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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  General Politics
| |-+  Political Debate (Moderator: Beet)
| | |-+  Tax avoidance
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Poll
Question: Do you think LEGAL tax avoidance is wrong?
Yes   -26 (56.5%)
No   -20 (43.5%)
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Total Voters: 46

Author Topic: Tax avoidance  (Read 896 times)
Joe Republic
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« on: July 13, 2012, 10:26:40 pm »
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See poll question.

I'm referring to legal methods of reducing one's tax burden, such as offshore sheltering or claiming another country of residence.

You can interpret "wrong" however you like.
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 10:37:40 pm »
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I don't think it's wrong in the sense of being illegal or immoral. Politically speaking, offshore sheltering will be a significant liability, but of course claiming another country of residence means you've given up on the politics entirely. Voted no.
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 11:56:50 pm »
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Yes - I consider it wrong. It disgusts me on a level at par with people choosing to abuse welfare benefits when individuals try to weasel their way out of honoring their end of the social contract.
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 02:26:48 am »
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As long as the state is legitimate, tax avoidance is wrong.
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 03:38:33 am »
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I don't think it's wrong in the sense of being illegal or immoral.

Obviously it's not wrong in the legal sense; that's the whole premise of the thread.  But you do honestly believe that there is nothing immoral about somebody deliberately going to the extra effort to avoid paying their fair share to society, which they in turn benefit from?
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 04:42:37 am »
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Absolutely. And it gets utterly despicable when, even without avoiding, the person's income would still be 3, 10 or 100 times as big as the average income (which, for some reason, is almost always the case).
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 04:49:55 am »
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I'm very surprised people would answer yes to this. How do you define someone's fair share to pay? And how is it not dishonouring any social contract? If you draw up a law making it possible not to pay taxes by doing something, that's your fault for writing the law that way.

It's certainly not the same as welfare fraud, which is, you know, actually illegal.

You're asking people to volunteer extra payments to the state for fun and I don't really see how that can be a moral obligation.
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 12:16:07 pm »
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I'm kinda on the fence about this, as I believe if taxes exist, you should feel the moral obligation to pay them. But on the same hand, I think if you forgo the moral obligation and decide not to pay them, that's on you. I'm probably not construing my thoughts very well, but I voted yes.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 05:18:17 pm »
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In my case, the "fair share" to be paid is decided by taking the decided need elected officials have for revenue and passing that burden on to citizens in a way representing a balance of four interests subjectively deemed to be just: universality (everybody receives benefits, so everybody has a responsibility to pay), marginal utility theory (richer folk have greater capacity to pay tax relative to poorer folk without incurring serious, detrimental affects to their respective qualities of life), minimizing evasion (high rates of taxation, especially on affluent citizens, creates incentive for maneuvers on their part to pay less in tax than what elected officials intended), and economic performance (it is important to mitigate some of the harmful impacts taxes can have in stifling activities which favor human development).

In my opinion, tax evasion constitutes an effort to undermine the first, second, and fourth interests listed and, although not illegal as you pointed out in regards to welfare fraud, is clearly to me a form of individual corruption in passing on the debts one owes to society to others. That is not to say I think individualism ought to be quelled or that it is bad for people to want to receive as much as they can at minimal expense, but an attitude of that sort taken too far in civic life represents a shirking of ones responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. It's perfectly alright if you disagree, Gustaf, but I am not asking people to volunteer "extra" payments to the state for "fun." I am asking them not to scour the system for imperfections to exploit, and make satisfactory contributions to the state for the good of all.

How do you choose to define someone's fair share to pay?
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2012, 05:26:42 pm »
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     It may not be moral per se, but I generally support tax avoidance, due to its role in undermining the power of the state.
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 08:19:33 pm »
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If there's an unnecessary tax loophole that keeps people who you think should pay more from paying more then you just need to plug it, not blame people who are smart enough to use it.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2012, 04:54:24 am »
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In my case, the "fair share" to be paid is decided by taking the decided need elected officials have for revenue and passing that burden on to citizens in a way representing a balance of four interests subjectively deemed to be just: universality (everybody receives benefits, so everybody has a responsibility to pay), marginal utility theory (richer folk have greater capacity to pay tax relative to poorer folk without incurring serious, detrimental affects to their respective qualities of life), minimizing evasion (high rates of taxation, especially on affluent citizens, creates incentive for maneuvers on their part to pay less in tax than what elected officials intended), and economic performance (it is important to mitigate some of the harmful impacts taxes can have in stifling activities which favor human development).

In my opinion, tax evasion constitutes an effort to undermine the first, second, and fourth interests listed and, although not illegal as you pointed out in regards to welfare fraud, is clearly to me a form of individual corruption in passing on the debts one owes to society to others. That is not to say I think individualism ought to be quelled or that it is bad for people to want to receive as much as they can at minimal expense, but an attitude of that sort taken too far in civic life represents a shirking of ones responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. It's perfectly alright if you disagree, Gustaf, but I am not asking people to volunteer "extra" payments to the state for "fun." I am asking them not to scour the system for imperfections to exploit, and make satisfactory contributions to the state for the good of all.

How do you choose to define someone's fair share to pay?

But presumably the tax laws are written to achieve these things already, no? I can give an example of tax avoidance. My parents run a business from home so they have an office in the house. It used to be that the company owned the house and my parents rented the part they lived in from the company. Then the tax laws changed, making the opposite setup more favourable. So my parents bought the house from their company and rented out the office part to it.

This avoided taxes. But I fail to see what makes it immoral. Of course they could have kept the old arrangement to be nice to the state and kept paying higher taxes than they needed. That would have been exactly the same as paying an extra voluntary payment to the state.

In principle, it's the same as the state cutting the income tax and people then paying the lower rate. Sure, you could say that they are no longer paying their fair share and should continue paying the old rate.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 10:01:05 am »
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I don't believe in 'objective morality', but it is a very good reason not to vote for someone - Romney should automatically be considered an enemy by the vast majority if people for his actions.
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 12:24:18 pm »
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If the state creates legal loopholes in the tax system and then does not plug them, that seems to be a signal that it is ok to use them.  It makes one wonder how many US congressmen, governors, and other politicians utilize these "loopholes."
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2012, 12:36:49 am »
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If there's an unnecessary tax loophole that keeps people who you think should pay more from paying more then you just need to plug it, not blame people who are smart enough to use it.

A problem with this is that it is the very wealthy who are more likely to be able to exploit these loopholes.  This only fosters ever widening income inequality.
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2012, 02:03:41 am »
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Lives are not at stake and the law permits it. Thus, it's not objectionably wrong. I don't see myself ever doing it because I think it's more moral to pay the taxes... but it is not immoral to legally avoid them.

My opinion is similar to yelnoc's. I respect the opinion that if the state leaves these loopholes in place, it obviously doesn't want my tax dollars enough to deserve them.
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