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View Diary: Fed Court: Ministers now have to pay income tax on their "free housing" (323 comments)

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  •  Imputed rent value (0+ / 0-)

    Sure you can: "President Obama's swanky digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. would cost a tenant $1.8 million a month in rent, according to Zillow.
    The real estate blog put together a listing for the 132-room mansion, estimating a total sale price would top $319 million."

    We're not dealing with a constitutional bar, but an IRS regulation. Is there some reason for the IRS to exempt certain pribileged government employees from tax liability? And if you treat some government employees in one way, there is then no obvious bar to treating anybody else the same way, including pastors—you are just treating them the same way you treat others.

    •  Zillow (0+ / 0-)

      Zillow doesn't even give reliable "zestimates" for sale prices or rents on commodity homes. I know; I've been using it several times a month since I started shopping for my home (and bought it, and refi, and watched investments, and considered moving to other states, etc) .

      The White House imputed rent is like the imputed sale price of, say, the pope's crook - not Bill Gates' Microsoft shares. It's a unique item that isn't for sale.

      The IRS regulation exception for the White House is legit under the same doctrine that the Constitution establishes for exceptional treatment of government entities. For example: eminent domain; soverign immunity; government coercion powers generally; Congressional workplace exclusion from most regulations. We very clearly do have exceptions, even if not all of them just.

      If we wanted to charge the Obamas tax on their free rent at the White House (probably $8.5M tax) we'd have to increase presidential pay that much (plus the regression cycle for taxes on that extra income) just to withhold/collect it. And Congress would have to update the dollar amounts to adjust the imputed value along with the (imaginary) market. You don't even break even after applying the rules, because applying them has a cost.  That's clearly inane, and why government entities are subject to exceptions. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little respected government.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:09:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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