Tax avoidance Feed

Have you filed your tax return yet? Neither have I. Neither have millions of Americans. The weekly filing data the Internal Revenue Service delivers during high tax filing season shows that almost all the numbers are behind where filing was at this point last year. Started slow, stayed that way: When filing season kicked off back in late January, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said his agency was expecting 153 million individual tax returns to be filed in 2017. Most of those show up from January through the April deadline, which is on the 18th this year. There's usually a big... Read more →

It's official. We will not see Donald J. Trump's tax returns before we vote on Nov. 8. During an interview Oct. 30 on NBC's Meet the Press, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, reiterated that Trump will not release his returns until after an audit is completed. This Twitter image of Donald J. Trump signing his 2014 return on Oct. 15, 2015, is probably the closest we'll get to seeing the Republican presidential candidate's tax filings. "All right, so not before the election?" host Chuck Todd asked. "Yeah," Pence replied. Breaking election tradition, again: If the Republican presidential nominee... Read more →

Donald Trump's revised tax plan, which many economists and tax experts have decried as the latest version of Republican supply-side economics, is still getting a lot of attention. The biggest criticism is that the tweaked tax proposal, despite Trump's populist spin, still gives ways too much to the wealthy. Just who would win and exactly how much in the Trump vs. Hillary Clinton tax battle will continue to be debated (though perhaps not formally…) until Nov. 8. Delaware, considered by many to be America's top domestic tax haven, welcomes drivers and taxpayers looking to keep money out of tax collector... Read more →

Warren Buffett is the third richest man in the world. He's also like a lot of us who are a whole lot poorer. Buffett wants to know what's on Donald J. Trump's tax returns. Warren Buffett challenges Donald Trump to a tax return face-off during a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 1, Click image to watch the full CNN Money video. He's the third billionaire within a week to call on Trump to release his returns. Former New York City mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's... Read more →

The 2016 Republican National Convention started today. So did the latest round of stories about what the GOP must do to make Donald J. Trump, its expected presidential nominee, more electable. Richard Hatch (far right, front row), winner of the first "Survivor" show in 2000, makes his case as a contestant in 2011 on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." Hatch was fired by The Donald, but some suggest Hatch's "Survivor" strategy could help Trump win the presidency. There's the typical approach of moving toward the political center. That the path that's been taken over the years by both Democratic and Republican... Read more →

Back in the late 1970s, around the time Donald J. Trump was proclaiming he was worth more than $200 million, two federal tax returns showed his income as -$3.8 million -- yes, that's a minus sign, not a dash -- meaning Trump was in the hole as for his earnings. Donald Trump's 2014 taxes, which he's signing in this photo from @realDonaldTrump's Twitter feed, presumably show a lot more income than he reported in the late 1970s. But we don't know for sure. And that lack of money meant that The Donald didn't owe the Internal Revenue Service any income... Read more →

Brothels are legal in New South Wales, Australia, so officials there had no problem when Jamelie Lahood ran the Stiletto brothel for more than a decade until 2014. A room at Stiletto, a high-end brothel in Sydney, Australia. Photo from the bordello's Instagram account. However, Australian tax officials do take issue with the nearly $2 million ($1.5 million in U.S. currency) they say Lahood owes from her earnings as boss of the self-described "world's finest short stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel." The money Lahood made operating Stiletto between 2008 and 2014 placed her among the top 0.1 percent of... Read more →

Last week, millions of last-minute filers got their returns to the Internal Revenue Service. As of April 22, the federal tax collector had 136.5 million returns in hand. The tax gap is kind of like the break in the old Florida Keys bridge: Something's missing (Photo by Ewen Robert via Flickr CC) The number of Americans who completed their annual tax duties by this year's April deadline(s) was slightly ahead of the 2015 filing pace. Before the year is over (and the 13+ million of us on extension get our returns in by Oct. 17), the IRS expects total filings... Read more →

Taxes and sports are inextricably linked. There are the tax breaks for teams (and rich owners) who want to build or upgrade their facilities. There are taxes on the winnings collected by folks who bet on sporting events. Athletes and other team members face jock taxes. There's the tax-exempt status of several major sports leagues, including the NFL. Now taxes have been used to help explain the apparent pattern of rule breaking that some claim is commonplace in the New England Patriots organization. First, a little background. Back in 2007, we had Spy-gate. The Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the... Read more →

April 15 came and went without you. Maybe you had a good excuse for not filing. Much better, I hope, than this guy's glib offering at Twitter's #TaxDayExcuses: The nonfiling excuses are still coming in today over at Twitter. Go ahead and enjoy reading them. But if you are part of that group, you also need to do something about your oversight ASAP. Accruing costs: The bottom line is that despite your reasons for neglecting your Tax Day duties, it's likely costing you. When you don't file your annual federal tax return -- and pay any tax due -- by... Read more →

