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Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 300
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 07:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anyone besides me get hit with this sweet little gem of a deduction invalidator?

Two years in a row now.
This space open to interpretation
 

Bob Wall
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 784
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 08:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://www.fairtax.org

nuff said.
"If ignorance is bliss, this lesson would appear to be a deliberate attempt on your part to deprive me of happiness, the pursuit of which is my unalienable right according to the Declaration of Independence. I therefore assert my patriotic prerogative not to know this material. I'll be out on the playground."
-- Calvin
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 302
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 08:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ya ain't gonna get 2/3rd's of the states to repeal the 16th.

The country's too polarized these days.
This space open to interpretation
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6925
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 12:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unfortunately the AMT is not indexed for inflation, so as salaries go up more people are being affected.
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1606
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 03:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron, you just gotta be poor like me! Single income, family of four, I get off pretty easy these days. We don't have any money to do anything, but at least I get off easy on the taxes.

Bob, you so nailed it. I've been screaming for the Fair Tax for a long time now myself. It's about time everyone starts paying their fair share, from those who are paid in cash and therefore don't pay any income tax, to those who make the big bucks and use their sleazy lawyers to pay less in taxes than I do.

I prefer the Fair Tax concept myself, but I would be fine with a flat tax. Anything other than the ridiculous mess we have now.
 

Phil Lapp
Junior Member
Username: Phil_lapp

Post Number: 46
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 09:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

AMT is a flat tax. 28% and no deduction. Seems like exactly what the flat tax folk want. Don't worry Ron, if you keep earning more, eventually you will pull out of it and just start paying ordinary rates of 30-35%. You can be happy that you aren't paying AMT, but then again, that is because you are paying MORE than AMT.

Unfortunately, when Bush rolled through the big cuts, he "forgot" about those that make between 150K and 500K that now sit right in the AMT zone and can't do anything about it. Of course, "Bush's Base", the one's that have AGI in the seven digits, are past the AMT.

When the average wage in the country is like 40-50K for a family, I don't think you will ever get a majority of people to shed tears for those who make multiple six figures.

Mike, FYI, under any fair tax or flat tax, you will pay substantially more than you do now, as would I. In the name of voting my pocketbook, I ma not in a hurry to give the big boys a break so that I can pay more.
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1607
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 01:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Phil, the theory behind the fair tax is eliminating all current federal taxes like the income tax and corporate tax. That in turn would lower the double taxation we currently get when we pay income taxes PLUS we pay corporate taxes that are buried in the prices we pay for goods and services. The idea then being that the prices of goods and services would be the same as what we pay now with the new tax added in, but we have no income tax.

Basically this would penalize the big boys more vs giving them a break, because everything they buy - cars, boats, etc cost more or they just plain buy more and therefore they contribute more to the tax base. The more you buy the more you contribute, the less you buy the less you contribute. Seems pretty simple to me.
 

Bob Wall
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 785
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 04:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just got done doing my taxes and realized that I am paying the government the equivalent of a monthly payment on a higher-end Lexus (calculated at 0% for 60 months) while I can barely afford the monthly on my wife's Buick (amortized @ 2.9% for 60 months)

I'll say it again:

http://www.fairtax.org

I am not a math whiz, but when you put it in those terms, it clears things up a bit.
"If ignorance is bliss, this lesson would appear to be a deliberate attempt on your part to deprive me of happiness, the pursuit of which is my unalienable right according to the Declaration of Independence. I therefore assert my patriotic prerogative not to know this material. I'll be out on the playground."
-- Calvin
 

Phil Lapp
Junior Member
Username: Phil_lapp

Post Number: 47
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 10:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think fair is great. I also think economic based revolutions are great. If you think that one man's discretionary purchases are commensurate with anothers (ie. someone making $12 an hour vs. someone making $1.2 million a year), then that is a version of fair I don't get. The fact is, the graduated income tax code is part of the plan to keep the middle and lower classes placated and the high wealth folks safe from radical change that could result from restlessness of the masses.

I don't have a problem with fair, buts I don't want to pretend this is a tax issue, and not a social and political stability issue. If we all pay in fair, I suspect we are closer to an unstable economic and political environment, although it will be fair.
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1608
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 11:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Phil, the problem with the current income tax system is there are so many loopholes for the rich that many of them rarely pay their share. On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to the rich that they have to pay a graduated rate based on income and I don't understand how anyone can construe that as fair, unless they are playing the class envy card. But I DO think they should have to contribute their fair share.

A rock solid loophole-less Fair Tax or even a flat tax would take care of that.

