Of all the things I resent about Donald Trump, tax avoidance didn’t even make the list.
October 5, 2020
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
Based on what I’ve seen, some folks have lost sight of what it means to be an American Patriot. We were founded by weed toking, gun toting, anti-tax, anti-crown separatists. Somewhere along the way, we went from flipping the bird to the state, to wagging and pointing our finger at each other, and it shows.
I’ve been criticizing Trump’s protectionist policies as anti-free market for the past four years when I wasn’t busy calling out the sustained, if not expanded, surveillance state under his reign or warning you about what other politicians are cooking up.
But tax avoidance? There isn’t anything MORE patriotic! The American Revolution was a revolt against taxes.
I think there was a moment of vulnerability in American history where America lost her nerve and vigilance. Post Civil War maybe?
Socialist minister, Francis Bellamy sees an opportunity to propagandize the youth with a flag and pledge of allegiance which would later become this bastion of patriotism for the right.
Then Woodrow Wilson rolls out an income tax and Federal Reserve that all but keeps progressives perpetually aroused, so they can screw the economy into oblivion.
Next thing you know we have agencies cropping up like there was a machine generating them in some back room in the halls of congress.
Yadda yadda yadda… here we are $27 trillion in debt (and counting) and a 70,000+ page tax code no one can actually agree on how to decipher.
Taxes were supposed to be the necessary evil that pays for the bare minimum of what the government was supposed to do. It’s since morphed into this disgusting lie about the price we pay for a civilized society.
I’m sorry… when did plunder become civilized?
Since there’s no ceiling on what the government can do, there’s also no limit on what they can charge us to do it. And if they don’t have enough money? Oh well. Your unborn generations can pay for it long after these lawmakers are dead.
In light of these things, I gotta know: where the hell did the idea of nobility in paying tax come from? Even if we put aside our historic anti-tax roots, how does one reconcile giving anything to this shamble storm of fiscal malfeasance? It’s like giving money to a degenerate gambler.
The short answer is: you don’t. There is no virtue in getting robbed by the state, and I’m done pretending that there is!
There are two kinds of people: those who take every exemption and credit they possibly can, and liars. You better believe, if Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders could’ve written off more, they would have.
When Bernie Sanders was pressed about not paying more in taxes, he sourly replied, “I paid what I owed!”
As did Donald Trump.
Ever hear people say, “The system is broken”? They are wrong. Broken implies that it could be fixed and might even suggest that in so doing it would be made better.
No. It’s already fixed. It was designed this way. I’m not even being cynical! Each and every tax law was crafted word for word, debated, deliberated and voted upon. This ain’t no accident.
You want to complain about how it’s rigged? Fine. It’s designed for and by people of means to navigate with little obligation. If you can afford Trump’s fleet of CPAs, you are more likely to find some innocuous code that saves you money.
If you want to complain that many who get out of paying taxes are only too happy to impose taxes on the rest of us, by all means! They are the worst hypocrites. I’m looking directly at you, Bernie Sanders.
If you want to complain about a welfare state that allows people to take more than they put in, I’m with you!
I understand the resentment, but it’s like begrudging those who don’t get mugged because you got mugged.
Iniquity, hypocrisy, and mooching aside, tax avoidance is commendable. In fact, those three contentions make an even better case for tax avoidance.
First and foremost, let’s be super clear: taxes have nothing to do with morality, civility, or virtue. Anyone who says otherwise, is a politician, a fool, or both.
It’s not about justice, equality, and fairness either. I mean to squash the idea that money not stolen by the state is money stolen by the rightful owner from the state. I work to get paid. I’m not some sharecropper on the US plantation.
And it should have never become a tool for social engineering, yet here we find ourselves. Congress using the tax code to bribe people and businesses with their own money to do the government’s bidding.
Two quotes from Judge Learned Hand to keep in mind about paying taxes:
“Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”
“Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.”
Taxes are revenue for government. That’s it. Think of it like mail in rebates.
You know the whole point of the mail in rebate is to make the company look benevolent while avoiding having to give savings to everyone right? Jump through the hoops to get this money back. Fill out this form. Mail it to here, along with a copy of the UPC symbol, your receipt, and a blood sample from the clerk who rang you up.
Wait six to eight weeks for processing.
Here’s your $5 back on that paint you totally forgot you bought 2 months ago!
That’s a tax return. The IRS is going to make sure YOU don’t owe them. They aren’t going to check to see if they owe you. You file that return to make sure you keep every cent you’re entitled to. If you don’t, the IRS keeps it.
This is the game we play. In 2016, this ridiculous game cost 8.9 billion in man-hours and $409 billion for Americans to try to be tax compliant.
Trump might be a lot of things, but he clearly had enough sense to hire the best accountants money could buy if he is paying $750 over ten years. That’s less than many who make far less than him have paid.
Second of all, I get it. Misery loves company. People turn into the proverbial bucket of crabs. The moment one shows some sign of getting out, they all grab at him to bring him back down into the depths of the bucket with the rest of them.
I’d like to think that humans are just slightly more intelligent than a bucket of crabs. But look at liberals coming unhinged over Trump’s income taxes. Should I bowl them down like pins and remind them Amazon paid zero taxes in 2018? Because I’m ready to hurt some feelings.
And not so fast, conservatives. You sit there and clap that your boy didn’t pay but $750 in federal income taxes, congratulate Amazon for getting to $0, and then get 50 shades of uppity when undocumented immigrants might not pay them? You can miss me with that, too.
Codifying theft, doesn’t make it right. Immigration status has no bearing on the morality of theft. And read this as many times as you need to understand: No one should pay taxes.
If I’m being honest no one does pay taxes, they are taken.
If you can avoid it, then good for you. If you want to say your body is a temple, file your very existence as a religious institution, and declare yourself tax exempt, by golly go right on ahead. And if you get away with it, let me know!
The fact is, you don’t have to go through such imaginative lengths. For better or worse, these rules are as much yours as they are Trump’s.
You don’t need Trump’s army of CPAs and attorneys. There are plenty of ways to structure your finances and business to minimize your tax obligation without all that.
Does the average individual, or small business structure themselves to reap the maximum amount of tax benefits? Sadly no. But the good news is, we can fix that.
Just because you failed for years to avoid taxes you were entitled to avoid, doesn’t mean you are obligated to continue making that same egregious mistake every year.
You don’t have to go back into the bucket with the rest of the crabs. Nor do you have to be one of those crabs keeping the others down.
In a truly free market, we’d only be concerned about making money. Sadly, we’re in a mangled web of regulatory capture and tax codes, which means we worry about both making money, and KEEPING it.
I want America to go back to the days of flipping the bird, rather than wagging their pointer. That’s the kind of greatness I can get behind. That’s the kind of greatness I want to help others achieve.
If you are interested in how the same system that allowed Trump to pay $750 in taxes could also be used to legally reduce your tax burden, then we have quite a bit of options to talk about. Let’s set up a consultation and explore the space!
Even better, if you are really looking to reduce your tax burden, internationalize your life, and restructure to protect your wealth, assets, and privacy then click here to sign up to be one of our GWP Insiders.
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In fact, over the next few months, I’ll be making a video series for my GWP Insider subscribers discussing various strategies that have helped people reduce their tax obligations by as much as 70%.