There's a lot left to discover about Mitt's taxes -- especially his offshore accounts and his more than double Madoff-type returns on his IRA. Mitt and his surrogates are swearing up and down that everything he did was completely legal.
But even if Mitt's offshore, IRA and other tactics are legal, isn't the other important question
Should they be legal?If elected, would Romney work to eliminate the kinds of legal tax advantages that he uses now? Mitt is defending his tax schemes solely on the basis that they are "legal." But his tax proposals contain little or nothing to limit the ways in which he has (we assume for now) legally saved millions.
For example, does he agree with Obama's plan to
Change rules allowing U.S. companies to defer taxes on overseas profits until the future, even as they take deductions on foreign expenses now.The answer is No. Romney would not only keep the provisions that enabled him to save hundreds of millions in taxes, he would expand them. For example:
Reduce the credit firms get for paying taxes to other countries.
Compel companies to acknowledge their offshore subsidiaries for tax purposes.
Have foreign financial institutions share information they have on offshore bank accounts.
Romney has proposed to overhaul the tax system so that the foreign profits of U.S. firms aren’t taxed in the United States, even when repatriated.As Josh Marshall writes today:
Unlike Obama, Romney has not offered proposals to eliminate the deductibility of moving expenses for outsourcing jobs or provide tax incentives for insourcing.
Having vast wealth and aggressively working the law and tax code to avoid taxes is a very different thing if your policy agenda is geared almost entirely to benefit the super wealthy. If you’re a gazillionaire and your main pitch is to cut taxes on gazillionaires that’s just gonna put a bit more emphasis on your wealth. This logic should not be difficult to grasp.So while we're waiting and demanding more disclosure from Romney, I would love for at least some journalists to ask Romney whether he thinks the ways he saved taxes with offshore accounts should continue to be legal.