Tax returns of the candidates

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Demosthenes
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Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Demosthenes » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:32 pm

Palin just released hers so all four are now available.

Summary chart from TaxProf blog:
Image

The returns:
http://www.johnmccain.com/downloads/200 ... _Palin.pdf
http://www.johnmccain.com/downloads/200 ... _Palin.pdf

Opinion letter from legal counsel on the per diem expenses:
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... letter.pdf

Please keep in mind that this was posted in the tax policy and shelter forum, not ranting & raving.
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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby BBFlatt » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:46 pm

Demosthenes wrote:Palin just released hers so all four are now available.

Opinion letter from legal counsel on the per diem expenses:
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... letter.pdf

Please keep in mind that this was posted in the tax policy and shelter forum, not ranting & raving.


FWIW, I've seen better opinion letters opining that Son of BOSS transactions were perfectly legitimate and above reproach. And at least the people who claimed justifiable reliance on said letters had the good sense to have the letters dated prior to the date they filed their returns.
When the last law was down and the devil turned 'round on you where would you hide, the laws all being flat? ...Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake. -- Robert Bolt; A Man for all Seasons

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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Mr. Mephistopheles » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:55 am

CaptainKickback wrote:Hmmm......well, at least if Obama raises taxes on "the rich" he will definitely feel the bite.

I am curious, what caused his huge jump in income between 2006 and 2007?

Also, this is pre-emptive, do not rush to slam the Bidens for only donating around $1,000 the past couple of years. It is entirely possible that they have made sizeable donations of goods and clothing and/or of their time.

If you were to look at my tax return, it would show $0 in donations. But I regularly take excess clothing, appliances and electronics to Goodwill, but I never bother getting a receipt - frankly because it's more bother than it's worth on my tax return. Also, it does not allow for the time I have given to several charitable events/organizations.
(boldface mine)

Book sales perhaps ? ? ?

Apparently McCain and his wife file seperately.

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Demosthenes
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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Demosthenes » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:09 pm

BBFlatt wrote:FWIW, I've seen better opinion letters opining that Son of BOSS transactions were perfectly legitimate and above reproach. And at least the people who claimed justifiable reliance on said letters had the good sense to have the letters dated prior to the date they filed their returns.


It isn't a reliance letter. Comparing the Son of BOSS tax shelter to this case is kind of silly, no? Unlike wealthy taxpayers who pay high price lawyers to reduce their burden, she had her taxes done by H&R Block and relied on the W-2 issued by her employer.
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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby BBFlatt » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:09 am

Demosthenes wrote:It isn't a reliance letter. Comparing the Son of BOSS tax shelter to this case is kind of silly, no? Unlike wealthy taxpayers who pay high price lawyers to reduce their burden, she had her taxes done by H&R Block and relied on the W-2 issued by her employer.


I agree it's not a reliance letter, but what is it? A letter from a DC lawyer (who I kinda doubt is the Governor and first Dude's regular family attorney) that contains very little in the way of legal analysis and no cites to authority, and basically says "She reported what they put on her W-2, what more do you want?" looks to me more like a prop in a piece of political theater than anything that would be submitted to the IRS.

Was my comparison silly? I didn't mean it to be; was it comparing apples to oranges? probably, that's why I prefaced it with a common abbreviation for the expression "For what it's worth". This letter, like an SOB opinion letter was intended to persuade the reader that a tax position has merit and that the return is question is correct as filed. Unlike the SOB letter, the one presented here contains little of substance beyond the naked assertion that the employer is responsible for determining what constitutes taxable wages and the employee is entitled to rely on the W-2.

Last time I checked (and it's been a while) the question of where is a person's tax home was one of facts and circumstances, and while an employer's determination of where one's duty station is is an element of that determination, it is not the last word. Especially when you are considering the tax home of the chief executive of said employer.
When the last law was down and the devil turned 'round on you where would you hide, the laws all being flat? ...Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake. -- Robert Bolt; A Man for all Seasons

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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Demosthenes » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:56 pm

It's a letter meant only to limit tongue wagging in the press and public, not persuade the IRS of anything.

Was my comparison silly?


You called it an opinion letter ("I've seen better opinion letters") and then disparaged her for not having the "good sense" to have it dated prior to date she filed her returns.

FWIW, I've seen better opinion letters opining that Son of BOSS transactions were perfectly legitimate and above reproach. And at least the people who claimed justifiable reliance on said letters had the good sense to have the letters dated prior to the date they filed their returns.
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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Demosthenes » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:12 pm

Last time I checked (and it's been a while) the question of where is a person's tax home was one of facts and circumstances, and while an employer's determination of where one's duty station is is an element of that determination, it is not the last word. Especially when you are considering the tax home of the chief executive of said employer.


I'm hoping others who are tax experts (I'm certainly not) will address this part of your response.
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Re: Tax returns of the candidates

Postby Red Cedar PM » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:22 pm

Demosthenes wrote:
Last time I checked (and it's been a while) the question of where is a person's tax home was one of facts and circumstances, and while an employer's determination of where one's duty station is is an element of that determination, it is not the last word. Especially when you are considering the tax home of the chief executive of said employer.


I'm hoping others who are tax experts (I'm certainly not) will address this part of your response.


It is a facts and circumstances determination. The taxpayer's tax home is the taxpayer's principal place of business. If Palin conducted the vast majority of her job (state business)while in Juneau and only returned to Wasilla for personal time, then the answer is easy - her principal place of business is Juneau, and any per diem amounts paid are nontaxable. The problem is the letter states that she returned to Wasilla to conduct state business in Anchorage and to work from "home" in Wasilla. Without knowing how many days Palin spent on official business in each area, it is difficult to say which area was her tax home. I would have to imagine most of her work is done at the state capital, but it is not entirely clear just from reading the opinion letter. It is also possible that if Palin was always travelling that she would be classified as an itinerant, meaning she has no tax home and per diem reimbursements would always be taxable to her. I don't think this is the answer, but it is a possibility.

However, I don't think the state's position is unreasonable and I don't think it was wrong for Palin to have filed that way. I do think that Mrs. Palin probably has a high enough profile that she should be getting her taxes done by a CPA and not H&R Block, in order to avoid any tax screwups that would be potentially quite embarassing.
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Grixit wrote:Hey Diller: forget terms like "wages", "income", "derived from", "received", etc. If you did something, and got paid for it, you owe tax.


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