Fun With The U.S. Tax Code

Via: National Review

 America’s tax code is a 74,000-page unintentional comedy.

By Deroy Murdock
April 12, 2013

As the Monday, April 15, tax-filing deadline mercilessly approaches, millions of Americans will cry as they calculate what they owe Washington and then fork it over. But, amid those tears, there will be plenty of laughs. The U.S. Tax Code is so tangled and twisted that University of Florida law professor Steven J. Willis speaks amusingly about “tax humor.” While not exactly the stuff of stand-up routines, America’s surreal tax code is a masterpiece of dark comedy.

When UF started its Graduate Tax Program in the College of Law, Willis recalls, “one requirement of the graduate school was knowledge of a foreign language. Well, that just wasn’t going to work. Then, the faculty showed the Graduate School the Internal Revenue Code, and they said that would do.”

Willis points to section 467(e)(1), which concerns pre-paid rent. It reads: “The term ‘constant rental amount’ means, with respect to any section 467 rental agreement, the amount which, if paid as of the close of each lease period under the agreement, would result in an aggregate present value equal to the present value of the aggregate payments required under the agreement.”

“I love the sentence because of the poetry,” Willis says. “I always have a student read it aloud and watch the faces.”

Read more: here

It’s not funny!
-Moose

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IRS to Monitor Facebook, Twitter for Tax Cheats

Via: RT

Published time: April 08, 2013 23:00

Is the IRS about to get too close for comfort? New reports brought to light by one privacy and data security expert suggest that this tax filing season the Internal Revenue Service may be monitoring social media for any clues of tax cheats.

According to Kristen Mathews, a partner attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who specializes in privacy and data security, there are reports that the IRS will be checking into individual Facebook and Twitter accounts for improprieties.

Though the agency says that it will only conduct such monitoring if a tax form raises a red flag, it is somewhat unclear to what extent it will be capable of delving into social media accounts.

Social media tools used by marketing companies, for example, are capable of conducting widespread searches for certain keywords, and though they can often take advantage of small “loopholes” in Facebook privacy settings, they are generally limited to publicly divulged information.

Data mining is now widespread on social media, as companies often use Twitter buzz and comments left on Facebook to measure consumers’ thoughts on particular products, or to get ahead of a potential public relations issue.

In regards to government monitoring of social media, there are already plenty of instances where information collected through both Twitter and Facebook has been used to file criminal charges against individuals. Just last week, New York officials announced the indictment of 63 East Harlem gang members, whose movements were tracked with the help of clues they left behind on their social media accounts.

Read more: here

Anything you do can and will be used against you…
Does this bother anyone?
-Moose

What if They Gave a War and Nobody Paid?

Via: Waging nonviolence

David Hartsough
March 26, 2013

As April 15 approaches, make no mistake: The tax money that many of us will be sending to the U.S. government pays for drones that are killing innocent civilians, for “better” nuclear weapons that could put an end of human life on our planet, for building and operating more than 760 military bases in over 130 countries all over the world. We are asked by our government to give moral and financial support to cutting federal spending for our children’s schools, Head Start programs, job training, environmental protection and cleanup, programs for the elderly, and medical care for all so that this same government can spend 50 percent of all our tax dollars on wars and other military expenditures.

My wife Jan and I have been war tax resisters since the war in Vietnam. We cannot in good conscience pay for killing people in other parts of the world.

Does it make sense to work every day for peace and justice and then contribute one day’s pay each week for war and war-making? In order to wage wars, governments need young men and women willing to fight and kill, and they need the rest of us to pay our taxes to cover the cost of soldiers, bombs, guns, ammunition, planes and aircraft carriers. The cost of just the wars being fought now is in the trillions of dollars.

Increasingly, we are able to recognize that most wars are based on lies — weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, and now al-Qaeda behind every bush and in every country our government wants to attack.

As our government uses drones that kill thousands of innocent people, we create ever more enemies, thus assuring that we will have wars to fight in perpetuity. The war against communism used to be the rationale for all our military expenditures. Now it is the war on terror. But the problem is that all war is terrorism. It just depends which end of the gun or bomb you are on. One person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist.

Read more: here

I agree!
-Moose

Because of Asset Seizures, I am Starting My New Company Outside California

Via: pando daily

By Bryan Goldberg
On March 25, 2013

Today was a bad day. After meeting with my tax accountant, I am now cutting a very large check to the State of California, all of which resulted from Proposition 30 and the “retroactive tax” that was levied on my 2012 income.

This despite the fact that I already paid my 2012 taxes back in September.

