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Avoiding Taxes 
12th-Jul-2012 08:43 pm
StewieLand
This poll is inspired from a discussion I had in commenting to an LJ friend's journal about whether it is morally wrong for people to aspire to be wealthy and to avoid (through legal means) the payment of taxes.

The term "multimillionaire" is used in some of these questions. Please interpret this to mean whatever number you consider to be filthy stinking rich. The options for some of the questions are limited to yes or no answers so as not to enable people to dodge the question. If that upsets you, don't answer the question.

So, is it wrong to want to be rich and to avoid paying taxes if you can do it legally?



Poll #1853568 Tax Avoidance

If a law permitted you to avoid paying income tax on a portion of your income, would you make use of that law? (Assume that there is nothing about the law that you find morally objectionable, unless you find the idea of paying lower taxes itself to be morally objectionable.)

Yes
16(44.4%)
Probably
14(38.9%)
Probably not
3(8.3%)
No
3(8.3%)

Would your answer to the previous question be different if you were a multi-millionaire?

Yes
5(14.7%)
No
29(85.3%)

Would your answer to the first question be different if you were a candidate in a election for a major public office?

Yes
13(37.1%)
No
22(62.9%)

If you could (and assuming you're not already), would you like to be a multi-millionaire?

Yes
25(67.6%)
No
12(32.4%)

Do you think it is wrong for people to aspire to be multi-millionaires?

Yes
0(0.0%)
A little
9(25.0%)
No
27(75.0%)

Do you resent those who are multi-millionaires?

Yes
3(8.1%)
A little
17(45.9%)
No
17(45.9%)

Comments 
13th-Jul-2012 04:32 am (UTC)
It is most definetely immoral to not pay taxes if you're rich enough to afford to do so. The rich should be required to pay taxes.

I'm of the opinion that there should be a new law: any rich son of a bitch who tries to renounce their citizenship, or has offshore accounts for tax evasion purposes, would - under the new law - get any and all assets still in the US siezed by the IRS. So their choices would be:

1. Be rich, with ALL your liquid assets held in this country (you can still own property elsewhere, or do business in other countries, if the other countries let you), and pay taxes like you're supposed to.

2. Be rich and leave the country, never to do business or own property in the USA again, because if you do, the IRS will seize everything in the US that you own to pay for the taxes you decided not to pay.
13th-Jul-2012 04:32 am (UTC)
I'd love to be a hundred-thousandaire, but multi-millionaire is too much.

As far as some law allowing me to not pay income tax, I assume this is based on current US tax law(sssssss). Generically, there are a lot of factors that would affect my opinion on such a law, such as whether everyone could take advantage of said law, what those moneys would be going to if they were paid, etc.

Edited at 2012-07-13 04:35 am (UTC)
13th-Jul-2012 04:49 am (UTC)
Heh, I guess I'll be appropriately using my Jimmy Carr icon right now, eh?

I couldn't answer questions #2 and #3 because my honest answer is that I just don't know. I can't really imagine being in either position.
13th-Jul-2012 08:19 am (UTC)
By including the caveat, "Assume that there is nothing about the law that you find morally objectionable,", you change the whole question. The problem with the rich people who don't pay their fair share of taxes comes about because they don't find anything morally objectionable if it maximizes their profits. (They tend to find it objectionable, although I wouldn't use the word "morally", if they have to pay any taxes at all, or any other fines, fees, regulatory charges, or anything else that stops them from keeping every cent they acquire.)
13th-Jul-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
Yes. I agree.
13th-Jul-2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
The premise is "Assume that there is nothing about the law that you find morally objectionable, unless you find the idea of paying lower taxes itself to be morally objectionable."

Your comment assumes what "rich people who don't pay their share of taxes" think, but that wasn't the question at all. It assumed that there was nothing in the nature of the tax exemption that violated your moral compass. So, for example, if money that you invested in oil drilling was tax exempt, but you were morally opposed to oil drilling then this might be such an exception. But the question asks you to assume that the tax exemption is one that you have no specific moral problem with. If you're opposed to all tax exemptions morally wrong, that's when the "unless" kicks in.
14th-Jul-2012 07:56 am (UTC)
)T, but I approve of your icon :-)
13th-Jul-2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
My last vote was "a little" because, while I don't have a problem with people being wealthy and paying (or not paying) whatever taxes are legally required, I disagree with large corporations and wealthy individuals using their wealth to unfairly influence the political system. I think the deck is squarely stacked against the average person and the ever-growing number of low-income people because of this. I also dislike the use of wealth to make things less safe and fair for workers at all levels.

I have no problem with individuals following tax law to avoid paying taxes they are not legally required to pay, but I believe the current laws are likely unfair and should be changed. I don't think it's morally wrong to be wealthy. I also don't think it's wrong to be wealthy and never give to charity, but I admire those who follow their passion and heart and work for things they believe in. On the other hand, I don't think people who are in need of basic human needs (food, shelter, health care, whatever) should have to depend on the largess of any person or group. I believe we pay taxes so that we all share the costs of the upkeep of roads and bridges and to make sure everyone gets what they need to live. (Forgive any typos. I'm typing this with one finger on a touch screen.)
13th-Jul-2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
What exactly do you mean by "if a law permitted you to"? Are we talking tax loopholes here or legit stuff buried deep in the labyrinthine coils of the tax code that says "oh btw if you fall into X category you don't have to pay Y"?

I don't find using legitimate rules to lessen your tax payments morally objectional. I find tax loopholes to be a moral gray area, and avoiding paying your taxes is something I cannot approve of unless you're protesting against a truly despotic government by doing so (sorry, Tea Partiers &c., the U.S. gov't does not fall into that category yet).

Edited at 2012-07-13 10:22 pm (UTC)
17th-Jul-2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
Well low income jobs don't pay any kind of income tax , so there you go (everything under 400 € currently)
I don't see anything wrong with other people wanting to be multimillionaires. Thats what Lottery is about anyway ;).
I myself have no aspiration to be a multimillionaire and I see no reason to resent anybody who is, because with money comes obligation. I am quite happy with the level I have at the moment.
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