A must-read is the November 2011 report by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous.” Reading the report will leave you shaking your head. Our tax codes have been written on behalf of the wealthy. All tax breaks are not available to everyone; some are only for the wealthy.
Among the highlights:
• The farm bill. Millionaires who claimed to be farmers (78 percent listed a metropolitan address) were paid more than $283 million by the Agriculture Department.
• Subsidizing millionaires’ mansions, yachts and vacation homes. We all can deduct mortgage interest, but we all don’t have several multimillion dollar homes and yachts. A yacht qualifies as a home as long as it has sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities, plus it must be occupied at least two weeks a year.
• Disaster relief for uninsured millionaires. Can’t they afford insurance on their properties?
• Forgiving debt for millionaires. This includes debt cancellation in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
• Helping millionaires maintain investment properties. A lot of the expenses of being a landlord can be deducted from the rental income.
• Tax deductions for millionaires to entertain clients. The IRS definition of what is considered entertainment is broad.
The author of the report says “the tragic irony is the wealth in these cases is trickling up rather than down the economic ladder.”
How many of us have these write-offs? Who are the entitled?