While the law stipulates that I must surrender this money, I refuse to acknowledge this as a tax at all. This is not a tax. This is an asset seizure plain and simple. The term “retroactive tax” is a despicable euphemism. It is no different than when Hugo Chavez used the benign-sounding “nationalize” to describe his seizure of private property in Venezuela.

Now before I go any further, let me tell you what I am not.

I am not a Tea Party member. I am not even a Republican. Twice I have voted for Barack Obama, and I was supportive of his tax compromise earlier this year. I am not a person who opposes paying taxes, even higher ones. I am a very reasonable person who respects the great opportunity that America has given to me.

But there is a very clear and unambiguous line between taxes — regardless of how high they are — and asset seizures. The State of California has taken money from me. Money that I already earned and paid taxes on, and I will not tolerate this act of theft.

Read more: here

Another good article….California is the worst…
-Moose

Why Does No One Speak of America’s Oligarchs?

Via: Naked Capitalism

One of the striking elements of the demonization of Cyprus was how it was depicted as a willing tool of Russian money launderers and oligarchs. Never mind the fact, as we pointed out, that Cyprus is not a tax haven but a low-tax jurisdiction, and in stark contrast with the Caymans and Malta, has double-taxation treaties signed with 46 nations and has (now more likely had) with six more being ratified. Nor is it much of a tax secrecy jurisdiction, according to the Financial Secrecy Index. Confusingly, in the overall ranking, lower numbers are worse (Switzerland as number 1 is the baaadest) but in the secrecy score used to derive the rankings, higher is worse, with 100 being utterly opaque. The total rank is a function of “badness” (secrecy score) and weight (amount of business done). You’ll notice that all the countries ranked as worse than Cyprus have secrecy scores more unfavorable than it, with the exception of Germany, which is a mere 1 point out of 100 less bad, and the UK, which scores considerably lower (Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands, would take issue with that reading, but he takes a more inclusive view of the boundaries of a financial services industry. For the UK, thus he not only includes the “state within a state” of the City of London, but also the UK’s secrecy jurisdictions, such as the Isle of Man, in his dim view of the UK as well as the US on secrecy). And even so, its greater volume of hidden activity gives it a much worse overall ranking. Of countries 21 tp 30, only 3 rank as less bad on secrecy: Canada, India, and South Korea.

And as far as how many oligarchs have deposits there, even the New York Times, in a story framed around a lawyer who sets up shell companies for Russian investors, mentions in passing at the end:

Any dirty money flowing through Cyprus, however, is dwarfed by funds generated by legitimate businesses looking for easy and legal ways to avoid taxes. There are so many Russian companies registered in Cyprus for tax reasons that the tiny country now ranks as Russia’s biggest source of direct foreign investment, most of it from Russian nationals through vehicles registered in Cyprus.

Read more: here

Switzerland Next: Swiss Banks Set To Foward Confidential Bank Client Data To U.S. Officials

Via: ZeroHedge

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2013

Complete the following SAT logic question:

Cyprus : Russian depositors :: Switzerland : [X]

If you answered X = US depositors (for now… soon many more), you are correct.

It has been no secret that in the aftermath of the crackdown of the Obama administration on Swiss-based “whale” accounts, Swiss banks promptly gave up on the legacy model of bank secrecy which allowed them to fund a massive banking sector that has assets (and therefore liabilities) six times greater than the GDP of Switzerland. That this has led to a literal Swiss fear and loathing of anything American, is no surprise: after all banks have blamed the informal US accords, in which the US DOJ can now expose any and every Swiss bank client for the massive layoffs that have ensued in the past several years, hitting not only megabanks UBS and Credit Suisse, but all the smaller players as well.

Now, in the aftermath of the deposit tax in Cyprus, it appears that “wealth taxation” in Switzerland is about to be taken up a notch.

As the leading Zurich financial media NZZ reported and Reuters summarized, the country has reached a deal in principle with the United States over undeclared funds hidden by wealthy Americans in Swiss offshore bank accounts. Naturally, the state was quick to deny it – after all, the last thing they need is a prompt exodus of all big offshore accounts held locally as fears of a Cyprus “wealth tax” on big accounts spreads.

Read more: here

Uh oh…they’re starting to go after the rich people….They’ll stop that for sure…
-Moose

The Fed Has Already Imposed A "Cyprus Tax" On U.S. Savers

Via: Street Talk Live

Written by Lance Roberts | Thursday, March 21, 2013

Over the course of the last few days I have been swamped with media calls to discuss the “deposit tax” on Cyprus account holders and the potential impact on global financial markets and, more importantly, the possibility of such an event occurring domestically. (See recent Fox Business Interview) So far, Cyprus has not been able to pass such a direct tax against depositors and has gone to Russia for a helping hand. However, the question of whether such an event could happen in the U.S. is a much more interesting point of discussion.

