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218

It's certainly possible, and plans have previously been made to do it, but then what would happen to the tax preparation industry? That may seem like a silly question, but for the capitalist tax prep industry, automating away a large portion of their industry is a huge problem, so naturally they would lobby against it. ProPublica has an article from last ...


171

What arguments are typically offered by those supportive of this taxation technique, both ethically and economically, in order to defend and promote its use? Inheritance Taxes As Taxes In Lieu of Income Taxes Inheritance taxes aren't taxes on dead people who paid taxes on what they earned during life. The dead people are dead. They suffer no harm and ...


136

Philosophical reason - why do some people in the government have a greater right to decide what to do with the assets than the person that owned them (through their will, by giving it to heirs/foundations/charities/donating it to the treasury)? Incentives 1 - most humans seem to value the welfare of their children more than they value their own. By imposing ...


129

There's a whole wikipedia article on the topic. In a nutshell, he has been the first major party nominee since 1976 not to make his tax returns public. And he did not release them in spite of promising during the campaign that he would. When he reneged on the promise, he put forward that they were complex enough that lay people wouldn't understand them or ...


92

The IRS doesn't do that in the USA, because politics has decided so, as outlined in AquaticFires answer. I have paid income tax in Sweden, Canada, and the UK. In Sweden, I was sent a completely filled form which I was invited to amend, in case anything was missing. It was just a couple of pages. It usually resulted in either a small deposit into my bank ...


85

In most countries where this system is used, there is a level of continuity between brackets. For example, in the United Kingdom, where the tax brackets are defined as follows: 0% up to £12,500 20% from £12,501 to £50,000 40% from £50,001 to £150,000 50% over £150,000 In this scenario, if I were on a £200,000 salary, I would not pay 50% on the whole £200,...


84

Caveat: These are impressions of a Scandinavian dude (assuming you would include Finland) who only lived in the US (in late 80's) as a grad student/post doc, but never raised a family there. I would say that the question is more complicated than just a matter of size. The scale may affect the viability of a welfare system financed by we the taxpayers, but ...


79

Answers to clarification questions There are no "rich people" forms. However, there are forms that are far more likely to be interesting when a rich person files them. For example, when someone claims charitable donations on Schedule A or 8283, they need to list the donations. He also has to write out what personal business related tax deductions he's ...


68

What you seem to be missing is that the foundation of capitalism is voluntary exchange. The rich do not inherently "deserve" their money; a capitalist philosophy rejects the idea that we have the ability to decide who deserves what at some high, societal level. Rather, it emphasizes that individuals should be able to engage in only those economic activities ...


66

Here is the statement from Senator Wyden (D-Oregon) regarding his opposition to the amendment: Mr. President, Senator Cruz's amendment expands tax subsidies for upper income households to aid private or parochial schools by allowing 529 account balances to spend up to $10,000 a year on private or parochial school tuition and supplies. ...


58

The United States is the richest country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by financial assets per capita and first in the world by wealth per adult among the countries evaluated. The US has the most billionaires of any country, more than the entire continent of Europe, much less Africa or South America. The reason to ...


55

Forget about names, except for PR purposes. A clear-headed analyst looks that the net flow of money, now and in future entitlements. Call it "UBI" or "tax credit", call it "tax" or "mandatory insurance premium" or "tithe" -- people either give money to the government and government-affilated institutions like ...


54

Comparing taxation across nations is not trivial, because different nations use different means of taxation; just because the VAT is low doesn't mean that the overall tax burden is. Since you asked about taxes in general, let's look at the OECD statistics for "Total Tax Revenue as % of GDP". Their summary report about Switzerland writes: ...


52

Firstly, I think there is some flawed logic in the OP's premise that, historically, the purpose of taxation was to tax the production of something. When a person earns a salary, they are not producing money - money is being given to them in exchange for their labor/expertise. Money is only 'produced' by a central bank or national mint, so by the OP's logic, ...


