A group of wealthy people that includes Warren Buffett, George Soros and former President Jimmy Carter is pressing Congress to roll back estate tax parameters, saying the current set-up leaves “too much revenue on the table.” The group of roughly three dozen people released a statement on Tuesday calling for both the current estate tax exemption […]
If I've learned anything from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, it's that dead men tell no tales; however, the rich ones still pay taxes which is good news, especially for those who can't afford Disneyland. Some Americans are in favor of radically increasing the taxes on the rich while others want to […]
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted that many of the reform plans that are under discussion in Washington would cut tax rates for everyone by eliminating or reducing deductions — the same model that was used during the last major rewrite of the tax code in 1986. “But in the upcoming talks on the fiscal cliff, […]
Yesterday, we told you about Jesse Drucker's stellar report on Mitt Romney's "I Dig It" trust and how it allows his family to pass along wealth to the younger generations with relatively little taxes being paid. It was the latest of many reports and scoops on Willard's finances and really, we shouldn't be surprised. He […]
Today, a Bloomberg article by Jesse Drucker called attention to Mitt Romney's "intentionally defective grantor trust" aka "IDGT" or "I Dig It" trust. For the seasoned estate tax planning or wealth preservation professional, this is old hat, but for many people this is quite exciting. And by exciting I mean, "Holy shit, they can do […]
And by extension, might be willing to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge should she ever run for office: "I'm very looking forward to a Republican being back in office," Jameson said while sipping champagne in a VIP room at Gold Club in the city's South of Market neighborhood. "When you're rich, you want a Republican […]
Surely most people wouldn't mind if the 1% were paying a little bit more in taxes but when compared to other issues, Gallup found that it's a pretty low priority: Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit score highest when Americans rate 12 issues as priorities for […]
Self-described non-partisan group Change Maryland is convinced the 31,000 individuals who left Maryland from 2007 to 2010 did so due to the state's increasingly burdensome tax rates. Surely it has nothing to do with Pepco's unreliable service, bad traffic, swampy summers, sandy crabs, the proliferation of Natty Boh or any other number of annoyances that […]
Our income tax system is joke. This is known. One of the most controversial results of the current system is, with all its complexities, millions of people still manage to pay no income tax. And it's not just the poors getting away with it! The percentage of U.S. taxpayers reporting adjusted gross income […]
So to speak. Bloomberg reports that Eduardo Saverin has renounced his U.S. citizenship ahead of Facebook's IPO. This has a number of obvious advantages – the lack of Kardashians, Nickelback, and NBA playoffs to name a few. But also, there are the tax advantages to consider, which it appears Saverin may have done: Facebook plans to […]
The man does know a thing or two about imagining ghastly scenes: The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. If you think you can one-up SK, leave your best effort below. Stephen King: […]
How do we know? Well for starters, the number audited tax returns with income over $1 million went up by nearly 50% last year. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said it audited 12.48 percent of individual tax returns (USCBTAXR) with income exceeding $1 million during fiscal 2011, a high that was reached at a time […]
Earlier this week we were reminded that Warren Buffett is tired of being coddled and paying a lower tax rate (as a percentage of his total income) than his secretary. President Obama, not one to ignore an opportunity, called attention to WB’s comments that rich people should be paying more taxes while he was on the stump in Minnesota.
On the other side, Grover Norquist, who has never met a tax he didn’t hate, offered up a Twitter rebuttal suggesting that the Oracle shut his Blizzardhole and cut the check to Tim Geithner.
Now another fairly well off dude, H&R Block co-founder Henry Bloch has come out in agreement with Buffett, telling the Kansas City Fox affiliate that “[the] current tax code gives too many breaks to the rich.” Bloch, a registered Republican also takes issue with the notion that rich people create jobs, saying that’s “baloney” and that “Rich people don’t create jobs. Companies create jobs.”
Bloch continued on his rant, wondering why the peasants are taking this so well and then reminded the reporter interviewing him that he was one of those people.
