Massive IRS Breach or Leak against “The .001 Percent”

 

Propublica, a leftist media organ, has just published an article on the wealthiest Americans, based on what they acknowledge to be illegal disclosure of taxpayers’ information. They will almost certainly not be prosecuted by the leftist DOJ careerists, once again backed by leftist political appointees. The leftist White House media mouthpieces are good with the felonies and already framing this as the rich not paying their fair share.

We see the set-up for Propublica’s June 8th publication in the June 7, 2021 White House press briefing:

Q    And then, secondly, the Justice Department has had a series of policy changes with regards to its relationship with reporters and pursuing reporters’ sources and possible prosecutions.  I was wondering: Under this administration, will the Justice Department still be trying to compel reporters to name sources who are anonymous or unnamed in court?  Will they continue to do that?
 
MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think that the announcement from this weekend — or the statements from this weekend, which are entirely consistent with the President’s comments he made just a few weeks ago, make very clear that going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, the Department of Justice, in a change to longstanding practice, as many of you have noted in here before, will not see compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs
 
That is entirely consistent with delivering on the President’s comments just a few weeks ago and entirely consistent with his policies now.  It doesn’t mean — there are still — it’s an independent Justice Department.  They will proceed, of course, with a range of investigations, which, as we noted in our statement on Saturday morning, we did not know about the gag order until minutes before the reporting came out on Friday night.  So that’s appropriate, but at the same time, moving forward, consistent with the President’s policies, they will not be proceeding with those actions that have been consistent over the last several years. 

The afternoon of publication, June 8, the White House press secretary gave the official line in response to another likely pre-cleared question:

John: (43:01)
A separate issue. There was a report this morning about basically IRS records showing that very wealthy Americans have evaded paying income tax almost altogether in certain circumstances. One, do you have any reaction just to that as a factual matter and two, are you concerned about that just from a leak standpoint?

Jen Psaki: (43:22)
Well, let me take the second part first, because I think that’s important. Any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information by a person with access is illegal, and we take this very seriously. The IRS commissioner said today that they are taking all appropriate measures, including referring the matter to investigators. And Treasury and the IRS are referring the matter to the Office of the Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for tax administration, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, all of whom have independent authority to investigate. So obviously we take it very seriously. I’m not going to comment on specific unauthorized disclosures of confidential government information. I can tell you that broadly speaking, we know that there is more to be done to ensure that corporations, individuals who are at the highest income are paying more of their fair share. Hence, it’s in the president’s proposals, his budget and part of how he’s proposing to pay for his ideas. 

Propublica claims an elevated moral mission that frees them from little things like laws:

To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.

They claim to have a higher moral purpose in colluding in a massive series of federal felonies, publishing the tax secrets of the .001%:

We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

The article itself is a Burning Man sized straw man, deliberately substituting wealth for income and then railing against unrealized, paper gains not being subject to immediate taxation.

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

[ . . . ]

America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

We’re going to call this their true tax rate.

If your house has increased in value this past year, that is exactly what the Squad’s wing of the socialist Democrat Party is actually targeting to partially pay for their fundamental transformation of America under their rule. If your retirement fund and any investment, even a gold coin or so, appreciated in value, pay out, sucka! 

What were these records, and how did Propublica get them? The authors are confident they will face no investigation, no prosecution, so they are proudly publishing under their real names. They shift voice when talking about how they got all this data.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

[ . . . ]

The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.

 [ . . . ]

In the coming months, ProPublica will use the IRS data we have obtained to explore in detail how the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.
 [ . . . ]

Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

[ . . . ]

The tax data was provided to ProPublica after we published a series of articles scrutinizing the IRS. The articles exposed how years of budget cuts have hobbled the agency’s ability to enforce the law and how the largest corporations and the rich have benefited from the IRS’ weakness. They also showed how people in poor regions are now more likely to be audited than those in affluent areas.

