Opinion: The GOP rebrands itself as the party of tax cheats
Republicans' misinformation exploits the confusion of honest taxpayers.
Story continues below advertisementTo be clear, rank-and-file wage-earners are not necessarily more honest or patriotic. It’s just much harder for them to shortchange Uncle Sam.AdvertisementWorkplace grunts have taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks. And, critically, most labor-related income — as well as income from dividends, interest and other sources — gets reported to the Internal Revenue Service through W-2s, 1099s and other common tax documents.
So it’s difficult to sneak unpaid liabilities past the IRS.There are some types of income, however, for which little or no third-party reporting exists. These income categories — including partnership, proprietorship and rental income — accrue disproportionately to high earners. The government has much less ability to tell when these filers are misreporting; as a result, they can more easily get away with cheating.
Story continues below advertisementAnd some of them do.This is evident fromIRS dataon “voluntary compliance,” or how accurately people report their income and tax liabilities without the government having to come after them. When it comes to ordinary wage and salary income, taxpayers are remarkably forthcoming, with noncompliance averaging only 1 percent; for those more “opaque” income sources, noncompliance is an estimated 55 percent. headtopics.com
AdvertisementTax cheating is not a victimless crime. When (disproportionately high-income) people don’t pay their bills, everyone else must pay more to fill the shortfall.One solution is to have the IRS conduct more audits. Audit rates for big corporations and high-income individualsRead more: The Washington Post »
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