While I find it doubtful, but not totally improbable, that a direct deposit tax would be instituted by domestic banks – the issue of the Fed’s monetary policies, particularly since the last recession, has had a significant impact on “savers.” As we have discussed in the past individuals are not “investors” but rather “savers.” Therefore, in planning for retirement, of which there is a very finite and generally short time frame within which to achieve that objective, individuals must not only have a return ON their principal, to maintain purchasing power parity of those saved dollars, but also the return OF their principal so that it may be reinvested to generate further returns. One without the other, as has been see witnessed first hand over the last decade, is a losing proposition in the achievement of those retirement goals. As my friend Doug Short recently showed in his amazing commentary on working age demographics – the age group that should be seeing declines in employment, 65 and older, are actually showing increases. The destruction of principal since the turn of the century, which is far more disastrous than it appears when adjusted for inflation, has ended the dream of retirement for many individuals.

Read more: here

US Government Wants Six-Year Olds to Shoulder The Social Security Shortfall

Via: Sovereign Man

by Simon Black on March 20, 2013
Reporting from Santiago, Chile

In 1729, that Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver’s Travels fame) penned a famous satirical essay from England entitled “A Modest Proposal.” It’s still famous to this day as mandatory reading in many a high school literature class.

As you may recall, Swift addresses the problem of the ultra-depressed Irish economy and mockingly advocates that the Irish should sell their children for rich Englishmen to eat. Lovely thought.

I thought about the essay this morning when one of our Liberty Alert Service researchers alerted me to a new bill just introduced in the Land of the Free, HR 1160. The bill aims “to set the retirement benefits age for today’s six-year-olds at age 70.”

Maybe Swift wasn’t so far-fetched. Screw the kids.

No doubt, governments are adroit at finding ways to steal from people. As the case of Cyprus demonstrated over the weekend, they’re quite happy to propose confiscating funds at gunpoint.

They’re also adept at seizing assets. In the Land of the Free now, there are hundreds of state, local, and federal agencies which have all the power they need to seize your property for violating some obscure regulation.

Then there are more subtle methods like inflation– a slow, steady theft of people’s purchasing power. Or taxation– outright theft masquerading as patriotism.

This legislation is just another form of theft, and one of the most despicable– pushing today’s obligations onto the shoulders of future generations.

Read more: here

Bobby Jindal’s Tax Plan Is A ‘Posterize’ Slam Dunk Over Texas Governor Perry

Via: Forbes

During this year’s March Madness across state legislatures, governors are competing for bold new ways to grow their job base. This week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal detailed a jobs strategy that could take the Pelican State into the Final Four of tax competition.

Jindal’s tax bracketology is simple and clear to all businesses — a flat, fair, and simpler tax code is the better choice for moving Louisiana forward in economic growth. Jindal’s plan is far-reaching and intrepid — no state income tax, no corporate income tax, and no corporate franchise tax. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

In exchange, the state that lost $6 billion in adjusted gross income since 1995 would modernize its sales tax system to replace nearly $3 billion in state revenues. With lower property tax burdens than the Lone Star State in the Bayou, the loudest opponent to this plan should be Texas Governor Rick Perry.

By lowering the penalty Louisiana currently extracts from workers, nearly 400,000 small businesses with fewer than five employees would get a clear economic signal from their Louisiana Department of Revenue.

The more you produce, the more you can reinvest in a much friendlier business environment. If Washington, D.C., or Tea Party groups were looking for a game-changing state initiative, Baton Rouge just became fair tax headquarters.

Read more: here

Can this be true? Remember, it is coming from a politician’s mouth….
-Moose

Once Upon a Time, Corporations Paid Taxes

Via: Too Much

The current European revolt against CEO greed, if successful, might leave Corporate Europe looking just like Corporate America — in the 1950s.

March 10, 2013
By Sam Pizzigati

In America today, the New York Times reports, we’re living in “a golden age” — for corporate profits. These earnings have been leaping at a 20 percent annual clip. In fact, to find a year when corporations were grabbing as great a share of America’s income as they’re grabbing now, you have to go back to 1950.

But corporate execs in 1950 had cause to mute their celebrating. Unlike execs today, they paid heavy taxes on both their corporate and individual earnings.

In 1950, by statute, major corporations faced a 42 percent tax rate on their profits, a rate that would jump the next year to just over 50 percent. The share of profits corporations actually paid in taxes, after exploiting loopholes, averaged about 40 percent throughout the 1950s.

