8:44 am August 14, 2012, by David Markiewicz
Two things you can’t dodge, right? Death and taxes.
Make that one thing _ if you’re fabulously wealthy, that is.
According to The New York Times, the Internal Revenue Service this summer unveiled data from the 400 individual U.S. income tax returns with the highest adjusted gross income in 2009 _ those with an average income of $202 million in 2009.
And what did it show? That six of the 400 paid no federal income tax.
The Times notes that the “… data demonstrates that many of the ultrarich can and do reduce their tax liability to very low levels, even zero. Besides the six who paid no federal income tax, the I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent … ”
How’d they pay so little (or nothing at all) when they took in so much?
“The data show that the ultrarich typically pay low tax rates every year, but 2009 was a special case,” the report states. “In 2008, people with large stock portfolios and other less liquid assets were disproportionately hit with large losses on paper. One of the oddities of the tax code is that capital gains taxes are discretionary, since they must be paid only when gains are realized. And they can be offset by losses. The silver lining in a bad year like 2008 for wealthy people is that they can “harvest” losses by selling assets, then use those losses to offset any gains. They can also carry forward the losses to offset gains in future years.”
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