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Taxes

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TRUMP CORRUPTION INDEX

This week saw more drama over John Bolton’s book and a stunning first look at Trump’s tax avoidance schemes

Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

Our Tax-Evader-in-Chief

Among the revelations published by New York Times Sunday in its exhaustive investigation into President Trump’s tax returns: In 2016 and 2017 — the year he won the presidency and his first year in the White House — Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes. For comparison, Barack Obama and George W. Bush each regularly paid over $100,000 in annual…


TRUMP CORRUPTION INDEX

The Manhattan DA says it has grounds to investigate the president for tax fraud and the Qatari government is paying Trump for unused office space

Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

A dogged DA’s afternoon

The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested in a court filing on Monday that it has grounds to investigate President Donald Trump for tax fraud. The office of DA Cyrus Vance, which has been looking into the president’s business dealings for over two years, said news reports and public testimony provided grounds for a grand-jury inquiry for crimes including insurance and…


Thanks to Trump, millions of Americans might unwittingly take a loan they didn’t ask for in the first place

Tuesday marked the first official day of the “payroll tax deferral,” the White House’s new policy purportedly aimed at providing relief to American employees during the Covid pandemic via a temporary suspension of the 6.2% share of their Social Security tax. It’s a wonky law, and perhaps because of that has gone unnoticed by much of the general public. But beware: In the history of tax policies, the payroll tax deferral may just be the mother of bad tax policy. In effect, it could force millions of Americans to take a tax loan in 2020 that they will have to…


Every year, Americans short the IRS nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?

One of the biggest economic problems in the United States today is the tax gap, the difference between taxes owed to the federal government and what’s actually paid. The U.S. tax gap is considered quite large for a rich country; the IRS says it’s around 15% to 20% of the total amount due. This adds up to $477 billion — that’s nearly half a trillion dollars — each year in unpaid taxes.

There’s a lot of conversation these days, especially on the presidential-campaign trail, about whether to levy more taxes, especially on corporations and the wealthiest individuals. But wouldn’t it…


Great Escape

Becoming an American citizen is a prohibitive, bureaucratic nightmare. So is trying to leave. I know. I’m trying to.

Breaking up with your country is, for me, like breaking up with a long-term boyfriend. First, there’s a creeping discontent, a sense that your plans and values have diverged. Then there’s a period of self-questioning, delaying, hoping things will improve. Sometimes, this can last years. Then, finally, you make the gut-level decision to end things, and you feel that tremendous swell of relief. You’re free.

That is unless you’re trying to break up with the United States of America. If you’re breaking up with America, it will cost you a small fortune, you’ll want to hire a lawyer, and you…


It doesn’t actually constrain the deficit — and the drama surrounding it carries negative consequences for American taxpayers

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been in tense negotiations over the last few days to discuss raising the debt ceiling and reaching a budget deal — the latter of which Speaker Pelosi insists is necessary if Democrats are to vote for a debt ceiling hike. If, however, the U.S. Congress fails to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, the government will likely run out of money to pay its bills as early as September, resulting in the U.S. …

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