The tax hit on top executive individual incomes would be even heftier. In 1950, General Motors chief Charley Wilson took home more pay than any other U.S. chief executive. Wilson reported $586,100 in income that year, about $5.6 million in today’s dollars. He paid $430,350 of that income — 73 percent — in taxes.

Top corporate executives today operate in a totally different universe. The corporations they run, for starters, face a much smaller tax bill. The top corporate tax rate has dropped to 35 percent, and loopholes have proliferated.

In 2011, major U.S. corporations actually paid on average only 12.1 percent of their earnings in taxes. That same year, adds the Institute for Policy Studies, 25 major U.S. corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid in corporate income taxes. Corporate execs as individuals enjoy an even better deal these days than the corporations they run, both before and after taxes.

Read more: here

Sounds like a fairy tale..
-Moose

Which ‘Patriotic’ US Companies ‘Invested’ The Most Cash Overseas Last Year?

Via: Zero Hedge

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2013

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year. That shielded more than 40% of their annual profits from U.S. taxes, though it left the money off-limits for paying dividends, buying back shares or making investments in the U.S. The 60 companies were chosen for the analysis because each of them had held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011. Within the group of 60 companies, WSJ found 10 that parked more earnings offshore last year than they generated for their bottom lines.

Read more: here

The Hollywood Tax Story They Won’t Tell at the Oscars

Via: The Wall Street Journal

It’s easy to demand higher levies on the ‘rich’ when your own industry gets $1.5 billion in government handouts.

By GLENN HARLAN REYNOLDS

At the Democratic National Convention last year, actress Eva Longoria called for higher taxes on America’s rich. Her take: “The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers—she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”

Actually, nowadays an Eva Longoria who flipped burgers would probably qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and get a check from the government rather than pay taxes. It’s the movie set where she works these days that may well be getting the tax break.

Read more: here

Exotic Cars and Montana Plates

Via: The Truth About Cars

By Doug DeMuro on February 22, 2013

I have a mild obsession with license plates. Which is to say that I often pay extra for those special plates that I think look cool, but no one else ever notices. I also know a lot of weird license plate-related facts. Like, for example: did you know the last number in a Massachusetts plate corresponds to the month it expires? I proudly trot out that one every time I see a Masshole on the road. Surprisingly, my passengers never seem quite as intrigued as I am.

Occasionally, there are benefits to my license plate obsession. For example, I can always spot cars owned by annoying acquaintances in restaurant parking lots, which spares me from actually having to speak to them. And I have the immense honor of being the go-to person whenever my friends have a registration-related query.

One of the questions I get most commonly is: why do so many expensive cars have Montana license plates? And so, I will now answer that, virtually assuring that TTAC will lose the wealthy exotic car owner and Montana attorney readership, but perhaps gain a following among county tax commissioners.

Read more: here

This New Law Will Ensure You Pay More for Online Purchases…

Via: The Sovereign Man

by Simon Black on February 19, 2013

Reporting from Santiago, Chile

In another brilliant move aimed at destroying the few table scraps of economic freedom which remain in the Land of the Free, a bipartisan group of esteemed lawmakers in the United States Congress has introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.

Remember the golden rule of legislation: the more noble the name of the law sounds, the more disastrous its results. This one is no exception.

Generally speaking in the United States, retailers must collect state and local sales tax at the point of sale. When you walk into a Main Street shop in Anytown, California, you’ll pay the sticker price PLUS hefty city and state sales taxes that can easily be 10% or more.

But if you purchase goods through the mail from a company in, say, Nevada or Oregon, either through the mail or online, no sales tax is charged. This goes back to a 20+ year old US Supreme Court decision which exempted out of state companies from collecting sales tax.

Well, according to the intellectual luminaries in Congress, local retailers are at a disadvantage, effectively having to charge 10%+ more for their products than an out-of-state retailer.

And by God, they’re going to do something about it. After all, it’s just not ‘fair’ that mom and pop retailers on main street have to charge sales tax, while mom and pop retailers on the Internet do not.

Read more: here

How The Super-Rich Avoid Paying Taxes

Via: Zero Hedge

by Tyler Durden on 02/15/2013 20:23

If you’re one of the 1% of Americans who control over 40% of the country’s wealth, life is full of choices. Among them – how best to keep all that money away from the government? The U.S. economic system offers no shortage of loopholes allowing the ultra-rich to shortchange Uncle Sam. The following infographic explains how exactly do the super rich hide that much money from the government every year?