I'm a sucker for Christmas. The food, the movies, decorating the tree and the mantel and, of course, the songs. I look forward to them for 11 months of the year. So if the seasonal time-honored trappings are so important to me, why does a novelty song make my holiday listening list? Because sometimes even the strictest traditionalist needs to get a little goofy. That's why this season's third Christmas Tax Tip Tune is Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I know, despite its upbeat tempo, it's a bit of a downer. But you can always opt instead for... Read more →

Did you buy Twitter stock today when the Internet company went public? Neither did I. I am hoping, though, that the tech mutual fund I own did pick up some shares. And I hope the Twitter folks are successful, not only because of my possible future earnings potential, but because the 140-character online connector is my favorite of the social media offerings -- despite this very long sentence and my overall tendency toward lengthy blog posts! (BTW, I'm @taxtweet.) Today's stock market twittering attention got me thinking about an annual year-end tax-planning rite, the evaluation of portfolios. In most cases,... Read more →

"Stay (Faraway, So Close)" isn't just the title of a U2 song. It's a good description of the popular Irish rock band's tax situation. The band, fronted by Bono and The Edge, has sold more than 150 million records and is estimated to be worth around €805 million ($1.1 billion U.S.). And like lots of businesses and their wealthy owners, U2 found a way to reduce its taxes. U2 moved part of its operation from its native Ireland just across the North Sea to Holland in 2006 to take advantage of that country's lower tax rate. The reason? Ireland capped... Read more →

Remember the infamous 47 percent of people who didn't pay taxes? Sure you do. Those were the folks cited in a 2009 estimate by the Tax Policy Center (TPC) who inadvertently sabotaged Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's quest for the White House when he was caught on video tape characterizing them as government dependent takers instead of economic growth makers. That group is now 4 percent smaller, according to the latest analysis by TPC, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. The 43 percent of Americans whom TPC analysts project won't owe federal income taxes in 2013... Read more →

Americans are a mobile group. We tend to move a lot. But a lot more of us are moving out of the country, and doing so for good. You've heard the proclamations. "If he's elected, I'm out of here!" Folks across the political spectrum angrily declare this intention every U.S. presidential election year. Few, however, follow through. "When I win the lottery, I'm moving to Italy." Or France or Brazil or Australia. This is my mantra. Most of the time, though, folks just take nice long vacations to those foreign locales. I promise to at least buy a second home... Read more →

French actor Gerard Depardieu is now Belgian actor Gerard Depardieu. The award-winning actor raised eyebrows last year when he decided to take up residency in Belgium after the Socialist government in his native France sought to impose a 75 percent tax rate on annual incomes over 1 million euros, or around $1.34 million U.S. Depardieu decided to move 800 yards across the French border to the village of Nechin, Belgium. It already had earned a global reputation as being the spot for French nationals disillusioned with their country. On Saturday, Aug. 24, those expatriate French got a taste of home... Read more →

I'm not here to shoot, or disparage, the messenger. And I freely admit that this is not hot off the presses info. But I just ran across it and there's a tax component, and lesson, so ... Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for The Guardian who broke the story of Edward Snowden leaking National Security Agency (NSA) documents, is working through some personal tax troubles. Click image to view Greenwald's appearance June 10, 2013, on MSNBC's Morning Joe program. The New York Daily News reported back in June that: "The New York County Clerk's office shows Greenwald has $126,000 in open... Read more →

Prince Charles is no doubt enjoying his new status as a grandfather. But the king in waiting (and waiting and waiting) has more than just the still-unnamed baby prince on his mind. Prince Charles' tax situation is under scrutiny. Parliament's public accounts committee wants to know why the Duchy of Cornwall, Charles' hereditary estate, pays no corporate tax or capital gains tax. The estate's financial statement for the year ending March 31 reported a value of £19 million, almost $29 million U.S. That was an increase of just more than 4 percent over the previous year. Charles himself does pay... Read more →

The prospect of paying millions in state taxes was a key of the reason that a giant floating oil platform ended up beached off an Alaskan island at the end of last year. The Kulluk, Shell's Arctic-class drill ship was grounded near Kodiak Island, Alaska, during bad weather on Dec. 31, 2012. Before the Kulluk settled into the shallow water, the U.S. Coast Guard sent in a helicopter to rescue the drill ship's crew. A week later, with the help of the high tide, recovery crews refloated the Kulluk and towed the conical drill ship to safe harbor at Alaska's... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service and its leaders, past, current and now on administrative leave, got most of the public attention last week as Congressional hearings continued into how the agency screwed up reviews of applications for tax-exempt status. The agency, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report, used "inappropriate criteria" when employees placed conservative groups, notably those affiliated with the Tea Party, on a "be on the lookout" list when it came to determining whether the organizations should be given preferable tax status. But there was another Capitol Hill look into taxes that didn't have anything... Read more →