Apparently there is a new form of patriotism among the super-rich:
So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes.
Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the producer of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” children’s show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000 were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Saban, who are portrayed as victims in the report, are scheduled to testify today before the Senate Permanent Investigations subcommittee. They are expected to say that professional advisers assured them their deals to avoid taxes were more likely lawful than not. The Wyly brothers told the committee that they would invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and thus were not called to testify. The report characterizes them as active participants in tax schemes.
I don’t like taxes, and I urge people to use all their options to lessen their tax burden. Legally. But this pretty clearly crosse the line, and if your tax advisor states that your deals “to avoid taxes were more likely lawful than not,” you have gone beyond the legal and recommended methods to lessen your burden, and should know better.
And these people did. They took a gamble with shades of legality, and crossed the line. I understand that someone will immediately pop in here and claim that all taz law deals with ‘shades of legaltiy,’ but I think it is pretty clear these people knew they were finessing the system.