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View Diary: Walmart owners look to slash federal tax payments (66 comments)

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  •  You changed the subject. (2+ / 0-)
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    VClib, winsock

    it's about whether minimizing your federal taxes makes you "greedy."  Those people who are purposefully NOT going to leave huge estates to their children or grandchildren -- are they giving it all to the federal government in taxes, above and beyond what they are legally obligated to pay in federal taxes? Or are they maybe -- like Bill Gates and others -- doing something with it NOW, before they die, so that it can go to the causes they want and NOT to the federal government in estate taxes?  

    Show me someone who says, in his or her will, "I direct that the executor of my estate should not take any legally allowable deductions, exemptions, or credits  in calculating the federal estate tax due, and should include as part of my gross estate all possible property, even that property which may not be part of the gross estate as a matter of tax law, and I further direct that my estate pay federal estate taxes on every dollar, not just on those amounts over the legal threshold for estate taxes." Then you might have a point.  Someone who does all of that is not trying to minimize federal taxes.  Someone who fails to do all of that is trying to minimizing federal taxes and is, under that definition, "greedy."  

    When you answer a question by changing the subject, you have no credibility.

    •  Sorry that you can only imagine (0+ / 0-)

      a reality of lockstep drones that all approach everything in just one way. Maybe that is all you know,people that ride their accountants for every single tax advantage. Probably more common than not,but no,everyone does not do every thing legally allowed to minimize their taxes. Or to maximize their profit$$$$$.

      If you do not see the greed & avarice involved in the Walton's of this world,I hope you can at least see that their behaviour is unsustainable.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:17:00 PM PST

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    •  What are you? (1+ / 0-)
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      I have to ask, what are you?

      Just because something is legal does not make it moral or even desirable.

      Walmart is sucking the life from the US in as many ways as it possibly can.  It's immoral and it's a traitor to the US because it is a major driver of the downward spiral in the US.

      I could just see you back a few centuries ago--re: slavery--"but it's legal," re: wife and child abuse --"but it's legal."

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:47:03 PM PST

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      •  I'm not defending everything Wal-Mart does (3+ / 0-)
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        johnny wurster, winsock, VClib

        I AM defending the notion that a person, or a business, can do whatever is legal to minimize federal taxes.

        Because we ALL do what we can to minimize federal taxes.  We take deductions, we take exemptions, we pay on marginal rates (instead of applying the top rate to all of our income).  And there's nothing wrong with that -- whether you do it, whether I do it, or whether a business does it.  

        There's no moral imperative to pay more in federal taxes than you legally owe.  I reject any notion that, because someone or some business takes advantage of what the law allows to minimize their federal taxes, they are "greedy."  

        You are completely misstating my posts if you interpret them to mean I am defending Wal-Mart in all things.  I am not.  I am defending the notion that it is completely legal, moral, and ethical to avail yourself of whatever the law allows to minimize the amount of federal taxes you pay.  Because everyone I've ever known has availed themselves of whatever the law allows to minimize the federal taxes they pay.  I've never known someone who paid federal income taxes without taking advantage of any of the deductions legally allowable.  That's minimizing your federal income taxes.  

        An action that is completely legal, moral and ethical (such as availing your self of legal avenues to minimize federal taxes) does not become an immoral or unethical action because the entity doing it may OTHERWISE be a bad actor.  

        •  Legal,yes. (0+ / 0-)

          Moral and ethical? How so? Are you saying that someone who does not avail themselves of every credit and deduction on purpose,is immoral or unethical?
          Your case that corporations must avail themselves of every tax strategy is ethically defensible but certainly not true at all for individuals.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:22:59 PM PST

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          •  Again, misstating what I am saying (4+ / 0-)
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            Utahrd, twigg, winsock, VClib

            I am not saying that one is obligated to take advantage of every deduction or exemption.  Many people do not take the time to learn about everything they are entitled to deduct.  I am NOT saying that either an individual, or a business, MUST take advantage of every deduction, exemption, etc. that they are entitled to.  I AM saying that it is not immoral, unethical, or greedy if they do.  

