irs federal taxes tax code april

Firms Keep Wage Taxes, Don't Pay Profit Taxes
shakespeare tax breaks corporate tax rate scottish green party

Scottish Greens Hope to Shift Taxes to Site Values

People want to tax the rich. Why not quit creating the rich? We trim, blend, append five 2012 articles from: (1) Big Think, Apr 11, on tax code by D. Honan; (2) Reuters, Apr 12, on loopholes by D.C. Johnston; (3) TruthOut, Apr 13, on dodgers by B. Tarbotton (The Understory); (4) OpEd News, Apr 4, on the IRS by D. Schechter (author of the blog and several books); and (5) BBC, Apr 16, on Scots Greens.

by Daniel Honan, by David Cay Johnston, by Becky Tarbotton, by Danny Schechter, and by BBC

What do Shakespeare and the IRS have in common? The month of April. It is believed that Shakespeare was born and also died in April. The IRS is an institution that is virtually synonymous with the date April 15. The similarities end there.

The length of the U.S. tax code has tripled in one decade, to 3.8 million words. William Shakespeare only needed 900,000 words to say everything he had to say. Hamlet. Othello. The history plays. The sonnets. The whole shebang.

The tax code contains $1.1 trillion worth of "perverse economic incentives" in the form of deductions or exemptions for individuals and businesses.

To read more

JJS: Tax codes must be obese in order to incorporate all the loopholes.

“Paying Taxes to the Boss” traces the rise of 22 subsidy programs derived from personal income taxes (PIT) that together cost about $684 million a year. These programs often end up subsidizing companies to move existing jobs from one state to another. In other cases, they go to employers that threaten to move unless they get paid to stay put.

Total revenue losses are higher than the report states, since some states hide the costs. Deals cut with the states over the past two decades diverted $5.5 billion from public purposes to private gain.

General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and AMC Theatres enjoy deals to keep state taxes deducted from their workers’ paychecks. Foreign companies also enjoy such arrangements, including Electrolux, Nissan, Toyota and a host of Canadian, Japanese, and European banks.

Promising to retain jobs can be lucrative. General Electric invested $126 million updating part of its Ohio operations. In return, GE gets a tax credit equal to $115.3 million of its worker taxes, recovering 92 percent of its investment. A sweet deal for GE, but not its competitors.

Large companies often pay little or no state income tax in states where they have large operations. Some companies get discounts on property, sales, and other taxes.

It was not always this way. Letting companies keep their workers’ state taxes apparently began in Kentucky two decades ago.

These deals typify corporate socialism, in which business gains are privatized and costs socialized. They also mean government picks winners and losers, interfering with competitive markets. Leaders in both parties embrace these giveaways because they draw campaign donations from corporate interests and votes from people who do not understand that they are subsidizing huge companies.

To read more

JJS: Loopholes mostly enrich businesses already enriched by limited liability (by not being held financially responsible for their business decisions).

Two weeks ago it was announced that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Yet the actual corporate tax rate may not matter when corporations don’t pay anything close to it anyway. Bank of America and Alpha Natural Resources paid no taxes at all.

The nominal federal tax rate on the largest corporations is now 35 percent. State taxes, on average, bump this to 39.2 percent. This nominal rate ranks as the highest among developed countries. However, no major company really pays the nominal rate. Big companies enjoy a huge buffet of credits, shelters, deductions, and other preferences that reduce their rate to an average of 13 percent. Many profitable companies pay no federal income tax at all. Regardless of our nominal rate, our real corporate tax rate is among the lowest.

The ten banks, oil and coal companies that RAN researched are responsible for foreclosing on millions of people’s homes and polluting our air, water, and climate. At the same time, we found that they pay next to nothing into the US tax system. These dirty corporations don’t need any more handouts, bailouts, or subsidies. Our country does not have a money problem; it has a priorities problem. We’re subsidizing and bailing out multi billion dollar businesses at the expense of our economy, our climate, our health, and our future.

To read more

JJS: We all know taxes are not fair. So what are we going to do about it?

War tax resisters seemed to always get special attention from the IRS enforcement division.

I admire their bravery and defiance but haven't had the guts to join them.

Elsewhere, 50 percent of Ireland 's estimated 1.6 million homeowners failed to pay a new, flat-rate $133 property tax by the March 31 deadlines.

In 2010, 25 of the 100 largest U.S. companies paid their CEO more than they paid in U.S. taxes.

Those in the middle-income quintile can pay anywhere between 1.7 percent and 23.5 percent of their income in federal taxes.

About a quarter of the wealthiest Americans have a lower average tax rate (17.4 percent) than many of those in making far less money.

This may be the year for OWS to consider Occupying the IRS, or at least finding a dramatic way of challenging the lack of fairness in our tax codes as well as the "priorities" the tax money currently funds including wars and subsidies for those that don't need them.

To read more

JJS: Tax reformers might want to consider not only who pays but what activities get charged? That is, what makes for a sound tax base?

The Green Party, which has two MSPs, won its first Scottish council seats -- in Glasgow and Edinburgh -- at the last local government election.

To launch their manifesto Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone issued a joint statement, in keeping with the party's equality stance.

The Greens said they wanted to hand more powers to local councils and local communities, and to shake up taxation by bringing in a land-based levy.

To read more

JJS: Many taxpayers want to tax the rich but should they be creating the rich?

Lindy Davies: How did the one per cent get there? How do they stay there? How can the benefits of a global economy be shared by all, without environmental destruction? Here is a refreshingly unusual educational experience: a course in fundamental economics, understandable to any literate person -- yet containing insights that would benefit professional economists. The Henry George Institute's courses are available online or by regular mail, and each enrolled student works with an individual instructor. Our program is approved by the National College Credit Recommendation Service.

To read more

JJS: More people need to know how economies work, why they sometimes fail to, and what we can do about it.

Can we move beyond seeing ourselves as taxpayers? Is that self-image leftover from the days of brazen hierarchy when people saw themselves as serfs beneath kings? Then people had no other way to see reality. They could not see an end to monarchy; they just wanted their rulers to be good.

Similarly, many people today can not see an end to power and privilege; they just want the powerful and privileged to be well-behaved. Yet ever more people see themselves as worthy of equality, liberty, prosperity, and justice. They can have all four once they understand and demand geonomics.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

A New Heresy -- Abolish Corporate Income Taxes

The view of both us and a big newspaper

Tax loopholes unjustifiable by results

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