I like the idea of a flat income tax that would kick in on all income above the poverty level. It might put some consultants out of business. But my objections to the current arcane system are expressed in words rather than a failure to pay.
There are some who can take advantages of loopholes that allow fortunes to be shielded by moving funds offshore. While JFK did show that a president could enhance marginal prosperity by cutting marginal rates (something never considered by Hoover, FDR, Truman, and Ike) those who use the Kennedy name and image as a faÃ§ade for their lurches into socialism have no compunctions about ducking their taxes by exploiting such games.
There are some who concoct sometimes bizarre schemes for avoiding taxes. Deductions for â€˜reparationsâ€™ got some people some undeserved refund checks. Some were caught and punished. But did any escape? Some questioned the validity of the income tax on quaint Constitutional grounds or claimed that only income paid in gold coin was taxable. Some consultants who promoted such schemes used the faÃ§ade of religion and created faux churches as part of their schemes.
There are certain actions that raise red flags when returns are submitted. There are automatic checks that can trigger a chat with the IRS. Very high deductions for charity may be the result of true generosity but it could indicate a â€˜contributionâ€™ of an item with a grossly-inflated value. Yet nothing arouses interest as much as an obvious scam.
Film performer Wesley Snipes seems to have engaged in such a scam and is in the dock. Some of his fellow entertainers may be called to testify in his defense. He claims that he is a non-resident alien in his defense and owes tens of millions in taxes. He has also threatened IRS agents with â€˜collateral damageâ€™. Snipes has dabbled in martial arts and has played tough guys but seems never to have learned from the song about â€˜You don’t mess around with Jimâ€™ and the folly of â€˜Pulling the mask off the old Lone Rangerâ€™. I have had some conversations with employees of the IRS and have found that a combination of politeness and honesty works wonders. One possibly troublesome matter was resolved with a phone call and no subsequent action,
It should be noted that Snipes did not pay any of the taxes due.
The infamous Leona Helmsley (the Demoness of Manhattan real estate) went up the river for a mischarging of bills for her residence to business expenses, resulting in an evasion of a small fraction of the taxes she and her husband paid.
Snipes seemed to wish to evade payment of all taxes.
Will he beat the rap?