entities. I have no confidence that anyone outside Mr. Trump’s businesses (and their hired professionals) took the time and energy to really understand everything that was going on.

    Fourth, assuming Mr. Trump’s businesses involve multiple linked companies and other entities, does the NYT analysis include analysis of the taxes paid by those entities?

    Fifth, I know from my own modest investments that some years I have investment losses, some of which I can offset against gains in that year or in a subsequent year. So taxable income in any given year is not necessarily a reflection of my total financial situation. And it may change significantly from year to year. 

    So I am immediately skeptical of, and dismissive of, any breathtaking headline report from the New York Times about President Trump’s taxes. 

     

    • #3
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  4. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @fullsizetabby, all points made (a bit more forcefully) in the Correia article.

    I see people all over Facebook all offended over Trump paying $600 in taxes one year. No one is upset about the laws that make that possible. And no one is mentioning that the NYT article said, in so many words, that they found nothing illegal in Trump’s taxes, and no connection to anything Russian. Then there is the fact that releasing peoples’ tax returns is supposed to be a Federal offense…did the Obama era IRS leaks desensitize us to that?

     

    • #4
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Boss Mongo Member

    Man, I love Larry. I don’t check his site often enough, because it’s usually just his schedule of appearances and interviews, until something prods him to go for the nuclear option. I should’ve figured this story would get his juices flowing

    So when the blue check mark journalism major (who probably dropped out of PoliSci because “there’s too much math”) declares that it is immoral that some rich dude didn’t pay his fair share because he used loopholes, those are basically a bunch of meaningless buzz words strung together to prey on the feelings of the gullible.

    What’s not to love?

    • #5
    • September 28, 2020, at 1:21 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  6. kedavis Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Fourth, assuming Mr. Trump’s businesses involve multiple linked companies and other entities, does the NYT analysis include analysis of the taxes paid by those entities?

    And the people who work for those companies could be paying taxes too.

    • #6
    • September 28, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    And no one is mentioning that the NYT article said, in so many words, that they found nothing illegal in Trump’s taxes, and no connection to anything Russian.

    Claire Berlinsky on Twitter said she was wrong about having expected Trump’s taxes to show a Russian connection. She still doesn’t have nice things to say about the rest. As she was once a Ricochet editor, I will refrain from evaluating the rest of her opinions about Trump.

    • #7
    • September 28, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    I love his take on tax “loopholes.” A loophole is merely something in the law someone doesn’t like, period.

    • #8
    • September 28, 2020, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  9. Boss Mongo Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    I love his take on tax “loopholes.” A loophole is merely something in the law someone doesn’t like, period.

    Actually, I think that one big category of “loopholes” is what are called “targeted tax cuts” when they are enacted, usually when people are talking about lowering rates across the board. Then, later, pols start calling them loopholes so that they can erase them. Win-win. Keep the rates high, get credit for campaigning against loopholes. Corruption be damned.

    • #9
    • September 28, 2020, at 2:48 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. The Reticulator Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I love his take on tax “loopholes.” A loophole is merely something in the law someone doesn’t like, period.

    Actually, I think that one big category of “loopholes” is what are called “targeted tax cuts” when they are enacted, usually when people are talking about lowering rates across the board. Then, later, pols start calling them loopholes so that they can erase them. Win-win. Keep the rates high, get credit for campaigning against loopholes. Corruption be damned.

    One of the two major parties is generally in favor of targeted cuts and opposed to cuts across the board. 

    • #10
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. PHCheese Member

    All I know is one year the IRS lost my payment check for my personal return and haunted me for penalties and interest for two years for their mistake. Luckily I had the receipt for mail delivery and a photo copy of my check. When it was all said and done they claimed I still owed them one dollar. I sent it as fast as I could. It wasn’t big money. Can’t imagine how they would chase big bucks.

    • #11
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  12. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS. 

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    • #12
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:45 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  13. kedavis Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Maybe because, especially for the left, “rich” is defined as “someone with more than me?”

    • #13
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul StinchfieldJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    I see people all over Facebook all offended over Trump paying $600 in taxes one year.

    It’s tainted money: taint in the pockets of the covetous parasites.

    • #14
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. Bishop Wash Member

    Does Massachusetts still have the voluntary higher tax rate option? I thought they had that years ago and tens of people used it.

    • #15
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Stina Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Maybe because, especially for the left, “rich” is defined as “someone with more than me?”

    I think for these guys, knowing no one has more than them, “rich” is anyone who is a threat to their empires.

    • #16
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    • #17
    • September 28, 2020, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #18
    • September 28, 2020, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    To paraphrase: “I [the richest of the rich] should pay more. I can pay more. But I won’t pay more unless required by government… as requested by me.”

    That strikes you as a reasonable argument?

    One might argue that the moral burden should be legally pressed on all the wealthy and not reliant on the good will of those who advocate higher taxation. But even such an interest in fairness or fiscal necessity would not make one’s own fulfillment of that moral burden impotent or impractical.

    • #19
    • September 28, 2020, at 6:51 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. kedavis Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    To paraphrase: “I [the richest of the rich] should pay more. I can pay more. But I won’t pay more unless required by government… as requested by me.”

    That strikes you as a reasonable argument?

    One might argue that the moral burden should be legally pressed on all the wealthy and not reliant on the good will of those who advocate higher taxation. But even such an interest in fairness or fiscal necessity would not make one’s own fulfillment of that moral burden impotent or impractical.