[ . . . ]

ProPublica is not disclosing how it obtained the data, which was given to us in raw form, with no conditions or conclusions. ProPublica reporters spent months processing and analyzing the material to transform it into a usable database.

So, Propublica told a story the IRA careerists wanted told, portraying the agency as hobbled by budget cuts. Then raw computer data from IRS secure systems was pulled on all Americans above a certain income level. That series of illegal acts, one per taxpayer whose records were improperly accessed, copied and transmitted, almost certainly required a senior IRS career official’s access. Or, the IRS was hacked by someone with the level of sophistication we expect from China or Russia.

But wait, these men, the .001%, are almost exclusively leftists, parlor pink if not mansion Marxists. So, is this the left mindlessly eating its own? Or is this the Squad cadre moving against the older cadre of social venture capitalists, funders of the Clinton and even Obama factions? It is too soon to tell, but do not just sit back with a bucket of popcorn, since the real target is every American who has the smallest bit of the American dream, from a house to a little retirement nest egg. If Bezos owes on his unrealized wealth, than you owe, right now, on the current appraisal of your home and the paper increase in your retirement and any investment portfolio.

Steven Hayward points out the history of the income tax as clear evidence of where a wealth tax will rapidly trend:

Any readers out there looking forward to paying taxes on the increased value of your home and other fixed assets? Because if you think any wealth tax would be limited to just the super rich, I have a history of the income tax I’d like to show you from back when it was first instituted, and estimated to affect only a tiny percentage of Americans (ProPublica actually reports this: “In 1918, only 15% of American families owed any tax”), and then at a rate that would never exceed 10 percent.

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  1. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: … do not just sit back with a bucket of popcorn, since the real target is every American who has the smallest bit of the American dream, from a house to a little retirement nest egg. If Bezos owes on his unrealized wealth, than you owe, right now, on the current appraisal of your home and the paper increase in your retirement and any investment portfolio.

    Amen. And the national media ran with it without so much as a whisper about the illegality or the wealth vs income difference.

    The ABC national evening news breathlessly reported that “The wealthiest Americans pay less tax than most Americans”

    Definitely the leak was designed to help the Democrats push for both an income tax increase as well as a wealth tax.

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    ….

    Great point. My leaning is that 100% enforcement of taxation isn’t really optimal even for the government 1) I think most politicians are sensitive to taxes discouraging investment so you let some instances of evasion/avoidance slide to keep the most marginal people in the game 2) if there are people who really don’t want to pay the taxes and you make them pay the political consequences (to the politician) would be far worse than a  small decline in still massive amounts revenue. 3) If it’s illegal at that high of a level the IRS probably wouldn’t spot it. Jeff Bezos and BIll Gates aren’t all claiming the same six kids as dependents (the IRS would spot that).

    It isn’t fair but there is a brutal logic to it all. Just like, in theory, the IRS could file everyone’s federal taxes for them but Turbo Tax and Quicken lobby them frequently to ask them not to do so, in exchange for providing a free federal filing service cause they can then up-sell you. Would the IRS give you all the deductions?  I don’t know. So it’s an odd but not entirely perverse system.

    Is any of it fair? No. I guess that’s parts of the world sometime.

    EDIT: Also wanted to note that Obama/Biden did the IRS thing with Lois Lerner, and now the IRS, I guess, is paying the admin back for protecting them by breaking the law (again) to help Biden get a tax proposal through. Are they just going to go rogue under Dem admins?

    • #31
  2. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    If we had an honest Congress, they would have prepared reports on the effective tax rates of these 0.001%. But, Congress does *not* want us to know that someone can have $10B in income and pay 2% on that. Where do I sign up to pay 2%?

    I cant decide if there are no honest people in Congress, or if the corruption is too vast for the few honest people to expose it.

    Let’s change the tax code so that the 1% and Congress and their staff have to make summaries of their tax returns public.

    None of the reported people paid taxes anywhere near as low as 2%- the piece was pure garbage- it reported taxes as a % of imputed, unrealized gain in wealth. Typical demagoguery by the left that is meant to stir up the ignorant & envy afflicted. 

