Our Government Targets Wealth Accumulation, Not Just Income

Most discussions on taxation and wealth transfer focus on income, but the IRS has its sights on those who have the bad taste not to merely live on credit but to accumulate wealth, as Charles Rubin notes here:

Basking in the glow of the recently completed offshore voluntary compliance program, IRS Commissioner Shulman in a recent speech revealed a new direction for IRS enforcement – high net worth individuals. The Commissioner noted the recent formation of a Global High Wealth Industry group housed in its Large and Mid-Size Business operating division. The IRS is concerned that the complicated legal structures of high net worth individuals often mask aggressive tax strategies.

Areas of possible abuse cover a large gamut of legal and tax structures, including trusts, real estate investments, royalty and licensing agreements, revenue-based or equity-sharing arrangements, private foundations, privately-held companies, and partnerships and other flow-through entities. For these purposes, the IRS may use taxpayers with a net worth in excess of $30 million as the target demographic of its scrutiny.

Given the enormity of our government’s unfunded obligations, this is unsurprising.  But attacking the accumulation of wealth will only lead people not to do it, or to leave the country before they become successful.  The result of this will be poverty.

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