Tag Archives | Taxes

Greatest trick of the rich? Making us believe they pay all the taxes

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liz west (CC BY 2.0)

 

Dylan Matthews via Vox:

Typically when politicians fight about taxes, they fight about the income tax. That is to say, they fight about the tax that rich people hate — not the taxes poor people hate.

This leads to a really perverse dynamic, wherein the taxes the privileged pay are worthy of attention and the ones the poor pay are ignored. It paints a picture where the government is being supported on the backs of the wealthy, and the poor and middle class are free-riding. It leads to plans for various kinds of tax cuts and tax reforms that matter massively for the rich and very little for the poor.

The issue here is the ceaseless focus on the federal income tax. A report from the Joint Committee on Taxation found that most Americans (65.4 percent of filers) pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes.

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Internet Access Might Be Taxed For First Time

You have a friend request from Uncle Sugar.

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Source: Matt Britt (CC)

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Source: Matt Britt (CC)

The Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 is set to expire on Nov. 1, which means internet access and usage in the US could soon be taxed for the first time. Combined with efforts to standardize a sales tax on online purchases, these new taxes could mean a big hit on consumers. Congress could act to eliminate one or both taxes, but it is unlikely they will make any unpopular moves so close to the midterm elections.

Fortunately for Internet users, extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, these tax cuts are likely to get bundled with other internet taxes — specifically, state-level sales taxes on out-of-state online retailers (a Supreme Court decision had previously prohibited taxing online retailers without a presence in the state).

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Billionaire Wants More Votes For The Rich

Yes, billionaire investor Tom Perkins is absolutely serious, the 1% should get more votes because they pay more in taxes (and if you pay no taxes, you would get no vote). From CNN Money:

Tom Perkins suggested Thursday that only taxpayers should have the right to vote — and that wealthy Americans who pay more in taxes should get more votes.

The venture capitalist offered the unorthodox proposal when asked to name one idea that would “change the world” at a speaking engagement in San Francisco moderated by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky.

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said.

“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking.

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Bill O’Reilly Has A New Book Claiming That Jesus Died In Protest Of High Taxes

killing jesusI can’t even. Via the Daily Beast, early Christianity expert Candida Moss reviews a new scholarly work for the Fox News crowd:

Jesus was killed because of taxes. That’s more or less the message of Bill O’Reilly’s new book. In Killing Jesus: A History, Bill O’Reilly and writing partner Martin Dugard bring us their long-awaited “accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived.”

The basic argument is that Jesus died because he interfered with the taxation-heavy Roman revenue stream. The reason the Jews eagerly anticipated the Messiah, writes O’Reilly, is, “When that moment arrives, Rome will be defeated and their lives will be free of taxation and want.”

It’s true that the people did long for the Messiah and that the majority of them were poor and oppressed. But even if the Romans had been overthrown the people would have still been paying tithes to Jewish authorities to sustain the Temple, as Biblical and Jewish laws demand.

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The IRS War On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

IRS War On Medical MarijuanaCongressional Republicans (with the Obama administration’s bipartisan support) are all for using the IRS to target and decimate one sector of the U.S. economy — medical marijuana providers. Alternet reports:

The IRS employs Section 280E, a 1982 tax code addition that was a response to a drug dealer’s successful effort to claim his yacht, weapons, and even bribes as business expenses. Under 280E, individuals involved in the illicit sale of controlled substances — including marijuana, even medical marijuana in states where it is legal — cannot claim standard business expenses on their taxes.

“The Obama administration is using Section 280E to push these local and state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries out of business,” said Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana defense group Americans for Safe Access.

Most small businesses pay an effective tax rate of between 13% and 27% on net income, according to the Small Business Administration. With the unintended application of 280E, state-legal marijuana providers pay an average effective tax rate of 65-80%.

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If Corporations Dodge Taxes, Why Shouldn’t You?

Robert Scheer writes at Truthdig:

Go offshore young man and avoid paying taxes. Plunder at will in those foreign lands, and if you get in trouble, Uncle Sam will come rushing to your assistance, diplomatically, financially and militarily, even if you have managed to avoid paying for those government services. Just pretend you’re a multinational corporation.

That’s the honest instruction for business success provided by 60 of the largest U.S. corporations that, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year” shielding more than 40 percent of their profits from U.S. taxes. They all do it, including Microsoft, GE and pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories. Many, like GE, are so good at it that they have avoided taxes altogether in some recent years.

But they all still expect Uncle Sam to come to their aid with military firepower in case the natives abroad get restless and nationalize their company’s assets.

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Artist Steals Identities Of 200,000 Corporations Avoiding Taxes In The Cayman Islands

Loophole For All is a move of extremely questionable legality but unquestionable inspiration from Paolo Cirio. The press release and introductory video explain:
Paolo Cirio, contemporary artist and pirate, hacked the governmental servers of the Cayman Islands and stole a list of all the companies incorporated in the country. Now on Loophole4All.com, he is selling the identities of those companies at a low cost to democratize the privileges of offshore businesses. Paolo hijacks the identities by moving their addresses to his Caymans mailbox and issuing counterfeited certificates of incorporation from the Caymans company registry. This massive corporate identity theft benefits from the anonymous nature of those companies since the real owners’ secrecy allows anybody to impersonate them. Through Loophole4All.com, anyone can hijack a Caymans company, from 99¢ for a certificate of incorporation for a real company to $49 for a mailbox in the offshore country with mail rerouting.
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The Handbook of Human Ownership

A friend and cohort recently sent me a link to the Handbook of Human Ownership: A Manual for New Tax Farmers by Stefan Molyneaux of Free Domain Radio. I don't agree with every point he makes, but the satirical and wry delivery of a supposed powered elite's motivations, their twisted view of history and philosophy is fairly compelling. I may just be a newly devoted listener to this spectacular "veneer of critical thinking."
"If a reporter imagines that he is some sort of free-thinking iconoclast, he is in complete denial about the reality of his enslavement. This denial always manifests itself in hysterical attacks against anyone who dares to point it out, or who actually is a free thinker... To sum up: if we attack the slaves, we lose. If the slaves attack each other, which is so easy to orchestrate, we win."
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