    • #32
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Stina (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    From the data provided he paid 2%

    To the US. The narrative mentions credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. So, yes, they are concealing the truth.

    Oh wow. I understand credits for taxes paid to us states, but credits for taxes paid to foreign countries?

    If you earn income in a foreign country, that country is going to tax you. So, it would be unfair for Uncle Sam to then tax you again,  on foreign earnings, as if you had not already paid tax. If foreign governments tax at an equal or higher rate to the U.S., then the tax you would owe here, on foreign earnings, gets cancelled by the tax you already paid on foreign earnings.

    • #33
  4. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    • #34
  5. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    I’m sure that piece is coming out any day now.   Any day.  

    • #35
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    I’m sure that piece is coming out any day now. Any day.

    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    Twitter allows sharing of ProPublica article on leaked IRS data after blocking NY Post’s Biden story

    While the story was shared without action from Twitter this week, Twitter took the unprecedented step in October of blocking or limiting users from sharing the New York Post’s story on the alleged contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter said it violated the company’s policy against sharing hacked materials. In another statement, it said articles by the Post “include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules.” Twitter also locked the Post’s account and only lifted the ban after a weeks-long standoff.

    Facebook also limited sharing of the Post’s laptop articles at the time, citing factual concerns. The Big Tech maneuvering came just weeks before Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

    A Twitter spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

    Andy Grewal, a law professor at the University of Iowa, wondered Tuesday on “what basis should BigTech have censored the NYPost story on Hunter Biden’s emails, but allow free sharing of the ProPublica tax report.” He assured followers he didn’t think either should be suppressed.

    • #36
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    This is as hard as they ever got back in 2008:

    Biden’s Cozy Relations With Bank Industry

    Then they got downright helpful and understanding:

    Follow the Money in the Ukraine Scandal

    It should not surprise you that this is a TDS hit-piece, covering for Biden, Inc. by throwing up Ukrainian villains and completely avoiding Biden the Younger’s complete lack of qualification and big pay day. Propublica is for the public like a democratic peoples republic is democratic, for the people, and a republic.

    The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother

     

    • #37
  8. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    This is as hard as they ever got back in 2008:

    Biden’s Cozy Relations With Bank Industry

    Then they got downright helpful and understanding:

    Follow the Money in the Ukraine Scandal

    It should not surprise you that this is a TDS hit-piece, covering for Biden, Inc. by throwing up Ukrainian villains and completely avoiding Biden the Younger’s complete lack of qualification and big pay day. Propublica is for the public like a democratic peoples republic is democratic, for the people, and a republic.

    The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother

    It is even worse than you outline- the Biden grift includes campaigns- he typically has multiple family members on the payroll:

    In 2008, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report, “A Family Affair” analyzing payments by members of Congress to family members- Joe Biden was among the “top 5 senators paying the most money in salaries or fees to family members.”

    His sister is VP of the company that handled Joe’s ads & she is a vice chair of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware ( I doubt it is a volunteer position).

    • #38
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Did ProPublica ever detail how Joe & Dr Jill Biden used a S Corp to avoid paying more than $500,000 in SS & Medicare & Obamacare taxes? You know the taxes that pay for the poor to get healthcare? Or that he learned that trick from John Edwards?

    This is as hard as they ever got back in 2008:

    Biden’s Cozy Relations With Bank Industry

    Then they got downright helpful and understanding:

    Follow the Money in the Ukraine Scandal

    It should not surprise you that this is a TDS hit-piece, covering for Biden, Inc. by throwing up Ukrainian villains and completely avoiding Biden the Younger’s complete lack of qualification and big pay day. Propublica is for the public like a democratic peoples republic is democratic, for the people, and a republic.

    The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother

    It is even worse than you outline- the Biden grift includes campaigns- he typically has multiple family members on the payroll:

    In 2008, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report, “A Family Affair” analyzing payments by members of Congress to family members- Joe Biden was among the “top 5 senators paying the most money in salaries or fees to family members.”