50

After one generation, you would have lots of engineers and lawyers and few, if any, teachers. After two generations, you would have neither engineers nor teachers. Our culture is more than just engineering. It might be possible to ignore that on the short term, but not for long. So one could say that we're systematically underpaying kindergarten teachers and ...


49

The literal answer to the question So why are the local/land tax authorities going after the US DoD personnel on this issue, when it is clearly annoying the federal government of Germany? is "because Germany is a federal republic and local tax authorities do not take orders from the federal government", which is an idea that in some way should ...


46

What prevents this in general is the practical ability to collect. The US can collect on its citizens living abroad in part because (even foreign) banks really don't want to end up on the bad side of the US government, so they try to obey FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). Few foreign banks would probably give a hoot if the Iranian government ...


45

You want people to be able to understand their tax returns. Addition and multiplication are hard enough; finding your place on a curve could involve square roots or (gasp) logarithms. Even some college graduates might have trouble applying that in the real world, without the formalism of calculus homeworks.


44

There are two issues with your question. The first is that you're approaching this from a wrong angle. The question is not how or whether a property tax is justifiable or justified, but rather how or whether its modern variation came into existence with any kind of sensible rational. The second is that your idea of there being some kind of barter system is ...


44

You seem to have a common misconception of tax brackets (at least the way they're implemented in the US and in many other countries): The tax rate of each bracket is marginal - that is, it is only applied to the income that is "inside" the limits of that bracket. "Entering" a bracket does not affect your tax rate for the income below the bracket. Thus, the ...


42

According to Merriam Webster, capitalism is... an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. There is nothing in this definition that ...


41

This is explicitly stated in US tax law. From 26 U.S. Code § 6103. Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information: (f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress (1) Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the ...


40

You're not alone in thinking that taxing wealth more and income less is a way to reduce inequality. It's something that some commentators do argue (here's an example from the NY Times), and most countries already have a mix of taxes that include both income, and things that are linked to wealth independent of income (examples below). However, your ...


40

The difference between a fee and a tax is that while a fee can be designated to be spent for one specific purpose, a tax is not. All taxes go into the state coffers and parliament decides how that tax money is then redistributed to all the government activities. History is full of taxes which were promised to be leveraged for very specific purposes but then ...


40

There's a number of misconceptions about the estate tax in the US. It's a tax that only affects the very wealthy, it taxes income that can otherwise go untaxed, people with vast amounts of wealth are already able to minimize its impact, and it helps to increase social mobility (reduce income inequality) by preventing the ultra wealthy from hoarding too much ...


39

Discounting the surrounding flora, your question seems to be fairly clear: what's the difference between tax breaks and stimulus checks? (It becomes less clear when introducing the word "philosophical," but let's give it a try.) If the tax breaks are provided for the same time frame and specifically targeted to the identical people, as the stimulus ...


39

There has been a steady decline in enforcement of tax laws against the wealthiest individuals since the Reagan administration. The people who stand to lose if the tax laws are adequately enforced have bought themselves some democracy and managed to get legislators (mostly Republicans) to cut enforcement funding from the IRS and to also legislate rules that ...


38

This isn't the only reason, but one of the current reasons is that Donald Trump has not divested himself of any of his business holdings before assuming office. He has continued to profit off of these businesses throughout his term in office. The emoluments clause exists for a reason. There is a great deal of evidence of foreign powers paying money to Trump ...


37

The reporting on the senate bill still having the AMT set at 20% and the new corporate tax level being at 20% while the house bill removed the AMT is accurate. Corporations have been outspoken in their opposition to the 20% corporation tax with the 20% AMT as it would essentially remove the tax benefits currently available for R&D funding and other tax-...


37

Wow, so my understanding was way out of date. Here's a history of taxation and gambling in the UK, which includes what I though was still the case; The first shops opened in 1961 but under the condition that a new levy was to be charged at 6.75% to bookmakers. Bookies passed this on to punters in the form of a 9% betting tax. The tax could either be paid ...


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