Read more: here

30 Major U.S. Companies Spent More on Lobbying than Taxes

Via: Daily Finance

Posted 11:00AM 12/13/11
By Eamon Murphy

Thirty large American corporations spent more money on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, according to a report from the nonpartisan reform group Public Campaign.

All of the companies were profitable at the time. In spite of this, and the massive federal budget deficit, 29 out of the 30 companies featured in the study managed through various legal tax-dodging measures to pay no federal income taxes at all from 2008 through 2010. The lone exception, FedEx (FDX), paid a three-year tax rate of 1%, nowhere near the 35% called for by the federal tax code.

In fact, the report explains, the 29 companies that paid no tax actually received tax rebates over those three years, “ranging from $4 million for Corning (GLW) to nearly $5 billion for General Electric (GE).” The total value of the rebates received was nearly $11 billion; combined profits during the same period were $164 billion.

Read more: here

And Why Do We the Citizens Pay Taxes?
-Moose

30 Major U.S. Companies Spent More on Lobbying than Taxes

Via: Daily Finance

Posted 11:00AM 12/13/11
By Eamon Murphy

Thirty large American corporations spent more money on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, according to a report from the nonpartisan reform group Public Campaign.

All of the companies were profitable at the time. In spite of this, and the massive federal budget deficit, 29 out of the 30 companies featured in the study managed through various legal tax-dodging measures to pay no federal income taxes at all from 2008 through 2010. The lone exception, FedEx (FDX), paid a three-year tax rate of 1%, nowhere near the 35% called for by the federal tax code.

In fact, the report explains, the 29 companies that paid no tax actually received tax rebates over those three years, “ranging from $4 million for Corning (GLW) to nearly $5 billion for General Electric (GE).” The total value of the rebates received was nearly $11 billion; combined profits during the same period were $164 billion.

Read more: here

And Why Do We the Citizens Pay Taxes?
-Moose

Facebook Paid No Income Taxes in 2012: Report

Via: CNBC

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 | 5:27 PM ET

By: Cadie Thompson

Facebook didn’t pay any federal or state income taxes last year and will receive a hefty tax refund, according to a recent report.

How did the social network manage to swing such a nice tax break?

Well, according to the Citizen for Tax Justice report the company benefited from the tax deductability of executive stock options, which reduced all of its income taxes by $1.03 billion in 2012.

Read more: here

Unbelievable!
-Moose

Facebook Paid No Income Taxes in 2012: Report

Via: CNBC

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 | 5:27 PM ET

By: Cadie Thompson

Facebook didn’t pay any federal or state income taxes last year and will receive a hefty tax refund, according to a recent report.

How did the social network manage to swing such a nice tax break?

Well, according to the Citizen for Tax Justice report the company benefited from the tax deductability of executive stock options, which reduced all of its income taxes by $1.03 billion in 2012.

Read more: here

Unbelievable!
-Moose

A Way to Help Everyone in the US … A Tax Holiday

By Moose Feb 11,2013

My idea is to have the Federal Government to declare a hiatus or holiday so to speak, to suspend the payment of Federal and State income taxes. This would really help stimulate the economy as people would instantly have more cash to spend…More jobs would result.

For a lot of people such a plan would dramatically improve their quality of life…

I know you’re asking yourself some questions…

Where is the Government going to get the trillions of dollars it needs to continue to wage war on everyone on the planet, as well as spy on everything we do?

Where will the States get the continued funding to piss away on layers of graft and bureaucracy?

I have the solution..It seems so simple once I came up with it.
(Sort of like my registering all current and future criminals idea to prevent crime).

You merely have the Fed make up the money(debt), like they are doing right this moment with QE 3 or 7 or whatever it is by now. I mean really, they could change everything around…And those TBTF banks that they bailed out that are just sitting on the cash….Have them offer 0 percent interest loans during the “Tax Holiday” as well.

The States also need to accommodate this “Holiday” ..Just have Bernanke just create a few extra trillion to fund the necessary coffers…Again, amazingly simple!

Again, for extra revenue, Lobbyists could just pay their bribes directly to the respective local or national treasuries. Eliminate the middle man, so to speak.

Ooh, another crazy idea..The Fed could require that all US companies hold their cash here…not in the Caymans,etc. And by a certain date…preferably right around the beginning of the “Tax Holiday”!

And in order to be effective, this should be a ten year program…I mean if we sell it like a War on the Bad Economy then we should easily be able to get ten years out of it…We’re good at that…I mean as Americans and everything..

And if we’re gonna “Kick the can down the road”, as the great Krugman says, we may as well launch “The can” with one of those old Saturn Boosters we’ve got laying around…

Peace