Fix the Tax Code Friday: Buffett’s Tax Advice

It’s Fix the Tax Code Friday! This week, Warren Buffett continued to be all over the news for his statements about taxes for the very wealthy. In case you’ve missed it, Buffett has amped up the rhetoric on tax reform by suggesting that those in higher brackets benefit disproportionately from existing breaks in the Tax Code and that those taxpayers should pay more, not less. This is nothing new for Buffett. He made similar statements in 2010 and prior to that, famously said about his tax rates: I’m willing to bet anyone in this room $1 million that those rates …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Tinkering With the Gas Tax

This week, from Bachmann to Obama, the focus has been on prices at the pump. It’s been suggested that a steep drop in gas prices would kick start an economic recovery. If that’s true, the question is how to make that happen. Realistically, the U.S. government only has so much control over the price of gas. Currently, demand is high and the price of oil is controlled by foreign sources. Expanding drilling insider the U.S. would offered some limited relief but that would likely not cause the overall price of oil to drop precipitously. A stronger dollar would go a …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Lesser of Tax Evils?

This month, Philadelphia voted to raise property taxes rather than impose a controversial sales tax on soda and sugary drinks, while New York won another round on its efforts to collect excise taxes from cigarettes sold by Indian nations. Other cities and states have struggled with similar questions when it comes to raising revenue. So today’s Fix the Tax Code Friday question is: Assuming that raising revenue by adding a new tax or increasing an existing tax was your only option, which tax would you prefer to see boosted or added: sales tax, real estate tax, income tax or excise tax …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Lower Tax Rates

It’s the return of Fix the Tax Code Friday! Earlier this month, executives from Boeing Co., Sears Holding Management Corp., Emerson Electric Co. and Perrigo Co., told members of Congress that they would will be willing to give up tax breaks in exchange for a lower corporate tax rate. This is consistent with a recent survey of top officials at U.S. companies which found that more than 60% of those corporate taxpayers would elect to keep their existing tax breaks unless the corporate rate was reduced to 25%. Interestingly, 17% of those surveyed responded that they wanted to keep their tax …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Spending or Tax Cuts?

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about states cutting spending. For example, in Wisconsin, there’s been a very public battle over labor union contracts while in New Jersey, the police force was cut in a city formerly referred to as the “murder capital of the U.S.” California has talked about cutting funding to schools while in Pennsylvania, health insurance is on the chopping block. There’s no doubt that, in this economy, something has to give. You can’t cut spending and taxes – there is simply not enough room in the budget of most states. …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Corporate Tax Breaks and Reputations

This week’s Fix the Tax Code Friday is related to last week’s question – but with a twist. Earlier in the week, I posted about the potential for corporate tax breaks for companies who are repatriating funds to the U.S. Among the companies which appear to have interest in such a move is Apple, which recently hired a DC-area lobbying firm to further their interests. So today’s Fix the Tax Code Friday question is: Does it concern you when companies like Apple get involved with lobbying firms? Do you think better, worse, or about the same of companies who make …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Tax Breaks for Companies

It’s Fix the Tax Code Friday! On yesterday, I reported on a potential tax break for companies in San Francisco (clearly directed towards Twitter) meant to encourage companies to invest in a specific part of the city. We have similar breaks in Philadelphia and indeed across the country. But is it a good thing? Is it desirable to provide tax incentives to keep companies in one place or is it, as some allege, simply shifting the tax burden to other taxpayers? So today’s Fix the Tax Code Friday question is: Should cities and states offer tax breaks for companies as …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: How Rich is Rich?

The latest point of contention in the “will they or won’t they?” session of Congress is whether to extend tax cuts to the “rich.” There seems to be a lot of discussion about what constitutes rich. Some in Congress have indicated that taxpayers making more than $200,000 per year are rich with others suggesting $250,000 or $500,000 as more appropriate thresholds for blocking cuts. Today’s headline on one major web site says “Dems Vow No Cuts for Millionaires” although the $1,000,000 figure hasn’t really been used as a suitable cutoff in most discussions about cuts. So, I want to know …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Excise Taxes

I have to say that I remain fascinated by the vote in Washington state that would have transferred a majority of the tax burden onto the upper wage earners (those earning more than $200,000 as individuals and $400,000 as married couples). Despite the fact that most Washington taxpayers would be financially better off under the law (estimates are that about 98% would pay no excise tax and would benefit from a 20% property tax cut instead), taxpayers sent an overwhelming “no” in response to the proposal. I wonder why that is. Altruism? Fear? Apathy? So today’s Fix the Tax Code …

Fix the Tax Code Friday: Social Security Benefits

If you follow me on Social Media at all (I’m on twitter here and Facebook here), you’ve probably heard me grumbling about the riots in France this week. I’ll admit it: it’s not about the French, I’m totally being selfish. My husband and I have been planning a trip to France for awhile (it just so happens that he has an ABA speaking engagement that coincides with our anniversary) and it’s looking less likely that we’ll be able to go. I’m trying to stay positive but being tear gassed at a Parisian cafe is hardly my idea of a romantic …