Apple Followed the Tax Code, USA Today Notes
Other IRS Offices Targeted Tea Party Groups, Too
The IRS draws barbs for bias, Apple for using loopholes. The deeper problem is the income tax. These 2013 excerpts are from: (1) Huffington Post, May 28, on IRS targeting; (2) USA Today, May 22, on Apple dodging by the Editorial Board; and (3) PJ Media, May 20, on abolishing some taxes by B. Johnson.
by Huffington Post, by USA Today Editorial Board, and by Bridget Johnson
IRS Scandal: Other Offices Sent Requests To Target Tea Party Groups
More evidence has emerged that the IRS' targeting of conservative groups extended beyond a few agents in a single city. Letters show requests about conservative groups were made by other IRS offices, too.
Lois Lerner, the woman who was in charge of the IRS unit reviewing applications for these conservative groups, was placed on paid administrative leave.
Upon being called to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, Lerner vowed that she did nothing wrong before invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who serves as chairman of the committee, said Congress is "obligated" to bring her back because she chose to make statements prior to acting on that right.
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JJS: US Congress opened a loophole for “charity”, however defined, while at the same time going after profit earned outside the US. The high rate and complex code, written by Congress, rewards companies for playing games.
Apple Income Tax Critics Avoiding the Truth
Tax code is a monument to Congress' quest to to carve out special favors for constituents and campaign contributors. If lawmakers want to do something useful, they should ditch the outrage and revamp the code. Like the individual tax code, the corporate version doesn't work.
One of those loopholes allows companies to avoid taxes on "foreign profits" until the money is brought home. This encourages companies to assign as much of their earnings as possible to countries with low corporate tax rates. Then, as their piles of overseas cash grow, they lobby for temporary tax holidays, such as the 5.25% rate included in a 2004 law, much in the way that people hoard overdue library books until the next time fines are waived.
Recently Apple decided to borrow $17 billion to finance a program to bolster its stock, even though the company is sitting on more than $144 billion in cash and investments. Selling bonds was cheaper than repatriating money from abroad.
The 35% rate could easily be dropped to the mid 20s, or lower, without any loss to the Treasury, simply by closing loopholes. This would prompt companies to repatriate at least some of their overseas profits while encouraging them to spend more time on their core businesses and less on tax avoidance.
Congress might also want to look at a "territorial" tax system similar to those used in a number of European and Asian nations. Under this approach, the U.S. wouldn't even bother trying to collect taxes from profits earned beyond its borders.
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JJS: A lower rate seems a step in the right direction, as do no loopholes and one rate for all. One might also consider different taxes altogether.
Libertarian Party Solution -- Don't Investigate — Eradicate!
“We must abolish the IRS and end any need for a regulatory agency that snoops into people’s private lives,” said Libertarian Party Executive Director Carla Howell.
“We must draw back total federal spending to the level of 1992, which is more than enough to protect our life, liberty, and property. This will allow us to balance the budget immediately, end the federal income tax completely, and give back an average of more than $12,000 to every family in America.”
The party noted that FDR, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama have all been caught using the IRS to target political enemies.
No investigation or probe will change this from happening again and threatening free speech, the Libertarians argued.
“Ending the income tax, abolishing the IRS, and cutting federal spending to the level of 1992 means no more deficit spending. This will stop inflation and stabilize prices."
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JJS: Libertarians say we can end the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, the death tax, and all federal payroll taxes. There will be no need for an IRS. All true, but what they leave out is we probably don’t need any tax at all and yet do need some agency to recover --- via user fees, lease rentals, and dues -- our common wealth. Perhaps the IRS could be converted into such an agency that would use auctions to find and charge the full market value for everything from deeds to land to charters for limited liability. Then it could disburse the surplus public revenue to citizens as dividends.
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 .
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