Bloch says the middle class should be furious that the rich pay so little in taxes, hiding money in trusts and with their kids. “You probably pay a higher rate than I do… and yet my income is probably many times what yours is.” Bloch said to FOX 4 Reporter Rob Low.
Unconfirmed reports have indicated Mr. Low then hung his head in shame while Bloch’s stepped away to maintain the space between them.
Sorry for being a little to the game on this one but everyone seems to still be in their meat-induced comas and this type of proposed legislation has left us wondering: IS NOTHING SACRED? If the affluent in our society can’t write off the mortgage interest on their second home that also happens to be boat, haven’t the terrorists won?
“There’s absolutely no reason why taxpayers should subsidize luxury yachts,” said Quigley. “As we work to address our budget challenges, closing this frivolous tax loophole is a no-brainer.”
“We’re going to have to make some hard decisions to tackle our national debt, but this isn’t one of them,” said Walz. “Closing this tax loophole restores the Mortgage Interest Deduction to its original purpose; helping middle class families realize the American Dream through homeownership.”
Currently, taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest for up to two homes from their tax returns. Yachts equipped with bedding, toilet facilities, and a kitchen qualify even if they aren’t used as a primary residence. The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act would limit the tax deduction to only those who use their boats as a primary residence.
“We need to get the deficit under control, and that means simplifying the tax code and eliminating special interest tax giveaways like the Yacht Loophole,” added Peters. “Homeownership is part of the American Dream and we should encourage it, but yacht owners don’t need any special handouts, especially in the middle of a budget crisis.”
Also, it’s our understanding that the Reps will use the following footage to make a case for their bill:
Which makes a lot of sense since the Iowa Senator has a net worth reported to be anywhere from $2.3 million to $6 million.
The Hill reports that Senator Grassley made his annoyance known in a Senate Finance Committee meeting today, “I get sick and tired of the demagoguery that goes on in Washington about taxing higher-income people,” he said. “How high do taxes have to go to satisfy the appetite of people in this Congress to spend money?” Good question, Senator. Are you changing your tune on ethanol tax credits? [The Hill]
The United States relied more on tax revenue from wealthy individuals and families than other industrialized countries during the middle of the last decade, the Tax Foundation said Monday. Citing data released in 2008 from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the nonpartisan group said that the ratio of what higher-income households paid in taxes compared to their share of market income was bigger here than in certain other countries. The richest 10 percent of American households paid a 45 percent share of the nation’s taxes in the mid-2000s, the OECD found, while having a 33.5 percent share of market income. That 1.35 ratio was higher than countries including Australia (1.29), Canada (1.22), France (1.1) and Poland (0.84). [The Hill]
Back in 2009, the IRS ran a relatively successful program that encouraged those with offshore bank accounts to cop to their shady tax evading ways and all would be forgiven…with the exception of a small penalty of the assets stashed out of sight. This particular program was primarily focused on UBS customers and for those not willing to play ball, the IRS and DOJ put the screws on the Swiss bank and got them to name names.
The IRS had been hinting that maybe Offshore Amnesty 2.0 was coming and today, they made it official.
The Internal Revenue Service announced a new initiative on Tuesday intended to lure tax evaders, but with stiffer penalties than those offered by a previous program. Under the initiative, Americans with hidden offshore accounts have until Aug. 31 to come forward voluntarily and report the accounts to the I.R.S. in exchange for penalties that, while below what they would ordinarily pay, are still higher than those offered in an earlier amnesty program.
The good news is that the IRS swears – SWEARS! – that you’ll come to no harm, in the criminal sense:
The program makes clear that Americans who come forward will not to face prosecution for tax evasion — something tax lawyers say was more of an open question under the previous program. “When a taxpayer truthfully, timely and completely complies with all provisions of the voluntary disclosure practice, the I.R.S will not recommend criminal prosecution to the Department of Justice,” the I.R.S. said.
So unless the possibility of jail time sounds inviting, we suggest you get on this. We’re all dreaming of August right now.
