Category Archives: Internal Revenue Service

Republican fantasy tax plans all “puppies and rainbows”

Let me paraphrase Josh Barro of The New York Times in summing up the tax talk you’re hearing in the Republican Presidential Debates: It’s all puppies and rainbows.

As Barro points out here, Marco Rubio would eliminate all taxes on capital gains, which of course would benefit those in the U.S. who have accumulated the most wealth.  Donald Trump, with no specifics about how he’s pay for a trillion-dollar cut in revenues, would eliminate the estate tax (which currently affects only people worth more than $5.54 million–I bet you don’t fall into that bracket) and cut the top tax rate from 39.6% to 25%, a windfall for the highest income earners. And Ben Carson’s flat tax would actually raise taxes on lower-income families whoke (surprise!) cutting them for the wealthiest.  You don’t have to take my word for it–as ThinkProgress notes , even Chris Wallace of Fox News has pointed that out.

Folks, I dislike paying taxes as much as anyone else.  But the Republicans right now are using our general dislike of taxes to promote fantasies.  The reality is that tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, 5%, or 10%–which is what all these plans ultimately come down to–would result in increased costs for just about everyone else, either directly in the form of higher taxes or indirectly in the form of reduced benefits and programs.

If you think the U.S. tax code is a mess, look at Brazil . . .

When talking about the U.S. Tax Code and overall complexity, I can sound like a sports superfan. That’s right: “We’re Number One! We’re Number One!” Turns out we have nothing on Brazil. As this New York Times article explains , a Brazilian lawyer, Vinicios Leoncio, has spent years documenting the complexity of that nation’s tax…Continue Reading

Boston Bruins and IRS facing off over meal deductions

Businesses can deduct 100% of most ordinary expenses, but only 50% of the cost of business-related meals. When is a meal not a meal for tax purposes? One definition is when it’s an ordinary expense and provided for the convenience of the employer. That’s what the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins say about the costs…Continue Reading

IRS plays dead on campaign finance

Any small business that has been audited knows the IRS can be a junkyard dog when examining records for deductible meals, travel, mileage, and other business expenses. Not so when it comes to reviewing political organizations. As The New York Times summarizes, the IRS has pretty much rolled over on groups that use nonprofit “social…Continue Reading

Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous…Continue Reading