    And don’t they usually say “the wealthy should pay more,” not just “the wealthy should be required by law to pay more?”

    Nobody is stopping them from paying more.

    • #20
    • September 28, 2020, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. TBA Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    I know what you’re on about but we are talking about people who actually possess government-sized money. Theirs is the money that would make a difference and they are some of the very few who do have that kind of money – except that even if they were taxed, the government wouldn’t get that money because it taxes income. 

    So they’re standing up offering other people’s income while pretending to offer their own. 

    They are morally bankrupt and should not be given credit. 

    • #21
    • September 28, 2020, at 9:04 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. kedavis Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    I know what you’re on about but we are talking about people who actually possess government-sized money. Theirs is the money that would make a difference and they are some of the very few who do have that kind of money – except that even if they were taxed, the government wouldn’t get that money because it taxes income.

    So they’re standing up offering other people’s income while pretending to offer their own.

    They are morally bankrupt and should not be given credit.

    Also true, and relevant.

    • #22
    • September 28, 2020, at 9:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. JennaStocker Member

    This is brilliant; and correct. I’ve never been a CPA but graduated with an accounting degree. I distinctly remember hauling around our Federal Tax textbook (it was 2 volumes) and wondering how exponential it had grown over just the past decade. My professor always emphasized two things: tax avoidance is the goal and tax evasion will get you 5-20. And the House Ways & Means Committee is the greatest shaper of social behavior the government has. Want more of something? Give tax breaks; want less? Tax the hell out of it. Throw in a lot of lobbyists and political pet projects, and there you have the US Tax Code. This is why we’ll never have the flat tax, too many hands in the honey pot. Besides, if doing taxes were so easy as to file on a postcard, that would put a lot of accountants out of work… And one last thing about the colossal ignorance of people re: taxes and the misinformation put out by the New York Times- these are the same people who think tax refunds are super good terrific. Nope. If you get a big refund, you’re just lending your hard-earned money to the government for the year and getting paid back minus interest. You’re losing money. Get as close to the magic 0 as you can get. If the government is giving you “free” money, it’s time to make sure you still have your wallet.

    • #23
    • September 28, 2020, at 9:40 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    To paraphrase: “I [the richest of the rich] should pay more. I can pay more. But I won’t pay more unless required by government… as requested by me.”

    That strikes you as a reasonable argument?

    Once I realized it was some weird fetish, yeah. They might as well call it IRS&M.

    • #24
    • September 28, 2020, at 9:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Man, I love Larry. I don’t check his site often enough, because it’s usually just his schedule of appearances and interviews, until something prods him to go for the nuclear option. I should’ve figured this story would get his juices flowing

    So when the blue check mark journalism major (who probably dropped out of PoliSci because “there’s too much math”) declares that it is immoral that some rich dude didn’t pay his fair share because he used loopholes, those are basically a bunch of meaningless buzz words strung together to prey on the feelings of the gullible.

    What’s not to love?

    I follow him on FB. He indicated he was going to do this when word got out that the story was coming. The wait was not long and the results are brilliant. Thanks to Doug for posting it here. Dig the anecdote from account class….

    • #25
    • September 28, 2020, at 11:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. Steven Seward Member

    One of the points of the New York Times article was that Trump has paid only $750 in taxes after he got into office. They conveniently leave out the fact that Trump donates his entire presidential salary of $400,000 back to the government every year. This is virtually the same as paying $400,000 in taxes every year. At the end of this year that would be a total of $1.6 Million paid in four years.

    I wonder how they will explain this one in an unflattering way?

    • #26
    • September 29, 2020, at 2:01 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Years ago, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates called for higher taxes on the rich. Not one lefty journalist had the integrity to ask them why they pay accountants to minimize their tax payments or why they don’t donate to the IRS.

    Hardly anything these people say is honest these days.

    Do you really find their position to be inconsistent?

    It is not. It is perfectly reasonable to pay only the taxes required of you, while advocating for a tax increase.

    I agree. Just as it is perfectly reasonable to take the government check while advocating an elimination of subsidies and welfare. Lefts think the payment is supposed to buy your vote, so they don’t like that.

    • #27
    • September 29, 2020, at 5:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Fair share arguments prop up the illusion that taxes are about revenue. 

    Taxes in the modern Western World serve two purposes: 

    1. They are about control. If you engage in the behavior the government approves of they will give you a break on the taxes. If you engage in behavior they disapprove of they will tax you more, either through denying you the breaks or outright taxing the behavior.
    2. They create a demand for currency. Why do you take pieces of paper with dead people on them in exchange for your labor? Because eventually the government is going to demand you pay your pound of flesh and they will only take that currency in return. That’s why, even if you were to accept something else in return for your work, the government will put a currency value on that.
    • #28
    • September 29, 2020, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Right Wing Teamster Lawyer Thatcher

    I wonder if someone hacked http://monsterhunternation.com/ ? Tried to get to the site and all give the “This site This site can’t be reached” message.

    • #29
    • September 29, 2020, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Two questions.

    First, does it concern you that Trump has twice blown $400 million fortunes?

    Second, does it concern you that Trump owes $300 million in debts that he must repay in the next three years, and we have no idea who he owes it to?

    • #30
    • September 29, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • Like