Republicans take control in the House of Representatives this week and boy, are they ever ready. With the ink safely dry on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the GOP is moving on to spending cuts, supporting the troops, restoring honor, launching investigations and whatever hell else was in that pledge. Wait, that last one wasn’t in there?
Anyhoo, the idea of lower taxes and spending cuts to get the federal budget in ship shape has been the GOP song and dance long before Ronnie had his own float at the Tournament of Roses Parade but a recent poll has discovered that lots of people don’t agree with that sentiment:
Raising taxes on the rich beats out cuts to defense spending, Medicare and Social Security as U.S. adults’ top preference on how to close the deficit, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.
Sixty-one percent of Americans said that increasing taxes to the wealthy should be the first step toward balancing the budget.
By contrast, 20 percent of respondents preferred cuts to defense spending as the first option, while 4 percent said that cutting Medicare would be the best way to start cutting the deficit. Three percent said they preferred cutting Social Security.
Now you might expect a major backlash from the more affluent citizens, you know, grumbling at polo matches, yacht races and beside the swimming pools filled with gold doubloons but surprisingly, quite a few of them are okay with it:
Increased taxes on the wealthy tops those four options even among higher earners who might be most affected by a tax hike, the poll suggested. Fifty-eight percent of respondents making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year rated tax hikes as the best first step to balancing the budget, while 46 percent of those making more than $100,000 said it was their top choice, as well.
But as we have learned, the GOP isn’t really down with this. Besides, tax rates won’t be an issue again the until the second and third weeks of December 2012, so they’d prefer we concentrate on things that aren’t already safely chiseled into the political dogma.
As you my have heard, being mega-rich these days has its disadvantages, including but not limited to – 1) governments getting overly reliant on the wealthy pitching in with revenues; 2) people giving you a hard time when you buy new toys; 3) your own kind selling you out.
Because times are tough and elected officials are having difficulty convincing anyone that higher taxes for the middle class are a good idea, the affluent are having the unfortunate luck to experience the rigor of the Global High Wealth Industry Group – a new unit within the IRS designed to perform the financial equivalent of a full rectal exam:
The reviews performed so far have been particularly harsh, say attorneys. Investors are being asked to turn over numerous hard-to-get documents in short order. These are “the audits from hell that your grandfather warned you about,” says Charles P. Rettig, a partner at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez in Beverly Hills, Calif.
And don’t think for a second that the Service is putting scrubs on these assignments. Extra-special auditees deserve extra-special auditors:
Miriam L. Fisher, a tax attorney and partner at law firm Morgan Lewis in Washington, says the audit teams comprise “A-list examiners” drawn from around the country who are knowledgeable and experienced with various financial products and industries. The audits are so intensive that each team is handling only a few right now and they aren’t far along in the process, she says.
IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge says the group is looking at “individuals who have a complex set of situations, and looking at the complete financial set up.” She acknowledged that “these cases are full audits.”
Although you would never expect an IRS audit to be as delightful as, say, your average weekend in the Hamptons but haven’t rich people suffered enough? The least the IRS examiners could do is bring something from Maison du Chocolat to bring the tension down a notch.
“Antitax voters clearly won a victory on Tuesday. But it would be a stretch to say that they don’t want higher taxes on the wealthy. More likely, they just didn’t want higher taxes on the nonwealthy.”
~ Robert Frank, on Washington’s rejection of Initiative 1098.
The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.
The worldwide decline in top personal income tax rates over the past seven years generally appears to have come to an end, as this year’s average rate increased 0.3 percent globally, according to KPMG International’s 2010 Individual Income Tax and Social Security Rate Report, released this we remained static in most locations, including the United States, the finding of an upward moving trend in the KPMG report suggests some governments are beginning to opt for a personal tax rate increase to help combat deficits and raise additional revenue.
“In the current economic environment, as many countries are faced with increasing budget deficits, they need funding for various economic stimulus packages,” said Ben Garfunkel, national partner in charge of KPMG LLP’s (U.S.) International Executive Services practice. “Our study indicates that many of these countries are levying tax increases on their highest earning taxpayers in order to increase revenue. We also see governments becoming increasingly sophisticated and rigorous in the framing and application of their tax rules.”
