Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

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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Taxing the Super-Rich

August 14, 2019

What is a wealth tax, anyway? Alvin Chang explains. A Vox video.

There’s a related fact sheet here

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Hey GOP, why aren’t we filing taxes on a postcard?

April 10, 2019

Remember all those times Republicans promised you’d be filing your Federal Income Taxes on postcard? The 1040 may be physically smaller, but it’s 2-sided, and you’ll have to attach a bunch of other new forms to it. Instructions for the 1040 total 117 pages. After all, it’s not like they shrank the tax code, just the tax rates for the 1 Percent.

A Vox video by Madeline Marshall and Matthew Yglesias.

Related:

“Only 17 Percent of Americans Think They’re Benefiting From Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut,” Daily Beast

“Survey: Few people think they’re getting a tax cut under Trump’s law,” Naomi Jagoda, The Hill

“Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax.” Justin Elliott, ProPublica

“The Tax Law’s Big Winner Is the Millionaire CEO,” Joe Light, Bloomberg

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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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Trump Family: Tax Scams All the Way Down

October 4, 2018

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The New York Times revealed a multi-million-dollar case of Trump family tax fraud last week. Poppa Fred Trump set up phony companies to funnel money to his progeny withour paying gift tax to the IRS — that is, to American taxpayers. He also routinely undervalued properties. Donnie Trump was “earning” $200,000 a year as a 3-year-old,  and was a millionaire by age 8. So much for the “self-made-man” myth. Donald Trump seems to have continued the chicanery with daddy’s money when he was full grown. No wonder he’s never revealed his personal tax returns, despite his campaign promises.

Times reporter Susanne Craig first looked at the financial papers of President Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, submitted to the Senate when she was nominated as a federal judge. An odd $1 million payment from a mysterious family-owned company stood out, and led to the Times investigation.

The charges were denied by a Trump family attorney, and of course Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied about them. President Trump called the Times story “old and boring,” but didn’t deny the story’s findings.Mr. Trump has been caught committing tax fraud before, and New York State tax authorities are looking into the new allegations.

More:

“Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father,” Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and David Barstow, New York Times

“Fred Trump’s Tax Scheme Was Quite Impressive,” Matt Levine, Bloomberg

“Republicans Rigged the System to Enable Crimes Like Trump’s Tax Evasion,” Harry Cheadle, Vice

“Trump’s Shady Accounting Playbook for the Hyper-rich,” Annie Lowery, The Atlantic

“The Trump Family’s Tax Dodging Is Symptomatic of a Larger Problem,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“How Times Journalists Uncovered the Original Source of the President’s Wealth,” Melina Delkic, New York Times

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The new US tax law, explained with cereal

January 23, 2018

The most important meal of the day: Vox explains the new US tax law with cereal.

More:

“The Republican tax bill, explained with a bowl of cartoon cereal,” Alvin Chang, Vox.

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Tax Rates: Adam Smith Speaks

November 8, 2017

Tax Rates: Adam Smith Speaks

“The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess …. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776

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How Tax Breaks Help the Rich

November 3, 2017

“The gap between the rich and the poor in America looks more like developing countries than other Western nations.” A Vox explainer.

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It’s Magic! Trump’s Tax Cut Will Pay for Itself.

April 27, 2017

It's Magic! Trump’s Tax Cut Will Pay for Itself.

On Wednesday the Trump Administration rolled out its Tax Plan, less a ‘plan’ than a plutocrat’s wet dreamCorporate tax rate slashed, huge new pass-through business loophole opened, giveaways to wealthy heirstaxes for the rich slashed and their nannies and mansions subsidized through tax deductions.

This won’t produce a federal revenue shortfall, the Tax Fairy promises; tax cuts for the wealthy will pay for themselves.  How? Magic! The same magic that worked so well during the 30 years of the GOP’s trickle-down, deregulating, big-corporate, no-taxes-for-the-rich philosophy, the failed policies that crashed the world economy when Republican leadership was last inflicted upon the nation, making the rich even wealthier at the expense of the rest.

More:

“Trump’s treasury secretary: The tax cut ‘will pay for itself,'” Damian Paletta and Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post

“Mnuchin: Our Tax Cuts for the Rich Are Not About Cutting Taxes for the Rich,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The New GOP Math: ‘Dynamic Scoring’ Doesn’t Add Up.” NotionsCapital

Update:

“37 top economists all say Trump’s tax plan won’t pay for itself,” Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

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Cash-Strapped Palm Beach Considers ‘Mar-a-Lago Tax’

April 20, 2017

Cash-Strapped Palm Beach Considers 'Mar-a-Lago Tax'

Palm Beach County gave Donald Trump tax breaks when he bought Mar-a-Lago, but his weekend trips to the “Winter White House” are breaking the county’s budget. A typical Donald Trump visit costs the county more than $60,000 a day for police overtime, and the county estimated its costs for Trump’s visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at over $250,000. That’s why County Commissioner Dave Kerner is proposing a tax on Mar-a-Lago to cover the costs. It’s that or increased taxes for local residents, whose lives are already disrupted by the president’s weekend golf jaunts.

Of course the Trump Administration could reimburse the county and add that to the $3 million in federal tax dollars each Mar-a-Lago trip costs all of us.

More:

“‘He’s baaaack!’: Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago are stretching Palm Beach’s budget and locals’ patience,” Abby Phillip and Lori Rozsa, Washington Post

“Palm Beach official proposes Mar-a-Lago tax to pay for Trump visits,” Brooke Seipe, The Hill

Related:

“Trump has spent one out of every five minutes of his presidency in Palm Beach,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“GOP Senator: ‘I Do Wish’ Trump Would Host State Visits In DC, Not Mar-A-Lago,” Esme Cribb, TPM Livewire

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