    His sister is VP of the company that handled Joe’s ads & she is a vice chair of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware ( I doubt it is a volunteer position).

    None of which is of interest to Propublica.

    • #39
  10. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson: I also think the income tax is perhaps the very worst manner of financing government.

    What makes you think that is what it’s for?

    I know it keeps several occupational industries afloat and those work diligently to keep the system from changing. There’s another thread by @ markcamp discussing inflation, the monetary form of which is coupled with the income tax to fleece the American people.

    Just the yearly work and the angst alone burdening individuals should be enough to demand the abolition of the income tax system.

    Also, if they didn’t produce both CPI and asset inflation, the tax receipts would go down so much that it would break every level of government. If your life is going to get better from automation and globalized trade, meaning better living through better purchasing power, they cannot let that happen. That is deflation.

    This dumb system is running out of runway.

    Prior to the invention of the Fed, you could have flat wages in everybody would still have better lives year over year because purchasing power and living standards were going up.

     

    • #40
  11. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson: I know it keeps several occupational industries afloat and those work diligently to keep the system from changing.

    In the beginning taxation was all about raising revenue. In the post-WWII world it’s all about control. It is the government’s carrot and stick. Tax breaks for things they want, fines on activities they don’t want.

    And with the adoption of Modern Monetary Theory, the only reason our fiat currency has any worth. Without it the greenback would be Zambian wallpaper.

    This is exactly right. The income tax adds no value except for them to push everything around with central planning. You could probably come up with alternative scenarios where it isn’t like that, but that is all moot at this point.

    • #41
  12. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    Congress, in its infinite wisdom, imposes sizeable tax rates then festoons the tax code with goodies and deductable provisions that are just their way of saying “Wink, wink. Just kidding about that rate, you super rich guys. We only meant to screw the uppity layers of the middle class.” That some rich guy wound up paying a lower rate than a senior postal worker with four kids is not news.

    I had a similar reaction. If no wrongdoing on the part of these taxpayers is alleged/discovered (and let’s not forget that tax avoidance is not synonymous with tax evasion, even though they seem to be used interchangeably by the PP folks), then ProPublica’s beef is with Congress and the laws they passed. You can’t get angry at taxpayers who are following the laws as written to their advantage. If you don’t like how a particular provision worked out in practice, then change the damned law.

    The other thing is, taxing them more or even seizing their wealth doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the fiscal picture of the government, and it can’t mathematically affect inequality.

    • #42
  13. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Ahhh … the IRS is entirely apolitical. We know nothing. Obama did not weaponize us!

     

     

    The anti-trump wing of the GOP doesn’t appreciate any of this. They don’t appreciate anything similar to any of this, either.

    • #43
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Goldgeller (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: … do not just sit back with a bucket of popcorn, since the real target is every American who has the smallest bit of the American dream, from a house to a little retirement nest egg. If Bezos owes on his unrealized wealth, than you owe, right now, on the current appraisal of your home and the paper increase in your retirement and any investment portfolio.

    Amen. And the national media ran with it without so much as a whisper about the illegality or the wealth vs income difference.

    The ABC national evening news breathlessly reported that “The wealthiest Americans pay less tax than most Americans”

    Definitely the leak was designed to help the Democrats push for both an income tax increase as well as a wealth tax.

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    ….

    Great point. My leaning is that 100% enforcement of taxation isn’t really optimal even for the government 1) I think most politicians are sensitive to taxes discouraging investment so you let some instances of evasion/avoidance slide to keep the most marginal people in the game 2) if there are people who really don’t want to pay the taxes and you make them pay the political consequences (to the politician) would be far worse than a small decline in still massive amounts revenue. 3) If it’s illegal at that high of a level the IRS probably wouldn’t spot it. Jeff Bezos and BIll Gates aren’t all claiming the same six kids as dependents (the IRS would spot that).

