Tag Archives | Taxes

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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The Big Lebowski Explains the Fiscal Cliff

Kind of a stretch by Jonathan Chait writing for New York Magazine, but on the other hand has anyone else done a better job of explaining the so-called fiscal cliff?
The Big Lebowski

The tax deal completes the first piece of a multistage showdown between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the federal budget and the economic recovery. The Obama administration made concessions, but the concessions were small, and it is gloating that it won a larger strategic victory by breaking Republican anti-tax absolutism. Republicans, including anti-tax absolutists themselves, mostly believe they got through the first and most unfavorable stage as intact as could be. (Grover Norquist: “We’re in this impossible, upside-down position, where if you do nothing, taxes go up. That’s what we got saved from. That goes away now.”)

In gaming out the next, and much more dangerous, stages, the crucial question is, which side is right? I believe Republicans are.

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Want Less Inequality? Tax It

Wikimedia Commons (CC)

British economist Arthur C. Pigou, friend and contemporary of beloved John Maynard Keynes, eventually not only came around to the Keynesian logic, but also expanded on the common-sense philosophy to promote social balance and checks with the gentle, invisible hand of the Public. By incentivizing what benefits the downtrodden (perhaps with subsidies) and disincentivizing poor practices (by taxing rampant, unregulated profits), a more reasonable parity between the classes could be reached, stimulating economic growth and benefiting everyone.

This doesn’t have to be a ‘redistributive’ scheme that pits neoconservatives against progressives. Indeed, such a rational, gradated, and bracketed system makes sense to anyone who believes in the American traditions of pragmatism, equality, openness, innovation and opportunity.

Via the American Prospect by Liam C. Malloy and John Case

But the conventional strategy for fighting inequality—far higher taxes on the rich—usually rests on a foundation of fairness, and the question of what’s fair and what’s unfair turns out to cut different ways, depending on your point of view.

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Banks Forcing Legal Pot Growers to Run Cash-Only Businesses

Picture: Joshua Sandoval (CC)

Even if you’re legally selling marijuana according to the laws of your state, the drug’s federal status may keep banks from doing business with you. Seems like the feds are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to the potential of marijuana as a taxable revenue, but what else is new?

Via NPR:

Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.

I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it’s still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.

So people who want to go into the marijuana business — who want to legally grow, distribute, sell marijuana in the state — are going to have to operate, basically, like drug dealers.

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Activists Present Corporate Tax Avoidance Award At Retirement Banquet

Dave Hartnett is the former top official at the HMRC, the branch of the U.K. government that handles tax collection. His tenure has been marked by controversy over deals in which corporations such as Goldman Sachs and Vodafone may have been let off the hook for billions in unpaid back taxes. Thanks to a group of protesters called WeAreTheIntruders, events at the black tie dinner celebrating Hartnett's service to the nation took an unexpected turn towards the surreal, culminating in a livid official's threatening to release the hounds on the surprise attendees:
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Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent In Taxes Under Paul Ryan’s Plan

Commentators have wondered whether the pick of the economically extreme Ryan as a running mate was an error in calculation, but it seems quite pragmatic to me — should Romney win the presidency, and be succeeded by Ryan, Mitt may end up effectively never having to pay taxes again. The Atlantic crunched the figures:

Under Paul Ryan’s plan, Mitt Romney wouldn’t pay any taxes for the next ten years — or any of the years after that. Now, do I know that that’s true. Yes, I’m certain.

Well, maybe not quite nothing. In 2010 — the only year we have seen a full return from him — Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did. How would someone with more than $21 million in taxable income pay so little? Well, the vast majority of Romney’s income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends.

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The Rich Have Hidden $21 Trillion In Global Tax Havens

Wealth inequality between the super-rich and everyone else has been vastly underestimated, the Guardian reports:

The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.

James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has conducted groundbreaking new research for the Tax Justice Network campaign group – sifting through data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private sector analysts to construct an alarming picture that shows capital flooding out of countries across the world and disappearing into the cracks in the financial system.

“These estimates reveal a staggering failure,” says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people.

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