Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, January 1, 2021

There’s a Way Biden Can Raise More From the Rich Without Higher Taxes

Wealth taxJoe Biden has offered a proposed tax plan that would apply higher taxes on Americans that make more than $400,000 a year. Joe Biden believes that the tax increases would reduce inequality among other things. 

However, if the Republican party comes out on top in the Georgia runoff elections, Biden will have a hard time succeeding with his tax proposal. The Republican Party has been clear that they are against tax increases. 

If this is the case, Joe Biden may have another option: be more swift in enforcing the current tax laws. 

According to the New York Times, "Tax experts have long identified a large “tax gap” between the amount Americans owe and what is actually collected. This is disproportionately a result of underpayment of taxes by high earners, especially in certain types of closely held partnerships and midsize businesses that face little scrutiny from either the Internal Revenue Service or outside investors." 

With changes in the IRS's budget, rich people have received less attention, which has allowed them to get away with "questionable or illegal" tax strategies. If the IRS's budget were to big enough to allow them to go after the rich and keep tabs on the poor, a large tax increase may not be necessary. Instead, the focus would be on holding the rich accountable for following the tax laws and using legal tax strategies. 

See Neil Irwin, There’s a Way Biden Can Raise More From the Rich Without Higher Taxes, The New York Times, December 22, 2020. 

Special thanks to Matthew Bogin, (Esq., Bogin Law) for bringing this article to my attention. 


Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink


This supposed other option is for the most part illusory, especially if Rs maintain Senate control. In fact, the article itself gives away the game, although it leisurely waits until the 11th paragraph to do so: “[F]or substantial new investment or enforcement action, it would need Congress to agree to new funding.” Obviously, with an R-controlled Senate, meaningful new IRS funding has as much chance of happening as Mitch McConnell deciding to quit his day job and become a TikTok rapper.

Likewise, in the following paragraph: “It may be easier to find at least some Republican support for stronger efforts at enforcing existing tax law than for raising tax rates.” As the noted philosopher and statesman W. Campbell, Ph.D. (not sure if he can be called “Dr.” or not, have to get Joseph Epstein’s approval for that first!) once so eloquently stated, yes, and airborne simians might also emerge from my posterior.

Posted by: hardreaders | Jan 1, 2021 9:36:30 PM

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