The day job requires that I keep abreast of economy-related headlines. I have quite a collection of them now. I thought I’d share these in honor of tax day.
It’s almost quitting time, and if you’ve put off your taxes and haven’t paid them online, you’ve probably scoped out the post office in your neighborhood with the latest closing time. Or maybe you’re planning to speed to the nearest one before it closes. Chances are there will be a line. Maybe a long one. So, here are some articles you can read while you’re waiting in line.
But be careful. Reading these article immediately before or after paying your taxes may be hazardous to your mental health.
- Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world, pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
- Henry Kravis, formerly of Bear Stearns, probably pays a lower tax rate than you (In other words, they pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the rest of us.)
- Meanwhile, low-income households will pay more in taxes, if they live in one of several states that are shifting the tax burden down the economic ladder by raising sales taxes and lowering property taxes.
- At least they won’t get stimulus checks. On the other hand, thanks to the stimulus package, they can now refinance their homes at a lower rate (or one of them, anyway), and borrow money on the cheap.
- Lest you think guys like Buffet and Kravis are “self-made” billionaires who deserve a tax break because of … well … because they’re billionaires, Harry Moroz will remind you that no billionaire is an island. No fortune is made alone, without support from the infrastructure investments funded by tax dollars, as Corrine Ramsey points out. So, the next time you hear that our economy would be nowhere without them, remember they might not be quite so rich without … well … us.
- Oh, and not only do they pay a lower tax rate than you or me, but chances are they’re among the 20% of CEOs whose taxes are paid by their companies, in part if not in full.
- If they’re in the home-building industry, their companies also just got a $6 billion tax break from the Senate — in the Senate’s foreclosure relief bill. That tax-break, by the way, will actually cost the federal government more than $25 billion in the next three years.
- If their taxes are picked up by their companies, the IRS probably won’t look too closely. The agency is auditing fewer big companies (worth more than $250 million), and focusing on medium-sized companies (with assets of less than $50 million).
- I don’t know if they’re on the list of “more than 100” tax evaders with accounts in Lichtenstein.
- If they’re not, then maybe they’re among the big names who owe big time tax bills, but seem to be able to operate successfully without paying.
- If not, they can still go offshore and skirt taxes, like one top Iraq contractor.
- Oh well, there’s at least a chance they’ll pay a bit more in taxes if they’re gay.
- And it doesn’t look like they have anything to worry about from the IRS. The IRS is losing $37 million by using private collection agents who cost more to use than they collect in taxes. (And they still pocket up to 24% in commissions.)
- Finally, if all of this news has got you even more stressed out as you stand in line at the post office, just close you’re eyes and imagine going on the $3 trillion shopping spree. Just don’t think what we can’t do with that money, because that’s what we’re paying for the war in Iraq.
- Speaking of which, there’s a good chance you’ll use you tax return to pay bills. That is, if you get one.