    It isn’t fair but there is a brutal logic to it all. Just like, in theory, the IRS could file everyone’s federal taxes for them but Turbo Tax and Quicken lobby them frequently to ask them not to do so, in exchange for providing a free federal filing service cause they can then up-sell you. Would the IRS give you all the deductions? I don’t know. So it’s an odd but not entirely perverse system.

    Is any of it fair? No. I guess that’s parts of the world sometime.

    EDIT: Also wanted to note that Obama/Biden did the IRS thing with Lois Lerner, and now the IRS, I guess, is paying the admin back for protecting them by breaking the law (again) to help Biden get a tax proposal through. Are they just going to go rogue under Dem admins?

    Very interesting.

    • #44
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Goldgeller (View Comment):
    EDIT: Also wanted to note that Obama/Biden did the IRS thing with Lois Lerner, and now the IRS, I guess, is paying the admin back for protecting them by breaking the law (again) to help Biden get a tax proposal through. Are they just going to go rogue under Dem admins?

    It’s important to recall how the Lois Lerner/IRS Tea Party Targeting case started.   The IRS didn’t get caught.  They admitted it.   They had a question planted with a friendly questioner at some conference, and I response to that question they admitted the targeting.   They wanted that story out.  They were playing for the ‘chilling effect’ of knowing that Obama/Xiden had weaponised the IRS against their political enemies.    I suspect the same thing here.    Not only does it advance their political case for higher income tax rates and a wealth tax, but it puts the donor class on notice…your tax files can be in the public eye at any time.    The stories I read and heard indicated that Propublica was in possession of the files of “thousands” of individuals.     And no one is under arrest for receiving stoked property.     They want us to know what they are doing … and to be afraid.

    • #45
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    This discussion is excellent. It’s cements my political views even more. What does GOPe or anything like that add to this situation?

    • #46
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson: I also think the income tax is perhaps the very worst manner of financing government.

    What makes you think that is what it’s for?

    I know it keeps several occupational industries afloat and those work diligently to keep the system from changing. There’s another thread by @ markcamp discussing inflation, the monetary form of which is coupled with the income tax to fleece the American people.

    Just the yearly work and the angst alone burdening individuals should be enough to demand the abolition of the income tax system.

    Also, if they didn’t produce both CPI and asset inflation, the tax receipts would go down so much that it would break every level of government. If your life is going to get better from automation and globalized trade, meaning better living through better purchasing power, they cannot let that happen. That is deflation.

    This dumb system is running out of runway.

    Prior to the invention of the Fed, you could have flat wages in everybody would still have better lives year over year because purchasing power and living standards were going up.

     

    I can’t prove this but I think it’s right. I follow a smart guy on Twitter that says if the average citizen can’t get 2% real return in a savings account, supply chains are going to collapse because there isn’t enough investment and liquidity in the system. Something like that. The whole idea that you can’t get a 2% return in a savings account and still have a civilization is completely nuts. Inflationism is a bad system that is about to collapse.

    • #47
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #48
  19. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    EJHill (View Comment):

    On the other hand, I feel somewhat vindicated. When some assured us that if Donald Trump were to release his taxes all sorts of illegalities would be revealed, I stated that if anything were actually there his tax returns would be leaked in a heartbeat. This shows that the IRS is still the den of political vipers we all believe it to be.

    As I have written, Trump’s tax returns would be the unlikely place to find any illegal tax evasion.

    Any tax evasion will more likely be uncovered in the tax evaders business and personal financial data, and then that data would have to be compared to the reported tax returns to verify all income has been reported and all reported expenses are accurate.

    Which is say anyone’s reported tax returns alone would be very unlikely to disclose anything illicit.

    The very rich also do not do their own tax reporting, that task is performed by the most highly qualified tax and legal experts in the Country and when these experts sign off on the tax returns they are also liable for any purposeful false information, unless they can prove they were also duped by the tax filer.   It is unlikely many prominent tax/legal experts would willingly break the law for some rich billionaire and jeopardize their own lucrative career.

