Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Once bitten, twice shy or Sly

The American Society of Magazine Editors announced on Tuesday the 50 finalists for ASME's Best Cover Contest, now celebrating its 10th year. You can vote here until January 26. Winners will be announced February 2 ...  

Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study.
Children with low intelligence grow up to be prejudiced
Right-wing views make the less intelligent feel 'safe' ...
                 (from an old newspaper article sunning itself at Little Bay Beach)

Wall Street Journal, What Happens After You Beat the IRS in an Audit:
Getting audited by the Internal Revenue Service—and losing—is devastating. You have to pay more in taxes, and, perhaps scared of a repeat defeat, you’re likely to report much more income in future years.
Once bitten, twice shy
But getting audited by the IRS and winning the fight with the taxman is a completely different experience, according to a study released this week by the IRS’s National Taxpayer Advocate. Self-employed taxpayers who got audited and came out unscathed reported less income in future years, an average of 35% lower three years after the audit, the study says. Having learned where the edge is, they seem to skate closer to it.
Once bitten, twice sly.

pacing peregrine links
How will [bitcoin and other virtual currencies be treated for tax purposes? This is a question I have been exploring for the last decade, both with regard to virtual currencies designed to be used solely online, such as for World of Warcraft, and those designed for use in the real world, such as bitcoin. [Ability to Pay and the Taxation of Virtual Income, 75 Tenn. L. Rev. 695 (2008); Tracing Basis Through Virtual Spaces, 95 Cornell L. Rev. 283 (2010); Death and Taxes and Zombies, 98 Iowa L. Rev. 1207 (2013); Death and Taxes: What It Would Mean for the IRS If Scientists Defeat Mortality (2015); Should Martians Pay U.S. Taxes? (2015).]

Viacom was sued by a former vice president who said the media company fired her in retaliation for opposing its alleged plan to illegally avoid paying U.S. taxes on the international licensing rights for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The world's most famous inequality researchers unveiled a new way of adding up the growing gap between the super-rich and everyone else on Tuesday.

Researchers say that regulations aren’t the only option the government has for discouraging companies from taking on too much risk.

University of Chicago Law Faculty Blog:  The Tax Returns of the Top 400: A Deeper Dive, by Daniel Hemel:
The IRS released data this weekon the 400 individual income tax returns with the highest adjusted gross incomes (AGIs). According to the IRS data, the average federal income tax rate for the top 400 was 22.9% in 2013, down from a peak of 29.9% in 1995 (though up from a low of 16.6% in 2007). Much has beenwritten about the IRS data already (and no doubt more will be written in the coming days and weeks), but three trends deserve more attention than they have drawn thus far.

The New York Review of Books: Parking the Big Money, by Cass Sunstein (Harvard) (reviewing Gabriel Zucman, The Hidden Wealth of Nations (University of Chicago Press, 2015) & The Price We Pay (film directed by Harold Crooks):
In some circles, “redistribution” of wealth has become a dirty word, and recent efforts to make the tax system more progressive have run into serious political resistance, above all from Republicans. But whatever your political party, you are unlikely to approve of the illegal use of tax havens. As it turns out, a lot of wealthy people in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere have been hiding money in foreign countries—above all, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Virgin Islands. As a result, they have been able to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. Until recently, however, officials have not known the magnitude of that problem.

But people are paying increasing attention to it. A vivid new documentary, The Price We Pay, connects tax havens, inequality, and insufficient regulation of financial transactions. The film makes a provocative argument that a new economic elite—wealthy managers and holders of capital—is now able to operate on a global scale, outside the constraints of any legal framework. In a particularly chilling moment, it shows one of the beneficiaries of the system cheerfully announcing on camera: “I don’t feel any remorse about not paying taxes. I think it’s a marvelous way in life.”

U.S. Church Puts 5 Banks From Israel on a Blacklist New York Times