I’ve decided I’m not going to pay taxes any more.
I’m not going to pay tax on my income when I earn it, on my home if I sell it, or on my stocks and bonds if they sell them for a profit too — at least so long as I reinvest the money in other investments.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to avoid paying these taxes forever. I’m just going to defer them. Indefinitely. Maybe I’ll pay them on my deathbed, after I’ve enjoyed the money. Maybe my heirs and successors will pay them — someday. Who knows?
If that sounds to you like an illegal tax avoidance scheme, you’d be right. Deferring taxes and saying I’ll pay them someday, just not now, is a long way from paying taxes here and now like the rest of you.
Which brings us to Trump’s Tycoons — namely the collection of swamp creatures he has brought into his cabinet — and their famous Billion Dollar Tax Break.
The law lets them cash out all their stock — in Exxon Mobil XOM, +0.01% , Goldman Sachs GS, +0.19% , or whatever — and swap the money into a diversified portfolio of mutual funds without paying any tax on the transaction. That’s a big fat saving on their gigantic fortunes, right here and now.
Some of Trump’s Tycoons are very unhappy that people like me are pointing out what a deal this is. So they’ve spoken to their vicar on Earth, and he has spoken to the rest of us.
Their claim: They aren’t really getting a Billion Dollar Tax Break because the taxes will only be deferred. They’ll have to pay them… someday. Or maybe their kids will. Or their grandkids. Who knows? But someday someone may have to pay taxes on that fortune, so this isn’t actually a tax break — no sirree Bob.
This is casuistry. With a big enough fortune you can probably defer any taxable sales forever, as you can simply borrow against the money.
Here’s what Trump means for the tech industry
The incoming Trump administration has given Silicon Valley a headache, mainly due to potential plans to penalize companies that manufacture goods in China. But not all of Trump’s proposed policies may have a harmful effect on the tech sector.
The law — Section 1043 of the IRS code — serves a real purpose. It allows the government to hire very rich people. Without the law, someone like Rex Tillerson would either have to keep his Exxon stock while serving as Secretary of State, or pay a giant tax bill for the privilege of serving in the cabinet. You can see the problem.
But even though Section 1043 serves a purpose, and it still gives Trump’s Tycoons a massive break. It’s especially useful for rich guys who are near retirement age and made their money in one stock — like Tillerson has at Exxon. It allows them to move from a high-risk, single-stock portfolio to a sensible, diversified portfolio without having to hand over 20%℅ to Uncle Sam.
There’s one more thing. The Republican party wants to abolish the estate tax (which they call the “death tax” — presumably because they haven’t yet gotten round to calling it the “heaven tax”).
One of the specious arguments in favor is that Junior and Princess shouldn’t have to pay tax on the windfall they get from Daddy because that money was “already taxed.” But of course in the case of Trump’s Tycoons that absurd and flawed argument won’t even have a superficial appearance of truth.
Cha-ching! Good times. Who knew draining the swamp could be so fun?