    • #49
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

    • #50
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

     

    • #51
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Ahhh … the IRS is entirely apolitical. We know nothing. Obama did not weaponize us!

     

     

    The anti-trump wing of the GOP doesn’t appreciate any of this. They don’t appreciate anything similar to any of this, either.

    As I see it, the anti-Trump wing of the GOP was the gang that colluded with the Democrats in protecting the IRS with show hearings and no real consequences, precisely because gutting the Tea Party movement was as important to Mitch McConnell as it was to Obama. Both benefited at the ballot box as the “wrong kind” of candidates who would have upset the cozy D.C. business as usual lost the support needed to beat establishment funded candidates.

    • #52
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    Congress, in its infinite wisdom, imposes sizeable tax rates then festoons the tax code with goodies and deductable provisions that are just their way of saying “Wink, wink. Just kidding about that rate, you super rich guys. We only meant to screw the uppity layers of the middle class.” That some rich guy wound up paying a lower rate than a senior postal worker with four kids is not news.

    I had a similar reaction. If no wrongdoing on the part of these taxpayers is alleged/discovered (and let’s not forget that tax avoidance is not synonymous with tax evasion, even though they seem to be used interchangeably by the PP folks), then ProPublica’s beef is with Congress and the laws they passed. You can’t get angry at taxpayers who are following the laws as written to their advantage. If you don’t like how a particular provision worked out in practice, then change the damned law.

    As anyone who has ever been self-employed knows, the scandal is not what’s illegal, the scandal is what is legal.

     

    • #53
  24. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    From the data provided he paid 2%

    To the US. The narrative mentions credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. So, yes, they are concealing the truth.

    Oh wow. I understand credits for taxes paid to us states, but credits for taxes paid to foreign countries?

    If you earn income in a foreign country, that country is going to tax you. So, it would be unfair for Uncle Sam to then tax you again, on foreign earnings, as if you had not already paid tax. If foreign governments tax at an equal or higher rate to the U.S., then the tax you would owe here, on foreign earnings, gets cancelled by the tax you already paid on foreign earnings.

    Back in the late 1990s, due to a spin-off of a part of a company I once worked for and owned some stock in, I had shares of a company in the UK.  The dividends paid on that stock had UK withholding against them.

    Rather than having to file a UK tax return to get my $50 back (or whatever it was), US tax law allows you take a credit for the amount of foreign tax withheld.

    Not exactly the same thing, but same principle.

    • #54
  25. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    Congress, in its infinite wisdom, imposes sizeable tax rates then festoons the tax code with goodies and deductable provisions that are just their way of saying “Wink, wink. Just kidding about that rate, you super rich guys. We only meant to screw the uppity layers of the middle class.” That some rich guy wound up paying a lower rate than a senior postal worker with four kids is not news.

    I had a similar reaction. If no wrongdoing on the part of these taxpayers is alleged/discovered (and let’s not forget that tax avoidance is not synonymous with tax evasion, even though they seem to be used interchangeably by the PP folks), then ProPublica’s beef is with Congress and the laws they passed. You can’t get angry at taxpayers who are following the laws as written to their advantage. If you don’t like how a particular provision worked out in practice, then change the damned law.

    As anyone who has ever been self-employed knows, the scandal is not what’s illegal, the scandal is what is legal.

     

    Does this reveal why the Democrats want to cancel self=employment?

    • #55
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    Congress, in its infinite wisdom, imposes sizeable tax rates then festoons the tax code with goodies and deductable provisions that are just their way of saying “Wink, wink. Just kidding about that rate, you super rich guys. We only meant to screw the uppity layers of the middle class.” That some rich guy wound up paying a lower rate than a senior postal worker with four kids is not news.

    I had a similar reaction. If no wrongdoing on the part of these taxpayers is alleged/discovered (and let’s not forget that tax avoidance is not synonymous with tax evasion, even though they seem to be used interchangeably by the PP folks), then ProPublica’s beef is with Congress and the laws they passed. You can’t get angry at taxpayers who are following the laws as written to their advantage. If you don’t like how a particular provision worked out in practice, then change the damned law.