According to the KPMG report, the majority of rate movement in 2010 originated in Europe. The United Kingdom implemented a 10 percent increase raising its top rate from 40 percent in 2009-10 to 50 percent in 2010-11 — the highest rate increase seen globally this year.
Other Western European governments have followed suit in an attempt to increase tax revenues. Iceland, amid the collapse of the banking sector, replaced its flat tax regime with a progressive approach raising the top personal income tax rate by approximately nine percent.
Greece, in response to public deficit concerns, raised its top rate by five percent. Portugal, and, most recently, France raised top rates by three percent and one percent, respectively, to help address budget shortfalls. Ireland’s top rate also increased by one percent in 2010.
Striking the Right Balance
“Personal tax rates can be a crucial deciding factor when evaluating where to locate workforces or the costs associated with international assignment programs,” said Garfunkel. “Tax authorities are trying to strike the right balance as they face increasing pressure to identify and secure greater revenues, while also trying to attract businesses to set up operations in their country.
“High income earners typically have the talent and credentials to migrate to countries that have lower personal income tax rates and a need for skilled labor,” added Garfunkel. “Attracting such individuals — including their tax revenues and disposable income — using a competitive personal tax rate, while also trying to address budget deficits, is a challenge, especially in the current economic environment.”
Top Rates Decrease in Some Countries
Some countries are decreasing their top personal income tax rates. Denmark opted to introduce a stimulus package in hopes of increasing consumer spending and as a result, decreased its top rate by almost seven percent. Croatia, this past July, also dropped its top rate by five percent.
Other report findings include:
• The low flat tax initiatives of Eastern European governments have stagnated. Estonia has abolished its plan to reduce its flat tax rate to 18 percent by 2012, while Latvia increased its flat tax from 23 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2010.
•Average top rates in Asia-Pacific declined by 0.4 percent in 2010. New Zealand and Malaysia dropped their rates by five percent and one percent respectively.
•Although the average rates for Latin America jumped 0.8 percent in 2010, personal income taxes continue to remain relatively low in Latin America.
SEC Plans to Hire More Women and Minorities Amidst Poor Rankings [FINS]
“At a recent panel discussion and networking event at the agency, Commissioner Luis Aguilar spoke about the need to hire ‘the best and brightest,’ while acknowledging that in the past it hasn’t done a good job of recruiting women and minorities.
In his speech, Aguilar said that as of FY 2009, 89% of the SEC’s senior officers were white, 4% African-American, 3% Hispanic and 2% Asian. Along gender lines, 67% of the officers were male and 33% were female.
Moreover, in a recent survey published by the Partnership for Public Service, the SEC fell from 11th to 24th place on a list of the ‘Best Places to Work’ rankings. With regard to diversity, the SEC ranked 24th out of 28 agencies when it came to diversity. In other words, the bottom of the barrel.”
PCAOB Fires Shot on Audit Issues, Calls for Enforcement [Compliance Week]
“The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has published a report summarizing its observations after inspecting audits performed while credit market seized and the economy plunged into depression. The report says auditors generally didn’t adhere adequately to PCAOB standards when it came to some of the toughest areas in financial reporting through the credit crisis – namely fair value measurements, goodwill impairments, indefinite-lived intangible assets and other long-lived assets, allowances for loan losses, off-balance-sheet structures, revenue recognition, inventory and income taxes.”
Viacom Names New CFO [WSJ]
Controller James Barge succeeds Tom Dooley who jumped over to the COO seat.
Accounting niches [AccMan]
Are accountants doing enough to leverage their professional expertise?
Investors unhappy with lack of competition in audit market [Accountancy Age]
“The Association Of British Insurers (ABI), whose members account for almost 15 per cent of investments in the London stock market, is worried about the audit structure and said it has made its views known in a submission to a House of Lords inquiry into audit competition.”
