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Thread: The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

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    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

    In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

    Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

    ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

    Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

    Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

    The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.


    https://www.propublica.org/article/t...oid-income-tax

    Huge bombshells in the rest of the article with more coming.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

    Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich.

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    Note the number they are comparing it to is "total wealth growth". Three of these four have the vast majority of their wealth in shares of their company (not addressing the fourth, I simply don't know.) Taxes are only due when those shares are sold, pretending that that's their income is being very deceptive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
    In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

    Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

    ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

    Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

    Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

    The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.


    https://www.propublica.org/article/t...oid-income-tax

    Huge bombshells in the rest of the article with more coming.
    Huh? I hope that it isn't a great secret that people pay "income taxes" on "income". In the US, people don't pay federal income taxes on wealth. Gosh, this should not be a secret or a surprise to many people. It's pretty well known.

    pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

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    What is strange is a person pays a higher percentage on income earned with sweat and daily effort than people pay on income they get by doing nothing.

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    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    One thing tant concerns me somewhat is that aren't these files supposed to be confidential?
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    Jeff Bezos' home.



    Jeff Bezos Yacht.



    Jeff Bezos other yacht.



    Yeah, these guys have so little income they have to live in squalor.

    The point is these guys get tax breaks unavailable to ordinary people and use them to pay no taxes to support the country they operate in.

    But a question remained: What would count as income and what wouldn’t? In 1916, a woman named Myrtle Macomber received a dividend for her Standard Oil of California shares. She owed taxes, thanks to the new law. The dividend had not come in cash, however. It came in the form of an additional share for every two shares she already held. She paid the taxes and then brought a court challenge: Yes, she’d gotten a bit richer, but she hadn’t received any money. Therefore, she argued, she’d received no “income.”

    Four years later, the Supreme Court agreed. In Eisner v. Macomber, the high court ruled that income derived only from proceeds. A person needed to sell an asset — stock, bond or building — and reap some money before it could be taxed.

    Since then, the concept that income comes only from proceeds — when gains are “realized” — has been the bedrock of the U.S. tax system. Wages are taxed. Cash dividends are taxed. Gains from selling assets are taxed. But if a taxpayer hasn’t sold anything, there is no income and therefore no tax.

    Contemporary critics of Macomber were plentiful and prescient. Cordell Hull, the congressman known as the “father” of the income tax, assailed the decision, according to scholar Marjorie Kornhauser. Hull predicted that tax avoidance would become common. The ruling opened a gaping loophole, Hull warned, allowing industrialists to build a company and borrow against the stock to pay living expenses. Anyone could “live upon the value” of their company stock “without selling it, and of course, without ever paying” tax, he said.

    Hull’s prediction would reach full flower only decades later, spurred by a series of epochal economic, legal and cultural changes that began to gather momentum in the 1970s. Antitrust enforcers increasingly accepted mergers and stopped trying to break up huge corporations. For their part, companies came to obsess over the value of their stock to the exclusion of nearly everything else. That helped give rise in the last 40 years to a series of corporate monoliths — beginning with Microsoft and Oracle in the 1980s and 1990s and continuing to Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple today — that often have concentrated ownership, high profit margins and rich share prices. The winner-take-all economy has created modern fortunes that by some measures eclipse those of John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

    Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich.

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    Elder Contributor barbos's Avatar
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    We have been over this million times. Why are you bringing this shit up over and over again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
    Jeff Bezos' home.



    Jeff Bezos Yacht.



    Jeff Bezos other yacht.



    Yeah, these guys have so little income they have to live in squalor.

    The point is these guys get tax breaks unavailable to ordinary people and use them to pay no taxes to support the country they operate in.
    You really need to complain to the people who make the tax laws, not the rich folks. Unless they are actually cheating on their taxes, they are just taking advantage of the tax breaks that are allowed.

    If you suddenly came into great wealth, would you pay a lot of extra tax to the government just so you will be paying your "fair share", like you think the other rich bastards here should do? If you did, you'd make the national headlines, and people would call you the biggest dumbfuck in the world.

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    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    We have been over this million times. Why are you bringing this shit up over and over again?
    I already said it above:

    The point is these guys get tax breaks unavailable to ordinary people and use them to pay no taxes to support the country they operate in.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

    Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich.

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    Elder Contributor barbos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    We have been over this million times. Why are you bringing this shit up over and over again?
    I already said it above:

    The point is these guys get tax breaks unavailable to ordinary people and use them to pay no taxes to support the country they operate in.
    And LP called your arguments "very deceptive" and he is right.

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