            Doing whatever you legally can do to reduce your federal income taxes is the very reason that H&R Block and Turbo Tax stay in business -- because most people do not even know every potential deduction, and they promise to help you minimize the federal income taxes you pay.  Paying H&R Block or Turbo Tax to help you find ways to minimize the federal income taxes you pay is no more immoral, unethical, or greedy than is paying a tax accountant, or tax lawyer, to do the same thing -- which is exactly what is being criticized in this case.  Any tax accountant, or tax lawyer, who DIDN'T recommend something like this to reduce federal income taxes may be committing malpractice.  

            I AM saying that virtually everyone who pays federal income taxes takes SOME steps to minimize the taxes they pay -- even if it's as simple as taking the standard deduction.  There's nothing immoral, or unethical, about not taking every deduction you are entitled to, and there's nothing immoral or unethical about taking advantage of every single deduction or exemption or provision for minimizing your taxes that you are entitled to take.  No sense of morality, or ethics, compels anyone -- any individual or any business -- to forgo some provision for legally reducing their federal income taxes.  It's kind of ridiculous to imply -- as this diary does -- that there's something "wrong" or "greedy" about doing what you legally can do to reduce the federal income taxes you pay.  Everyone who pays federal income taxes  does that to some extent.  

            •  This is true, up to a point. (1+ / 0-)
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              People who need their income to pay for their lifestyle can, and should, do everything they can to minimise their tax burden.

              The tax system is set up in the expectation that citizens will do that.

              However, their does come a point where some people are not funding a lifestyle, they are accumulating wealth.

              At that point, while it is reasonable that they use the regular tax code provisions, what is NOT reasonable is that they also seek to invent new ones.

              They invent vehicles that do not exist in the tax code as a way to avoid paying any reasonable amount, or any at all. Some of those things are later deemed unlawful, but many are not because the IRS doesn't have the capacity to test everything.

              That is highly immoral, and should be fiercely resisted. They may say "I pay everything I am legally obliged to pay" ... but that isn't even remotely the point.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              by twigg on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:07:45 PM PST

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              •  In those cases, it's a question of legality (3+ / 0-)
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                winsock, twigg, VClib

                and I am certainly NOT defending taking tax positions of questionable legality.  

                What this diary attacks, however, is a decision to pay a dividend BEFORE January 1 rather than after January 1.  There's nothing questionable about that.  People are advised to do things before, or after, year end so as to affect their income tax burden all the time.  See, for example,here and here and here and here.

                I've even seen couples select a wedding day (when they wanted to get married during mid-winter, deciding before or after January 1) in part based on tax considerations.  

                  If you use a program like Turbo Tax, you'll get standard advice about the timing of certain transactions so as to get the best tax effect.  It's called "tax planning."  And with a transaction that is not questionable in the least -- like the timing of a dividend, which is the event that prompted this diary -- there's nothing immoral, unethical, or greedy involved.

                •  Yep .. I agree :) (1+ / 0-)
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                  I would add though that it's not just a matter of legality.

                  The seeking of tax shelters, in ever creative manners, is not illegal.

                  But when you have more wealth or income than you need to sustain your already lavish lifestyle, then it is immoral.

                  And yes, there is a place for morals in tax payment. Ask J K Rowling.

                  I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                  but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                  by twigg on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:31:51 PM PST

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                  •  twigg - no there is not (0+ / 0-)

                    ask Judge Learned Hand.

                    In addition, the decision by the board of directors at Walmart benefits all Walmart shareholders, not just the family. The board has a fiduciary duty to do what is in the best interest of the shareholders. It has no duty to the US Treasury.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:47:32 AM PST

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        •  Nobady likes to say it plainly ... (1+ / 0-)
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          but plainly said - they have more than they will ever need - period.

          How many billions is enough?

          "They want more things ... lament the kings" and such attitudes start real revolutions.

          I'm sorry, that is an old and tired argument from old and tired people who owe their entire wealth to the very citizenry they refuse to respect, and nation they seek to exploit.

          Exploitation of labor and government safety nets, food stamps, medicare, and every other government program have enriched these people beyond all measure.

          The government - and it's ability to level the playing field between the modern aristocracy and the common man is the very principle by which our nation was founded.

          Yeah - they owe it, and we need to demand it - bottom line.

          Greedy? you bet they are ... Morality is the least of it.

          If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

          by RUNDOWN on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:11:02 PM PST

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