SUPERRICH TAX CHEATS

The truly rich are very different from you and me – they don't pay taxes. Instead they pay millions of dollars in fees to lawyers, bankers, and accountants to devise scams so they can dodge paying billions of dollars in taxes they owe.

The truly rich are very different from you and me – they don’t pay taxes. Instead they pay millions of dollars in fees to lawyers, bankers, and accountants to devise scams so they can dodge paying billions of dollars in taxes they owe.

The senate permanent investigations subcommittee has just issued the most detailed analysis ever of high-level tax schemes that are tailor-made to allow billionaires to cheat on their taxes. The 400-page report found that this cheating is widespread, deliberate, and tightly organized – costing our public treasury some $70 billion every year. By dodging their taxes, the superrich force the rest of us either to pay a greater share of the cost of our country’s highways, wars, national parks, etcetera – or to endure cutbacks in public services we need (for example, $70 billion dollars a year would go a long way toward providing health care for everyone in America).

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“Ain’t capitalism great!” wrote one of the lawyers with a tax-shelter boutique that was devising a scam for Robert Wood Johnson IV, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets. These convoluted schemes use circular transactions, offshore tax havens, sham corporations, fantasy stock transactions, fake losses, and a complex veil of secrecy to… well, to cheat.

Take the Wyly brothers of Texas, billionaires who also rank among George W’s top money donors. They had pocketed about $190 million in a stock deal, but, with the help of such mainline outfits as Bank of America, they were able to hide their ownership of this stock haul. So, instead of paying the taxes they owed on it, the Wylys bought jewelry, had portraits painted of their families, and bought homes, a horse farm, and an art gallery.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Meanwhile, Bush & Company is cutting back on the IRS staff that pursues superrich tax cheats – and putting more money into auditing returns of America’s working poor.

Sources:
“Tax Cheats Called Out Of Control,” The New York Times, August 1, 2006.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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