4/15/14 Tax Day


The 2013 tax season is done.

Paying taxes can be a complex and frustrating process. For good reason.

The federal tax code is more than 70,000 pages long. If stacked, it would reach more than 25 feet high.

[20,000 pages of ObamaCare regulations when stacked reach more than 7 feet and 2.5 inches high.]

One of every two Americans has no federal income tax liability. Half of us are paying for everyone else.

[The percentage of Americans polled who view their taxes as fair is at the lowest level since the Clinton era.]

When it comes to taxes, corporate cronyism is alive and well. Facebook had 1.1 billion dollars in profits for 2012 … paid nothing in taxes … and got a $429 million refund from the IRS. In 2010, in spite of 14.2 billion dollars in profit … GE didn’t pay one dime.

[Speaking of reported income, Vice President Joe Biden is the first-ever public official who actually makes money from his Secret Service protection. Last year, Biden charged $66,000 in rent to the Secret Service for the agents who protect him while he is at home in Delaware.]

[On the flip side, Joe and Jill Biden are exceptionally stingy when it comes to the less fortunate. They gave less than 2% of their income to charity.]

[I’m in favor of making a buck. But try charging admission to the fire department when they’re called out to your come.]

Then there’s the reality that the IRS has become a political arm of the White House (here, here, here, here).

An IG investigation found it was used to target hundreds of right-leaning non-profits and Jewish groups.

In direct violation of federal law, IRS employees engaged in political campaigning. Some went so far as lecturing citizens seeking assistance on the taxpayer help line as to whom they should vote for in the 2012 election.

One senior IRS official illegally leaked confidential taxpayer information to groups aligned with the White House.

Two Congressional committees have already referred criminal complaints to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Criminal use of government employees and agencies is the type of behavior we expect to see in Third World countries. It’s now happening here.

[Read more below:]

The Hypocrisy of Warren Buffett and the ‘Buffett Rule’ illustrates how paying taxes has become political fodder.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett wrote in the New York Times in 2011 that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the middle class.

The wealthy do pay a higher rate on personal income. But everyone in America is taxed at a lower rate for dividend and capital gains income.

President Barack Obama has called this the Buffett Rule in his campaign for higher taxes.

Critics have called Buffett a hypocrite. And for good reason.

When he wrote his New York Times op-ed his company Berkshire-Hathaway (the 9th largest company in the world) owed taxes of more than one billion dollars going back 10 years. In 2005, his company settled with the IRS a separate tax battle it waged for 14-years.

For several decades Buffett advocated tax avoidance strategies at his firm.

Berkshire-Hathaway’s $1.2 billion stock buy-back in December 2012 may have been timed in order to avoid an expected increase in tax rates in 2013.

President Barack Obama — with an estimated net worth of $12 million — campaigned on the Buffett Rule. Millionaires — which he defines as anyone making $250,000 or more — should pay at least 30% of their income in federal taxes.

But he doesn’t mean himself or his cronies.

Obama’s 2012 tax increase hiked the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% for incomes of above $450,000. Obama’s 2013 tax rate was half that at 20.4% on his adjusted gross income of $481,000. The year before it was 18.4% on alomost $609,000. No Buffett Rule for him.

You can follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter at @BehindTheHead.
You can follow Mark on Twitter at @MarkHyman.
Join us on our Facebook page.