Kilroy Was Here
December 30, 2003
William Jennings Bryan once said, "Of all the mean men I have ever known, I have never known one so mean that I would be willing to say of him that his patriotism was less than 2% deep."
Well, maybe 2 percent, but as the LA Times reports, for some, patriotism may top out at 14%.
The two areas of special interest are perks such as private planes, housing and deferred compensation plans, and stock option arrangements that may allow for the underpayment of taxes on the gains.
The biggest ticket item is likely to be stock options that were put into trusts and family limited partnerships, allowing executives to transfer the tax liability on the gains to children and organizations that would be in a significantly lower tax bracket than the executive. The IRS has labeled these deals as "listed transactions," which puts companies on notice that tax officials believe the deals to be so abusive that they must be immediately reported to authorities.
Hundreds of such arrangements are believed to have been entered into over the last three years, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in stock gains.
"The amounts are astronomical," said one compensation expert who asked not to be named. "The stock deals were heavily marketed to people with huge stock gains. If you figure that just 10% of the Fortune 500 got into them, you'd be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in tax."
Why do the people who have benefited the most from our traditions and free institutions are so contemptuous of those same traditions and institutions that they'll do anything to avoid contributing to them.
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