Double-taxation is bad news, for sure, but the use of offshore tax-havens and profit-shifting allows big companies, especially tech companies, to hide their profits from taxation, starving the treasuries of the countries they colonize and giving them an unfair advantage over their smaller, domestic competitors.
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Trump finance secretary/supervillain Steve Mnuchin says he wants to unilaterally allow Americans to factor in inflation when calculating capital gains; the move would cost the US government $100 billion and 97% of that would go to the top 10% of US earners (66% would go to the 0.1% of US earners).
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The Republican tax plan will exempt the 0.2% of Americans who pass on estates of $5.49 million (each) to their heirs, a tiny elite that includes most of the Trump cabinet of one-percenter plutocrats; under the Senate proposal, that exemption would double.
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The logic of Republican "trickle down" economics is that giving "job creators" more money per hour worked incentivizes them to keep working, and thus creating more jobs.
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"Tax Reform for America" is a US Chamber of Commerce-backed astroturf group that features testimonials from "mom and pop" business owners who back Trump's tax plan, which will overwhelmingly benefit the top 1% wealthiest in America at the expense of working people and the middle class. Read the rest
Joseph Stiglitz, winner of a Nobel prize in economics, describes the foolishness of enacting further tax cuts for the wealthy in America, and the structural impediments that stand in the way of Trump's pursuit of this foolish goal. Read the rest
This week on the Tax Justice Network's podcast (previously), they profile (at 20:40) the OECD's Tax Inspectors Without Borders, through which poor countries loan each other their most effective tax collectors to help catch the tax-dodging multinational corporations who drain the countries' economies -- and the organization transfers tax enforcement expertise in the process. Read the rest
In Sweden a legislative proposal will let repair shops will charge lower sales-tax, and allow people who repair their appliances and bicycles be to write off their expenditures. Read the rest
America is in the grips of one of the worst housing crises in its history, with 1 in 3 households spending more than 30% of their income on mortgage or rent payments; the US government has two kinds of housing subsidy, one for poor renters and the other intended for middle-income mortgage payers, but guess who gets most of the money? Read the rest
In Millionaire Migration and the Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data, Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young builds on his substantial research on "millionaire migration," to show that only a small minority of millionaires move when local taxes go up -- far too few to represent a net loss to the tax coffers. Read the rest
The company will abandon the pretense that its UK sales are consummated in Luxembourg and that the money floats in a state of taxless grace in the middle of the Irish Sea. Read the rest
The economically precarious country has a remarkably low rate of corporate tax, and makes up the difference with high, regressive consumption taxes, including the one of the highest rates of VAT in Europe. Read the rest
Ernie Chambers, a long-serving, African-American state senator, has proposed a bill that would strike the word "religious" from the list of groups that are property-tax-exempt. Read the rest
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
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On November 1, Public.Resource.Org released a new service which put 6,461,326 US nonprofit tax returns on the net for bulk download, developers, and search engines to access. We offered to give the working system to the government, and also sent them a few suggestions on ways they could better meet their mission and save themselves a boatload of money. Since then, we've been frantically trying to get the government's attention to take decisive action, but to no avail.
The way the government makes the nonprofit tax returns available to the public is broken in many ways. The IRS insists on selling the tax returns as a monthly feed of DVDs costing $2,580 per year. Each month, I get a stack of a dozen DVDs, each one has 60,000 1-page TIFF files on it. This is just so lacking in clue, and even simple suggestions like using Dropbox instead of mailing us DVDs have been ignored.
In terms of breakage though, the truly big problem is the deliberate dumbing down of tax returns for large nonprofits in order to avoid what an IRS official actually said to us would be "too much transparency." All the big nonprofits have to e-file their tax returns. E-filing means they submit actual machine-processable data encoded in XML.
The way the IRS releases that information is mind-boggling. They image the data onto tax forms and then release them as 200 dot per inch TIFF files. So, instead of having a computer program extract the gross revenue, or the CEO salaries, or whether or not the nonprofit operates a tanning salon on premises (an actual question on the form!), you get something that is so bad that OCR is difficult.
Jeff Reifman sez,
After granting Microsoft amnesty on its $1.5 billion Nevada tax dodge, state tax collectors are aggressively targeting Seattle dance clubs and night clubs over an obscure 'opportunity to dance' tax.
Auditors search the Internet to find out whether people dance at specific clubs. One clubowner reports an auditor told him: 'You have the opportunity to dance, and we verified it by 8 or 10 different references on Yelp.'
"My auditor came in with an obituary of a girl who committed suicide,"says another club owner. "When I argued that we aren't primarily a dance club -- we have 'No Dancing' signs up everywhere -- she flashed this obit that said the girl liked to dance at [our club].
The Legislature gave up $100 million annually to Microsoft so it can target the city's music scene to try to make up $880,000.
The Century Ballroom, a popular dance club, is holding ongoing fundraisers to offset its $250,000 in back taxes. Dancers are effectively funding Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge.
Seattle Dance Clubs Fundraise to Pay Microsoft’s Tax Bill
(Thanks, Jeff!) Read the rest
"Cash-strapped Ukraine on Wednesday reminded entertainers making money by posing as Did Moroz - the local version of Santa Claus - and his helpers to pay income tax." [Reuters] Read the rest
UK fair tax/anti-cuts activists crashed the Key Haven Publications' Practical Tax Planning conference in Oxford, where Dave Hartnett, the outgoing top UK taxation bureaucrat, was giving the final speech of his career. Hartnett was responsible for widely criticized blunders that forgave billions in tax liability owed by Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs. Posing as representatives of Goldman Sachs and Vodaphone, they entered the hall during Hartnett's after-dinner speech to present "The Golden Handshake Award for Lifetime Achievement in Corporate Tax Planning." After a few moments' confusion, the conference organisers twigged to what was going on, and began to say some of the weirdest, most stagey-sound posh=weirdo utterances heard this side of a Mr Burns impersonator's night at a cabaret:
"Everybody, these people are trespassers and intruders. This is a [garbled] to trespass, and you will go sir, you will depart immediately, before we set the dogs on you."
[Protesters leave, singing, "For he's a jolly good fellow, and so say Goldman Sachs"].
"Go! You're trespassing. You're trespassing scum! Go!"
All in a posh accent that could cut glass.
Black tie activists crash HMRC boss' retirement do
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