Noam Scheiber and Patricia Cohen at The New York Times have a big story about how the wealthiest Americans are able to shape US tax policy and shield their income.
The story mentions lots of big Wall Street names, including Dan Loeb and Steve Cohen, and breaks down how some of the tax schemes America’s richest citizens employ work.
The story points out that by 2012, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers paid out less than 17% of their income in federal taxes, down from 27% two decades ago. That 17% figure is comparable with the tax rate paid out by families earning $100,000, according to the story.
One thing that jumps out though is a line from Karen L. Hawkins, who used to head the Internal Revenue Service office that covers tax planners. From The New York Times:
Among tax lawyers and accountants, “the best and brightest get a high from figuring out how to do tricky little deals,” said Karen L. Hawkins, who until recently headed the I.R.S. office that oversees tax practitioners. “Frankly, it is almost beyond the intellectual and resource capacity of the Internal Revenue Service to catch.”
That pretty much sums up why the super-wealthy always are and always will be one-step ahead of the tax man.
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