This discussion is all so ridiculous for us to be having anyway because if we could get our bloated government to quit SPENDING so much taxes would be less of an issue.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1368
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 12:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

New IRS shortened tax form:

Line 1. How much money did you make last year?

Line 2. Send it in.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 303
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 03:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You folks keep talking about a fair tax as if everyone can or could agree upon what the definition of "fair" is. What is defined as "fair" to one person another one thinks they are getting "screwed".

The facts are that I got educated, worked hard, paid my dues and now make enough money (ie, the company values my output enough) to pay for my own civil service employee. In essence I work for two people's salary.

Is that fair?
This space open to interpretation
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1609
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 05:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron, not *a* fair tax, *the* Fair Tax.

I don't think someone like you paying a higher percentage of your salary than someone who makes less is fair at all. It makes zero sense to me. But class envy is powerful tool for certain political groups.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6939
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 05:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I realize The New York Times is to those on the right what Fox News is to those on the left, but my take is that it demonstrates that the mainstream media have awakened to this situation:

Editorial Copyright 2007, The New York Times

Published: April 16, 2007

This page normally has little patience for people who gripe about paying taxes. But most of the four million taxpayers who owed the alternative minimum tax this filing season have cause to complain.

The alternative tax is supposed to apply to multimillionaires whose high-end tax shelters would otherwise reduce their tax bills to a pittance. The aim is a good one. But in the last decade, lawmakers have willfully undermined the tax’s intent, mainly with overly generous tax breaks for investment income that enable many of the richest Americans to escape the alternative tax.

As a result, only an estimated 3 percent of alternative-tax payers for 2006 are tax-sheltering multimillionaires. Most people who owe the tax make between $200,000 and $500,000; nearly a fourth make $75,000 to $200,000. In those groups, the most common breaks are write-offs for children and for state and local taxes — hardly aggressive tax shelters. Yet, on average, the alternative tax has boosted those filers’ 2006 tax bills by an estimated $4,200.

So, there are really two problems with the alternative tax: it fails to catch tax avoidance among the richest taxpayers while ensnaring people it was never intended for. In recent hearings, Congress has focused mainly on the wrongly afflicted taxpayers. But that is the easier part of the problem to solve. Simply making inflation adjustments to the levels at which the tax kicks in — which hasn’t been done since 1993 — would shield most taxpayers. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire as scheduled would also help. Because of the way tax provisions interact, those cuts cause many filers’ tax bills to drop initially only to shoot back up when the alternative tax is assessed.

Which brings us to the real hot-button issue. The alternative tax should be reformed so that it does what it is supposed to do: make wealthy taxpayers with excessive tax shelters pay up. The wealthier one is, the more of one’s income is from capital gains on the sale of investments rather than wages and salaries. Capital gains come with a huge advantage: they’re taxed at 15 percent versus a top rate of 35 percent for ordinary income. The lower rate for capital gains is one of the biggest breaks in the code. But under the law, capital gains are not classified as sheltered income subject to the alternative tax.

The result is that the richest taxpayers get a windfall while the burden shifts to others. That huge — and hugely unfair — tax shift will soon get worse. In 2007, the alternative tax will affect 23 million filers. By 2010, it will hit 32 million taxpayers, including nearly all upper-middle-class families with children. Shielding those taxpayers from the alternative tax would mean the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. But much of that would be recouped if tax breaks on capital gains were treated the same as other tax breaks under the alternative tax. Lawmakers have their work cut out for them.


(Message edited by BillPierce on April 16, 2007)
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 305
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2007 - 09:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, great article, thanks.

Looks like if you have a kid (I do) and live in a high tax state (I do) those are the nails in the coffin.

Now that the tax and spend bunch are in power, we can only look forward to more and more years of AMT.

BTW, those other folks on the other end of the political spectrum did not much either.
This space open to interpretation
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2118
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 04:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a ton of merit to a flat tax, but we have to balance our books and pay off our debt before we can get there.

-Doug
 

Derric
New Member
Username: Derric

Post Number: 13
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 07:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> I don't think someone like you paying a higher percentage of your salary than someone who makes less is fair at all.

I have to come down on the side of the poster who said that this all depends on your personal definition of "fair."

Mike has decided that paying the exact percentage of the TOTAL AMOUNT OF INCOME is fair. But why is using "total income" as the basis the "fair" thing? Who said so? Who is it "fair" to? EQUAL is not always FAIR, and FAIR is not always EQUAL.

I propose that the definition of "fair" is to pay the same percentage of DISPOSABLE INCOME. That's still "fair" in the sense that everyone pays the same percentage. Who said the base number has to be total income? (That's just a somewhat easy number to come up with).