    As anyone who has ever been self-employed knows, the scandal is not what’s illegal, the scandal is what is legal.

    Does this reveal why the Democrats want to cancel self=employment?

    Let me give you an example of something that is 100% legal for self-employed people that people who work for a company can’t do.

    You are not allowed to claim mileage reimbursement for your first commute of the day (from your home to the office/”primary work site”).  You can claim mileage for any secondary travel you do (for example, a salesman who has to make multiple calls during the day).

    If you are self-employed, (for example a contract  IT person who works out of a client’s office) and have a home office, go down to the office in the morning and do some work (check your email, whatever).  Congratulations.  Since you have completed your travel to your “primary workplace”, you can now drive to any other work location (your clients office) and pay yourself mileage at the IRS rate (I haven’t checked lately, it used to be about 55 cents/mile) for the drive to the client site.  Not only is that mileage reimbursement not taxable to you as income, but the act of paying it is a business expense to your company and is deducted from the business income.

    That was one of of my favorite things from the three years I spent contracting – especially since for much of that time I had about a 70 mile roundtrip commute.

    • #56
  27. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I don’t get it. If this data was in the hands of the IRS, then would not the IRS would have already reviewed the filing and taken action if something was illegal? It is not as if a billionaire’s return would get lost in the shuffle with a bunch of e-filed EZ forms.

    I had a similar reaction. If no wrongdoing on the part of these taxpayers is alleged/discovered (and let’s not forget that tax avoidance is not synonymous with tax evasion, even though they seem to be used interchangeably by the PP folks), then ProPublica’s beef is with Congress and the laws they passed. You can’t get angry at taxpayers who are following the laws as written to their advantage. If you don’t like how a particular provision worked out in practice, then change the damned law.

    As anyone who has ever been self-employed knows, the scandal is not what’s illegal, the scandal is what is legal.

    Does this reveal why the Democrats want to cancel self=employment?

    Let me give you an example of something that is 100% legal for self-employed people that people who work for a company can’t do.

    You are not allowed to claim mileage reimbursement for your first commute of the day (from your home to the office/”primary work site”). You can claim mileage for any secondary travel you do (for example, a salesman who has to make multiple calls during the day).

    If you are self-employed, (for example a contract IT person who works out of a client’s office) and have a home office, go down to the office in the morning and do some work (check your email, whatever). Congratulations. Since you have completed your travel to your “primary workplace”, you can now drive to any other work location (your clients office) and pay yourself mileage at the IRS rate (I haven’t checked lately, it used to be about 55 cents/mile) for the drive to the client site. Not only is that mileage reimbursement not taxable to you as income, but the act of paying it is a business expense to your company and is deducted from the business income.

    That was one of of my favorite things from the three years I spent contracting – especially since for much of that time I had about a 70 mile roundtrip commute.

    This is why Democrats want to get rid of the gig economy and tax unrealized gains.

    • #57
  28. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    From the data provided he paid 2%

    To the US. The narrative mentions credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. So, yes, they are concealing the truth.

    Oh wow. I understand credits for taxes paid to us states, but credits for taxes paid to foreign countries?

    If you earn income in a foreign country, that country is going to tax you. So, it would be unfair for Uncle Sam to then tax you again, on foreign earnings, as if you had not already paid tax. If foreign governments tax at an equal or higher rate to the U.S., then the tax you would owe here, on foreign earnings, gets cancelled by the tax you already paid on foreign earnings.

    Back in the late 1990s, due to a spin-off of a part of a company I once worked for and owned some stock in, I had shares of a company in the UK. The dividends paid on that stock had UK withholding against them.

    Rather than having to file a UK tax return to get my $50 back (or whatever it was), US tax law allows you take a credit for the amount of foreign tax withheld.

    Not exactly the same thing, but same principle.

