In a long-awaited development, the largest audit in the history of the IRS has finally taken its next step. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that the agency had notified the company that it owes $28.9 billion in back taxes, plus penalties and interest. The case is epic not only in dollars but in scope. As ProPublica reported in an in-depth narrative in 2020, the IRS saw the case as a chance to prove the agency’s effectiveness. Often cowed by the prospect of facing off against corporations with endless resources, the IRS set out to be bolder and more aggressive. It took the unusual step of hiring a corporate law firm to represent the agency, a step that incensed Microsoft.
In 2020, the Trump team’s last full year, U.S. households annually making over $1 million faced fewer tax audits than households with incomes low enough to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. That had never happened before. But the blame for this plutocratic about-face, a new Americans for Tax Fairness report makes clear, doesn’t belong to the Trump crew alone. Rich people-friendly members of Congress gave Donald Trump his tax-cutting playbook. Ever since 2010, they had been squeezing the IRS budget big-time, forcing the agency “to drastically pull back on auditing the ultra-wealthy.” How drastically?
After pleading guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges this week, Hunter Biden faces new scrutiny after two IRS whistleblowers allege extensive misconduct in the handling of his tax investigation. Biden failed to pay tax on more than $3 million in income. His plea helps him “avoid full prosecution on a separate gun possession charge,” according to a CBS report. Gary Shapley, one of two IRS whistleblowers—the second remains anonymous—testified to the House Ways and Means Committee that the IRS substantiated the need for stricter penalties and Biden was given a sweetheart deal. “I am alleging, with evidence, that DOJ provided preferential treatment, slow-walked the investigation, did nothing to avoid obvious conflicts of interest in this investigation,” Shapley testified.
Under the Free File agreement, Americans who make less than $73,000 per year should be able to file their taxes for free with one of the tax preparation companies that partners with the IRS. But this program has been historically underutilized, with just 4% of eligible Americans filing for free in 2021. The story of the Free File program is long and twisting, and it can seem more like a fight against free tax filing than a fight for it. One of the biggest players is Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, one of the largest tax preparation software companies in the country. ProPublica has reported on Intuit and the Free File program since 2013. Here’s what we’ve found. In 2002, Intuit, H&R Block and other tax prep companies signed a deal with the IRS to provide free tax filing services to millions of Americans. In return, the IRS agreed it would not create its own tax filing system that could compete with the tax prep companies.
The Internal Revenue Service can now get information about electronic fund transfers and courier deliveries between the firm, Panama Offshore Legal Services, and its US clients, the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday. The IRS seeks to identify clients who used the law firm to “create or control foreign assets and entities” to evade taxes, the department said.
The amount of additional taxes that the richest Americans owed after the IRS audited their tax returns fell more than 99% in Donald Trump’s first full year in office, data tables released this week show. Among households making on average $30 million in 2018, IRS auditors recommended less than $5.4 million in additional tax. That’s not the extra tax owed by one rich tax cheat. That’s the total for all 26,517 households reporting income of at least $10 million in 2018—the first year of the huge tax giveaway Trump and the Radical Republicans in Congress engineered in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The recommended additional tax under Trump fell 99.1% from the $610.4 million that tax auditors recommended in 2010, Barack Obama’s first full year as president.
In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes. Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row. ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.
There are many methods of war tax resistance. Each accomplishes a different set of goals and involves a different level of personal risk. This pamphlet explores ways to eliminate your U.S. federal income tax by keeping income low and by using legal tax-reducing measures. It shows you how to find your “tax line” — the level below which you will have no federal income tax at all. It also describes some benefits and challenges of low-income tax resistance, and shows how you can reduce or eliminate other tax payments in similar ways. This is the 5th in a series of Practical War Tax Resistance pamphlets produced by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). You can find a listing of other NWTRCC publications at the end of this pamphlet along with a resource list for further reading on the art of simple living.
By Nora Gámez Torres for In Cuba Today - For years, the U.S.-based Pastors for Peace defied the embargo on Cuba with “caravans” of humanitarian aid hauled across the U.S.-Mexico border that were then shipped to the island. In Havana, its founder, the Rev. Lucius Walker, was received like a hero. Although the organization never applied for a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to bring aid to Cuba, it did not face reprisals, although U.S. authorities occasionally tried to withhold the shipments on the Mexican border.
By Staff of IFCO News - After 7 years of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) has been informed it will be stripped of its tax exempt status for its humanitarian work in Cuba — unless we act now!
By Fergus Hodgson for Tax Revolution Institute - Since 2014, the Internal Revenue Service has ceased confiscating the property of innocent individuals. Or have they? No one wants to throw cold water on the party, especially when it comes to a victory over the IRS. However, an exclusive interview with Attorney Robert Everett Johnson of theInstitute for Justice (IJ) reveals how little the tax-collection agency has conceded with their policy updates.
By Adam DeAngeli for Tax Revolution Center - The draft of the House of Representatives’ financial-services appropriations bill contains language very similar to what was passed last year to defund the IRS from implementing the nonprofit muzzle rule. If enforced, the rule would harm the nonprofit community by curtailing their First Amendment right to speech and creating legal exposure for accidentally violating these new draconian limits. It’s well and good that the IRS will be prohibited another year from carrying out this rule, but unfortunately this bill leaves the door open for the IRS to move forward with their mandate the following year.
By Joe Catron for Mint Press News - WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, March 30, the National Lawyers Guild filed a regulatory challenge asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of the Jewish National Fund. The group’s 501(c)(3) classification, a valuable asset for charities in the United States, not only exempts it from taxation, but also lures donors with the prospect of breaks on their own taxes. But unlike most charities, the JNF is “responsible not only for the past displacement of Palestinians, but the ongoing displacement of Palestinians and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel...
By Thor Benson in TurthDig - According to Rottman, who is a legislative counsel and policy adviser at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, “this bill would make that modest but essential change, and bring our email privacy laws into the age of broadband and cloud computing.” Without such a change in the ECPA, however, agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the IRS and others can simply obtain data stored in the cloud by sending a company like Google a subpoena demanding access to that data when it is 180 days old or older. Users might not even realize their privacy had been breached, because the government can deal directly with the email service providers. On the other hand, if these agencies want the same data before it is 180 days old, they need to obtain a warrant.