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View Diary: Walmart owners look to slash federal tax payments (66 comments)

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  •  Again, misstating what I am saying (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd, twigg, winsock, VClib

    I am not saying that one is obligated to take advantage of every deduction or exemption.  Many people do not take the time to learn about everything they are entitled to deduct.  I am NOT saying that either an individual, or a business, MUST take advantage of every deduction, exemption, etc. that they are entitled to.  I AM saying that it is not immoral, unethical, or greedy if they do.  

    Doing whatever you legally can do to reduce your federal income taxes is the very reason that H&R Block and Turbo Tax stay in business -- because most people do not even know every potential deduction, and they promise to help you minimize the federal income taxes you pay.  Paying H&R Block or Turbo Tax to help you find ways to minimize the federal income taxes you pay is no more immoral, unethical, or greedy than is paying a tax accountant, or tax lawyer, to do the same thing -- which is exactly what is being criticized in this case.  Any tax accountant, or tax lawyer, who DIDN'T recommend something like this to reduce federal income taxes may be committing malpractice.  

    I AM saying that virtually everyone who pays federal income taxes takes SOME steps to minimize the taxes they pay -- even if it's as simple as taking the standard deduction.  There's nothing immoral, or unethical, about not taking every deduction you are entitled to, and there's nothing immoral or unethical about taking advantage of every single deduction or exemption or provision for minimizing your taxes that you are entitled to take.  No sense of morality, or ethics, compels anyone -- any individual or any business -- to forgo some provision for legally reducing their federal income taxes.  It's kind of ridiculous to imply -- as this diary does -- that there's something "wrong" or "greedy" about doing what you legally can do to reduce the federal income taxes you pay.  Everyone who pays federal income taxes  does that to some extent.  

    •  This is true, up to a point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      People who need their income to pay for their lifestyle can, and should, do everything they can to minimise their tax burden.

      The tax system is set up in the expectation that citizens will do that.

      However, their does come a point where some people are not funding a lifestyle, they are accumulating wealth.

      At that point, while it is reasonable that they use the regular tax code provisions, what is NOT reasonable is that they also seek to invent new ones.

      They invent vehicles that do not exist in the tax code as a way to avoid paying any reasonable amount, or any at all. Some of those things are later deemed unlawful, but many are not because the IRS doesn't have the capacity to test everything.

      That is highly immoral, and should be fiercely resisted. They may say "I pay everything I am legally obliged to pay" ... but that isn't even remotely the point.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:07:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In those cases, it's a question of legality (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, twigg, VClib

        and I am certainly NOT defending taking tax positions of questionable legality.  

        What this diary attacks, however, is a decision to pay a dividend BEFORE January 1 rather than after January 1.  There's nothing questionable about that.  People are advised to do things before, or after, year end so as to affect their income tax burden all the time.  See, for example,here and here and here and here.

        I've even seen couples select a wedding day (when they wanted to get married during mid-winter, deciding before or after January 1) in part based on tax considerations.  

          If you use a program like Turbo Tax, you'll get standard advice about the timing of certain transactions so as to get the best tax effect.  It's called "tax planning."  And with a transaction that is not questionable in the least -- like the timing of a dividend, which is the event that prompted this diary -- there's nothing immoral, unethical, or greedy involved.

        •  Yep .. I agree :) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10

          I would add though that it's not just a matter of legality.

          The seeking of tax shelters, in ever creative manners, is not illegal.

          But when you have more wealth or income than you need to sustain your already lavish lifestyle, then it is immoral.

          And yes, there is a place for morals in tax payment. Ask J K Rowling.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:31:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  twigg - no there is not (0+ / 0-)

            ask Judge Learned Hand.

            In addition, the decision by the board of directors at Walmart benefits all Walmart shareholders, not just the family. The board has a fiduciary duty to do what is in the best interest of the shareholders. It has no duty to the US Treasury.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:47:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't actually referring to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tardis10

              the Walmart decision. That makes good sense and is not the "morality" I mean.

              And yes, there is :)

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              by twigg on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:51:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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