Government to Rich People: We Believe You Owe Us Some Money
When discussing how rich people must pay more taxes, someone often notes that despite their higher progressive tax rates, rich people often pay...
When discussing how rich people must pay more taxes, someone often notes that despite their higher progressive tax rates, rich people often pay very little in taxes, because they have very smart and wily attorneys and accountants who find ways to make their clients appear not rich. This is, for instance, the basis for AIG's taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the IRS, claiming that it shouldn't owe as much in taxes because much of the money being taxed was supposed to be in offshore tax havens.Well, the government is currently cracking down on things like offshore tax havens, in an attempt to get more money. A large part of this is a settlement with the Swiss bank UBS. Swiss bank accounts, as you may know, are a favorite place to hide money, because the Swiss are famously very discreet about who has money in their accounts (much to the joy of former Nazis everywhere). Sadly for them, UBS was recently accused of aiding and abetting in millions of dollars worth of tax evasion-and not just because people were using their accounts, their representatives were actively touting tax evasion as a benefit and helping their clients launder money (like, say, by hiding diamonds in toothpaste tubes). As part of the settlement in that case, UBS is being forced to divulge the names of its U.S. account holders. The IRS is gleefully waiting, but has proposed a sort of amnesty: Come in now, pay your taxes that you should have been paying on your money, plus interest, and we won't send you to jail. Idle threats, maybe, but one man has already been arrested, and the IRS promises more are on the way.It's nice to hear that everyone is getting a fair shake. And our government has recently taken on some unforeseen expenses. They could probably use a few extra bucks that we have tucked away in Geneva.