    I earned like 20 bucks in a foreign stock I bought and I had to pay Turbo Tax more than that just to file it! That’s insane.

    I will say that we will all end up at least filing taxes and we can argue about who should pay taxes later. But the tax code is political instrument, not just a monetary one. The system is literarally meant to be gamed. We should change it but we shouldn’t be mad at people playing a game buy its own rules. You can change the rules. But asking rule abiding rich people to abide by the rules but in a way that makes us feel good misses the point. I want that Rand Paul Carly Fiorina post card tax system. But a lot of people (even those who think they don’t depend on the government) will get their ox-gored and so there is no real will for that. 

    • #58
  29. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Goldgeller (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    From the data provided he paid 2%

    To the US. The narrative mentions credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. So, yes, they are concealing the truth.

    Oh wow. I understand credits for taxes paid to us states, but credits for taxes paid to foreign countries?

    If you earn income in a foreign country, that country is going to tax you. So, it would be unfair for Uncle Sam to then tax you again, on foreign earnings, as if you had not already paid tax. If foreign governments tax at an equal or higher rate to the U.S., then the tax you would owe here, on foreign earnings, gets cancelled by the tax you already paid on foreign earnings.

    Back in the late 1990s, due to a spin-off of a part of a company I once worked for and owned some stock in, I had shares of a company in the UK. The dividends paid on that stock had UK withholding against them.

    Rather than having to file a UK tax return to get my $50 back (or whatever it was), US tax law allows you take a credit for the amount of foreign tax withheld.

    Not exactly the same thing, but same principle.

    I earned like 20 bucks in a foreign stock I bought and I had to pay Turbo Tax more than that just to file it! That’s insane.

    I will say that we will all end up at least filing taxes and we can argue about who should pay taxes later. But the tax code is political instrument, not just a monetary one. The system is literarally meant to be gamed. We should change it but we shouldn’t be mad at people playing a game buy its own rules. You can change the rules. But asking rule abiding rich people to abide by the rules but in a way that makes us feel good misses the point. I want that Rand Paul Carly Fiorina post card tax system. But a lot of people (even those who think they don’t depend on the government) will get their ox-gored and so there is no real will for that.

    I think I am hearing a lot of agreement here that income tax is a bad approach for raising revenue for government.

    • #59
  30. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Goldgeller (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):
    From the data provided he paid 2%

    To the US. The narrative mentions credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. So, yes, they are concealing the truth.

    Oh wow. I understand credits for taxes paid to us states, but credits for taxes paid to foreign countries?

    If you earn income in a foreign country, that country is going to tax you. So, it would be unfair for Uncle Sam to then tax you again, on foreign earnings, as if you had not already paid tax. If foreign governments tax at an equal or higher rate to the U.S., then the tax you would owe here, on foreign earnings, gets cancelled by the tax you already paid on foreign earnings.

    Back in the late 1990s, due to a spin-off of a part of a company I once worked for and owned some stock in, I had shares of a company in the UK. The dividends paid on that stock had UK withholding against them.

    Rather than having to file a UK tax return to get my $50 back (or whatever it was), US tax law allows you take a credit for the amount of foreign tax withheld.

    Not exactly the same thing, but same principle.

    I earned like 20 bucks in a foreign stock I bought and I had to pay Turbo Tax more than that just to file it! That’s insane.

    I will say that we will all end up at least filing taxes and we can argue about who should pay taxes later. But the tax code is political instrument, not just a monetary one. The system is literarally meant to be gamed. We should change it but we shouldn’t be mad at people playing a game buy its own rules. You can change the rules. But asking rule abiding rich people to abide by the rules but in a way that makes us feel good misses the point. I want that Rand Paul Carly Fiorina post card tax system. But a lot of people (even those who think they don’t depend on the government) will get their ox-gored and so there is no real will for that.

    I think I am hearing a lot of agreement here that income tax is a bad approach for raising revenue for government.

    It’s the worst approach, except for all the others.

     

    • #60
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