Just to pick some numbers, if I make $40,000 for a family of 4 and pay 15%, that $6000 tax. Remove $6000 for rent ($500/mo), $6000 for food ($500/mo), $10000 for power/phone/water/sewer/clothes/state taxes, that leaves $12000 "disposable." Hey, $6000 15% fed tax is now 50% of disposable. Pick any numbers you want for a $1,000,000 income person and see what % of his disposable income you come up with (HINT: it will be a **LOT** less than 50%). (These numbers are 100% made up... but feel free to sub in real numbers ... the point is still valid).

Take total income, remove a "fair" amount for housing, food, transportation, etc and come up with a disposable income number, then tax that on a flat rate. I suspect that you'll have something quite similar to our graduated system. I believe our graduated system is based on this "definition of fair."

Again, the definition of "fair" depends upon where you are standing and which side you are looking at the issue from (and how narrow your field of view is).

Derric
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1610
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 11:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Derric, I support a family of four with just my income and I'm far from having a high income. Put it this way, I'm nowhere close to paying the AMT...and I probably NEVER will at the rate I'm going.

But anyway, I just can't get my mind around how some people think people who make more should pay in a higher percentage of their salary just because they make more money. The higher income people who actually pay their taxes are already putting more in as a result of their higher income. You think it's fair for them to pay even more?

One comment on your analysis, your tax liability would actually be about zero. Someone that makes 40K with 4 exemptions would probably have a tax liability of around nothing. I'm not going take the time to mock up the tax return, but in that example it would be pretty close to $0, especially if you change your rent figure to a mortgage and all the deductions that come with it.

The Fair Tax intends on giving prebates to every citizen/family to offset the tax paid on necessities. There is some reason in the text of the bill to not just leave the necessities tax free, but I forget what it is right now and I'm too lazy to look it up. Currently our state (WI) doesn't have a sales tax on unprepared food, so I still think it would be doable on a federal level, but they have a reason for not wanting to do it. But anyway, the intent behind the prebate is to essentially have people who don't pay taxes today due to lower incomes still not pay taxes in the end under the Fair Tax either.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2119
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 01:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike,
I can tell you from practical experience that the mock up tax you talked about is inaccurate at best. I have been in the position of being the sole money making for a family of 4 with an income in the mid 40s. I owned a house at that time and had my father-in-law CPA preparing my taxes. He is good and knows exactly where the limits are that raise flags so he creeps the deductions right up to those limits.

Never once did we get a full refund of our taxes. Never even close. This is practical and real life experience not Fox News talking points or mock tax return. You pay your SS tax no matter what (up to $97,500 per year of annual income and then it is capped), if you are lucky you can work your deductions and get you income tax down to 7 or 8 percent.

Just an observation from someone who has lived it.

As an example of the percentage of annual income goes to taxes you can look at Bush whose income was $765,801 this year and paid $186,378 which comes out to 24.3%. Many people in the middle class pay close to that percentage yet they will struggle to make mortgage payments and put their kids through college.

-Doug
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1611
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 03:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Doug, on the contrary let's just say I know quite well that my mock up is very accurate. Maybe even an understatement given the right circumstances. And I'm not just using talking points, I've lived it.

I was only speaking of federal income taxes. SS and Medicare taxes are over and above this conversation. And then there is my state income tax which far exceeds what I pay in federal income taxes. And then there are my property taxes which are outrageous compared to the value of my home. But those are state taxes, as it was originally intended to be. I'm not crazy about paying as much as I do to the state, but I'm happier paying in to them than the feds because they'll just blow it on one of the infamous pork projects.

Don't worry, once the Democrat-led Congress gets their way my time of getting a break for trying to do the right thing and raise a family the right way will be dead and gone. I'm sure I'll be back to paying more to the feds than the state once again in the not so distant future.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2120
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"probably have a tax liability of around nothing"

Hase now turned to absolutes and real life experience for you........hmm

I am just providing my real life experience to your "probably" and "about zero" and "pretty close to $0".

But hey next time, just spell it out that you have experienced this situation personally. As they say YMMV.

-Doug
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1612
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 01:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was trying to make a not-so subtle reference to myself when I said he would probably have a tax liability of around nothing but you forced my hand when you said I was lying. I didn't want to come out and actually say I've lived a scenario quite similar to Derric's example because my personal finances are really no one's business but me and my wife's.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2121
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 09:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry man. I did not mean to call you out. I have been in that same scenario and came up with a different result. Getting the income tax down to 7% was pretty good (a nice return right before summer made our vacations back then).

