Posts Tagged ‘IRS’

The IRS only audits working people, because it’s cheaper

October 7, 2019

The IRS only audits working people, because it's cheaper.
Leona Helmsley said “Only the little people pay taxes.”  That’s who the IRS audits, any way.

“On the one hand, the IRS said, auditing poor taxpayers is a lot easier: The agency uses relatively low-level employees to audit returns for low-income taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit. The audits — of which there were about 380,000 last year, accounting for 39% of the total the IRS conducted — are done by mail and don’t take too much staff time, either.”

“On the other hand, auditing the rich is hard. It takes senior auditors hours upon hours to complete an exam. What’s more … ‘the rate of attrition is significantly higher among these more experienced examiners.’ As a result, the budget cuts have hit this part of the IRS particularly hard.”

“For now, the IRS says, while it agrees auditing more wealthy taxpayers would be a good idea, without adequate funding there’s nothing it can do.”

“Since 2011, Republicans in Congress have driven cuts to the IRS enforcement budget; it’s more than a quarter lower than its 2010 level, adjusting for inflation.”

— “IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor,” Paul Kiel, ProPublica

Related:

“The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You,” David Leonhardt, New York Times

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Rule of Law? That’s Just for Little People.

May 9, 2019
Rule of Law? That's Just for Little People.

The Mnuchin family sees $1 bills for the first time.

Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Plutocrat Steven Mnuchin, in defiance of federal law, has refused to send President Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee for oversight review. He’s clearly going to go to the slammer in an attempt to shield Mr. Trump’s long-time business chicanery from law enforcement. Although it won’t be as comfy as his 9-bedroom house in DC or his Bel Air estate, perhaps Mr. Mnuchin can bunk with fellow Trump fixer Michael Cohen at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution.

More:

“Here’s the Law That Requires Mnuchin to Turn Over Trump’s Taxes, or Lose His Office and Go to Prison,” David Cay Johnston, Daily Beast

“Bill Barr Is The Sideshow, Steven Mnuchin Is The One Who Needs To Lose His Job And Go To Jail,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Turn over Trump’s tax returns? IRS has no excuses,” Brian Galle, The Hill

“Why Mnuchin Doesn’t Want You to See Trump’s Tax Returns,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

Related:

“Why rich convicts hire prison consultants,” Ritu Prasad, BBC News

Updates:

“House committee subpoenas Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig over Trump tax returns,” Jeff Stein, Washington Post

“House Ways and Means Chairman Subpoenas Trump Tax Returns,” Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

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House Ways and Means Wants To See Trump’s Taxes

April 4, 2019

Congress Wants To See Trump's Taxes

Congressman Richard E. Neal (D, MA-1), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has asked the IRS for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns, under authority of legislation passed in 1924 to deal with the Teapot Dome Scandal. The president said he was “not inclined” to comply. That’s not surprising; the Teapot Dome Scandal sent the Interior Secretary to jail.

For four decades, presidential candidates have been in the habit of making their tax returns public in pursuit of transparency. Candidate Trump promised to do so, over and over, then failed to deliver on this campaign promise after the election. The President claims his taxes are being audited, but that’s not a valid reason to refuse compliance.

What is Donald Trump hiding? Perhaps:

— He hasn’t paid any taxes, as his previous state tax releases indicate

— He’s not as rich as he claims

— He hasn’t given as much to charity as he claims

— His business activities are somehow irregular and illegal

— He has had previously undisclosed foreign business dealings, perhaps with Russia

Those last two points would certainly be of interest to Congress.

Timothy O’Brien, author of TrumpNation, got to peek at Trump’s taxes after Mr. Trump sued him for libel for writing that Trumpdid some shady dealing and isn’t as rich as he claims. Mr. O’Brien can’t talk about what he learned from the Trump papers for legal reasons. Suffice it to say that Donald Trump lost that lawsuit.

More:

“I’ve Seen Trump’s Tax Returns and You Still Haven’t,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

Updates:

“Trump on House getting his tax returns: ‘They’ll speak to my lawyers,’” Rebecca Morin and Anita Kumar, Politico

“White House maneuvers to block release of Trump’s tax returns,”  Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Jeff Stein, Washington Post

“Trump lawyer calls on Treasury to reject Democrats’ demand for tax returns until Justice Department weighs in,” Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

“Mulvaney says Democrats will ‘never’ see Trump’s tax returns,” Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

Related:

“Trump’s handpicked IRS chief and IRS legal counsel both have ties to Trump businesses,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Trump Asked That Confirmation of I.R.S. Counsel Be a Priority,” Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

“Democrats seeking Trump’s financial documents from his bank,” Rachael Bade, Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Tax Day Doesn’t Have to Suck

April 17, 2018

“The IRS could actually do your taxes for you, saving billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of hours, and eliminating the pain of tax day.” A Vox video.

More:

“Doing taxes is such a pain that Americans forgo billions in savings to just get it over with,” Dan Kopf, Quartz

Related:

“IRS electronic filing system breaks down hours before midnight deadline,” Jeffrey Stein and Mike DeBonis, Washington Post

“Americans don’t pay enough taxes,” Paul Waldman, The Week

“Trump files for an extension on his taxes,” Louis Nelson, Politico

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Trump’s Taxes: He Screwed His Investors, Not Just Uncle Sam

October 5, 2016

Trump's Taxes: He Screwed His Investors, Not Just Uncle Sam

Donald Trump paid no personal income taxes for 18 years by deducting the $916,000,000 he lost in 1995, reported the New York Times in a story based on leaked information from state tax returns. To do this Mr. Trump had to forgo the depreciation deductions on his properties, which included his Atlantic City casinos. Donald Trump formed a public corporation and funded his casinos with securities he sold to ordinary investors impressed with his celebrity and a promise of 14 percent interest who were unaware of the tax burden The Donald had imposed on the properties by taking personal deductions on them. As the company collapsed and the bond value plummeted 70 percent, the CEO paid himself a $5 million bonus and bought a private jet. So much for Mr. Trump’s sense of “fiduciary duty.”

As Drew Harwell explained in the Washington Post:

“Many of those who lost money were Main Street shareholders who believed in the Trump brand, such as Sebastian Pignatello, a retired private investor in Queens. By the time of the 2004 bankruptcy, Pignatello’s 150,000 shares were worth pennies on the dollar.

‘He had been pillaging the company all along,’ said Pignatello, who joined shareholders in a lawsuit against Trump that has since been settled. ‘Even his business allies, they were all fair game. He has no qualms about screwing anybody. That’s what he does.’”

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Gaming the System

September 16, 2011

Gaming the System

“The United States government offers tax incentives to companies pursuing medical breakthroughs, urban redevelopment and alternatives to fossil fuels.

It also provides tax breaks for a company whose hit video game this year was the gory Dead Space 2, which challenges players to advance through an apocalyptic battlefield by killing space zombies.”

— “Rich Tax Breaks Bolster Makers of Video Games,” David Kocieniewski, New York Times

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Viet Nam Vet Murdered by Terrorist

February 24, 2010

Vietnam Veteran Murdered by Terrorist

A terrorist crashed a small aircraft into a Texas office building last Thursday, killing Vernon Hunter, age 68,  a civil servant.  Mr. Hunter served 20 years in the United States Army, including two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was a father and grandfather, an usher at Austin’s Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church. His wife, a co-worker, was in the burning building when he died. 

Many public figures were too busy praising the killer as a “hero” to mourn Mr. Hunter’s passing.

 

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