H&R Block sees 5-cent hit from IRS policy change [AP]
Fewer rapid refunds doesn’t seem like a bad thing.
KPMG’s Fuzzy Math on Atlantic Yards [NYO]
The completion of the Atlantic Yards project remains on a timetable that runs parallel to the adoption of IFRS in the United States.
Tax the rich, whoever they are [Don’t Mess with Taxes]
Come out with your hands up!
Blockbuster Files for Bankruptcy After Online Rivals Gain [Bloomberg]
“Blockbuster Inc., the world’s biggest movie-rental company, filed for bankruptcy after failing to adapt its storefront model to online technology pioneered by rivals such as Netflix Inc.
The company listed assets of $1.02 billion against debt of $1.46 billion on a Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The company said it reached a deal with a group of bondholders on a plan of reorganization and secured a $125 million loan to finance operations.”
SaaS security: McAfee’s response [AccMan]
“One question that gets raised time and again: Is SaaS secure? The answer depends on with whom you speak. My take is that any vendor that cannot answer a set of well defined questions is probably not going to meet the minimum requirements for me to recommend a service.
Earlier today I attended a Salesforce.com presentation and among the speakers were Dell, Wells Fargo and McAfee. Both companies are deploying Salesforce and in particular its Chatter service to thousands of users. I put the question to Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce: ‘How do you demonstrate to users that services such as yours are secure without going down technical rat holes?’ ”
Friended for $100 Million [WSJ]
“Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.”
Senate Holds Hearing Today on Lessons from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 [TaxProf Blog]
“Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will convene a hearing [today] to examine the lessons from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and look at ideas for tax reform that will make the code simpler and fairer, while helping American businesses compete in the global economy.”
Top Marginal Effective Tax Rates by State under Rival Tax Plans from Congressional Democrats and Republicans [Tax Foundation]
The big winner is Hawaii with California taking first runner-up.
The Richest People in America [Forbes]
The usual: Gates, Buffett, Ellison, a lot of Sam Walton offspring, a pair of Kochs and Hizzoner.
[caption id="attachment_16785" align="alignright" width="260" caption="He's a pervert, dude"][/caption]
Maybe! That’s what the Manhattan’s DA office would like to know.
In a story that Dick Wolf is certain to get ahold of, an accountant – who is admitted perv – and a lawyer are being “probed” for their management of a wealthy heiress’s fortune.
You see, Irving Kamsler – the accountant – apparently got bored managing multi-millions for copper heiress Huguette Clark and got to poking around on the Internet. He ended up pleading guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to probation, “for engaging in sexual Web chats with detectives whom he believed were girls as young as 13 and sending porn to one of them,” (plot-line twist!).
Presumably Kamsler was out of hobbies and he refocused his energy on managing the money of Ms. Clark.
Kamsler, along with Clark’s attorney, Wallace Bock, have been overlooking the heiress’s fortune for years but now the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was curious why the “elderly eccentric” had spent ‘forever’ (according to one aide) at Beth Israel hospital.
This all came about after MSNBC got to wondering aloud about Huguette’s whereabouts. More or less asking, “Why on Earth is she in a dingy hospital (have you been to Beth Israel?) and not in her 42-room 5th Ave. apartment or sprawling estates in Santa Barbara or Connecticut?”
The DA’s probe into whether Kamsler and Bock were properly managing Clark’s money is ongoing but if you’re going by Kamsler’s looks alone, you can easily conclude that they’ve got every reason to be suspicious.
GM’s balance sheet draws praise ahead of IPO [MarketWatch]
“Peter Bible, partner-in-charge at accounting firm EisnerAmper LLP, said General Motors is now carrying a much stronger balance sheet than its predecessor, based on the company’s initial public offering filed late Wednesday. ‘Their debt-to-equity ratio looks handsome,’ Bible said in an interview. ‘This thing has gotten restructured quite a bit. GM’s health care liabilities have fallen significantly. As I look at the balance sheet, it is much healthier.’ ”