-Doug
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6950
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 10:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've always thought maximizing the tax refund is a terrible form of savings; you're basically lending the government your own money interest-free. My goal has always been to have the use of my money and write them a small check at tax time. I've had trouble convincing my wife that a large refund is not such a good thing.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2122
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 11:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,
I used to try to minimize the return back in my youth, but did end up paying a couple of times. When you look at situation where your savings account earns you a solid 1% or less you are only talking about loosing $20 bucks at the most on a $2K return. When you have the pressures of a full family and one income having money tucked away that you absolutely can not get to until right before the time you want/need it is a really good thing and worth a lot more than $20. This sort of no-interest savings has become part of our family budget that really works for us.

But that is to say that we try to maximize our return. I take the standard 4 deductions and let the deductions bring the money back in at tax time.

-Doug
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1613
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2007 - 02:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with you Bill to a point. My wife started staying home to spend some time with #1 shortly after getting pregnant with #2. That next year we had a much larger than usual return between state and feds due to obvious reasons. Some quick calculating led me to realize how much more money I would have in my pocket each month if I adjusted my deductions so I did. I still get a return each year, but it's far less.

The one way I differ from your train of thought is I despise paying in even the slightest amount in April after paying in all year, so I have mine set up for a small return each year. Worked pretty well for '06 so I'm leaving it the way it is for now.

Doug, I hear you though too. If you don't think about the interest free loan you are giving the government, a big return sure is a nice bonus in spring. Personally I'm just trying to split the difference between your two lines of thought.
 

Joakim Ruud
Advanced Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 652
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2007 - 08:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, over here it's the other way around. The govt pays a higher interest on the money you "lent" it than you would get in a bank. The flip side of the coin of course is that if you paid too little, you have to pay interest on the money you "borrowed" from the government.

(Message edited by joques on April 19, 2007)
For to accuse requires less eloquence, such is man's nature, than to
excuse; and condemnation, than absolution, more resembles justice.
-Hobbes, Leviathan
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7151
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Monday, May 28, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

More advocacy from The New York Times:

Editorial Copyright 2007, The New York Times

Published: May 28, 2007

When lawmakers return from their Memorial Day recess, fixing the alternative minimum tax, once and for all, should be at the top of their agenda.

The A.M.T. is supposed to tax tax-avoiding multimillionaires. But over the last decade, the code has been distorted in such a way that multimillionaires hardly ever pay the alternative tax. Instead, it now falls hardest on people who make between $75,000 and $500,000 a year. Unless Congress changes the rules, about 20 million such taxpayers will be hit in 2007, with an average additional tax of nearly $3,000.

That’s unfair. For upper-middle-income taxpayers, the big write-offs are for children and for state and local taxes, hardly aggressive shelters.

True reform must lift the alternative-tax burden from wrongly afflicted taxpayers while enacting a fair way to raise tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue that will be forgone. President Bush has long promised a real fix but has never taken action. The truth is, Mr. Bush needs the alternative tax because the revenue it’s projected to generate masks the drain from the tax cuts he has lavished on millionaires. So reform will be up to Congress.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has come up with a plan that deserves lawmakers’ careful attention. It would get rid of the alternative tax altogether, and in its place impose a new 4 percent tax on income above $200,000 a year for married couples and above $100,000 for single taxpayers.

Under the proposal, most taxpayers with incomes under $500,000 would pay lower taxes than if they remained subject to the alternative tax. Taxpayers at higher incomes would pay more taxes, especially those with incomes above $1 million. Thus the surtax would be most significant for those at the highest income levels, among the biggest beneficiaries, by far, of the Bush-era tax cuts.

In the past, this page has advocated exempting upper-middle-income taxpayers from the alternative tax and revising the A.M.T. rules to include many millionaire investors. Such investors were the original targets of the tax because they enjoy a huge break in the form of superlow capital gains tax rates. But for the past decade, they have largely escaped having to pay the alternative tax.

The plan from the Tax Policy Center gets to more or less the same place, with less complexity.

Most investment income is concentrated among the wealthiest Americans. So by focusing the surtax at the highest levels, the plan could tax investment income at a rate that is more in line with the rates that everyone else pays. The only alternative to a permanent fix is to pass annual relief measures. But such stopgaps cost tens of billions of dollars a year — an estimated $70 billion in 2007 alone — all of which must be borrowed.

That’s not smart or fair. The plan from the Tax Policy Center is both.


(Message edited by BillPierce on May 28, 2007)

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