IRS: Some Rich Over-Exaggerate their “Gifts” of Land
|November 28, 2013||Posted by Staff under Taxes|
This 2013 excerpt of Bloomberg, Nov 5, is by Richard Rubin.
The IRS is challenging a complex and obscure tax break that benefits some of the nation’s wealthiest property owners. Without giving up land, they donate the hard-to-calculate value of a perpetual promise to leave the property undisturbed. For that, they claim a big tax deduction.
The conservation easement break is one of hundreds scattered throughout the tax code that members of Congress are reviewing.
Between 2003 and 2006, taxpayers saved an estimated $4 billion through easement donations, about 6 percent of the revenue that the U.S. government will forgo because of the mortgage interest deduction next year alone. The U.S. tax system raised $2.8 trillion last year.
Congress first specifically allowed tax deductions for conservation easements in 1976 and made the rule permanent in 1980.
The Obama administration has made little headway in its effort to push lawmakers to prevent golf courses and air rights above historic buildings from qualifying for the break.
Ed. Notes: The problem with giving someone a little unearned income is then they feel like they deserve a lot more. Then they go too far, even for the usually docile IRS. It must mean that the government debt is worrying even some in the government — if the federal debt gets too big, the even the IRS could lose its source of funding!
A world without an IRS does sound like a better place to live. However, they IRS could become useful if it were to calculate the income that’s not earned by individuals but earned by society, which is all our spending for goods and services never produced by labor or capital, things such as land, oil, the airwaves, ecosystem services, etc.
If people saw how manny trillions they spent as a society for using some land, payments made to a tiny group of absentee owners, speculators, and lenders, then they might finally see such spending as our common wealth, as society’s surplus, as a font to share.