No, You Idiots. That’s Not How Taxes Work. An Accountant’s Guide To Why You Are a Gullible Moron

No, You Idiots. That’s Not How Taxes Work. An Accountant’s Guide To Why You Are a Gullible Moron. By Larry Correia. Warning: Bad language.

I posted that last night on Facebook, and sure enough, this morning my feed is filled with people who don’t know shit about taxes retweeting the stupid opinions of other morons who also don’t know shit about taxes. This is just as annoying as last week when these same idiots all suddenly became Constitutional Scholars. Or the month before that when they were all experts on use of force laws and police tactics. Or the month before that when they suddenly got their epidemiology degrees from the University of Internet and turned into infectious disease experts.

Holy shit, you Dunning-Krugerands are annoying. Of course the comments are all about the “morality” of paying your “fair share”. Which isn’t how any of this works in real life. Just stop it with your vapid hot takes already. You clearly have a child-like grasp of a complex topic, and your words are making America dumber.

As a former accountant, please allow me to explain why all of today’s newly formed tax experts are fucking morons

First off, “morality” doesn’t have jack shit to do with taxation. You pay what you legally owe. Nobody willingly pays the government more than they legally owe. …

Second, “loopholes” is a term most often used by people who don’t understand accounting or tax law, to complain about how somebody else used the existing laws created by congress to pay less than what that person thinks is “fair.” Regular people have heard the bullshit term loopholes tossed around so much that they start to believe that it is some magical easy button that rich guys can just push that makes it so they don’t have to pay taxes.

Nope. They’re just laws. These “loopholes” exist because at some point in time congress (both democrat and republican both!) decided that they wanted to promote some type of behavior or discourage some other behavior. So they basically put a reward into the law saying if you do this thing we like, you’ll pay less taxes! Or the opposite, congress wanted to discourage some behavior, so if you do that thing we don’t want, it will cost you more.

Both sides have done this forever, state and federal. We want you to drive electric cars so if you buy an electric car you get a tax break this year. YAY! Uh oh, we want you to stimulate the economy by buying this kind of machinery faster, so you have to depreciate your assets this other way or you’ll pay more! BOO! You get a discount for paying your employees health insurance, YAY! Oh, wait… Not that kind of health insurance. BOO! …

Why was mortgage interest deductible? Because at one point congress said “we really want people to own houses!” Even regular people have things that are considered “loopholes” to somebody. …

How big is the US tax code? NOBODY KNOWS! (and I’m only partially kidding with that answer, because there’s thousands of pages of actual laws, and I don’t think anybody can actually pin down how many thousands of pages there are of supporting documentation and IRS regs and findings that translate those broad laws into the nitty-gritty real world application accountants have to deal with).

It is this complexity that makes it hard to figure out what anyone actually owes. …

Trump’s tax return:

Which brings us to today, with people freaking out about how Trump allegedly didn’t pay taxes for 10 out of 15 years and how that’s UNFAIR. Assuming that the anonymous tip isn’t total bullshit — and this is the New York Times we’re talking about and they love to just make shit up — and that the information is accurate (which means that whoever leaked it committed a felony, but that’s a whole different discussion) … my answer is, so?

Is it plausible that a billionaire paid no taxes for a period of several years? Yep. Totally. See all that stuff I wrote above about the complicated tax code and how it is an accountant’s sacred duty to take advantage of all the stupid laws congress has passed to save their client’s money? Pretty much that. It has happened many times before, and it will happen many times again.

One thing that’s really unfair about our tax system is that it is rigged in favor of people who have more resources. Government meddling makes it more costly to conduct business. The more complicated the regulatory burden, the more smaller companies can’t compete. Make the laws complicated enough and the only companies that stay in business are the ones who can afford to pay for twenty guys like me. (My last regular accounting job paid extremely well, and nearly everything I did was jump through government mandated hoops, filling out government mandated paperwork which nobody in the government would probably ever read.)

Trump has those resources. I bet he’s got a room full of accountants, and their leader is probably a grizzled old CPA with an eye patch and a raven who sits on his shoulder. The raven also has an eye patch and an accounting degree. This man has wrestled bears, and he’s going to take advantage of every tax break in the US Code for his client, and do so gleefully, knowing that many of those laws were signed by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

On the other side, you know damned good and well that the IRS has sent their most fearsome auditor against him. This man sold his soul to the devil, and then fined the devil for failing to list that soul as a depreciable asset. When he shows up to audit your company, he appears a flash of fire and brimstone, as a Finnish death metal band plays his theme song. He is an auditor bereft of mercy, compassion, or pity, and beneath his leathery wings serve a legion of IRS goblins, who will crawl into every nook and cranny of the Trump Corporation’s P&L looking for errors, and if a mouse so much as shits a turd large enough to unbalance that ledger, there will be hell to pay.

How the tax system really works:

On one side CPAs, and the other, hellspawn audit demons, and they’ll argue, and battle, and go to court over what is and is not owed to the government, and then the client will pay what is legally owed plus any applicable fines and penalties (and not a dime more). Both sides of this titanic eternal struggle are far smarter than anyone at the New York Times and they have access to the actual financial data, unlike all the blue check mark idiots on Twitter who are whinging on today about their feelings. Barf. Your feelings don’t mean shit.

Same as the rest of us, Trump owes what he owes. And the IRS will determine if that number is accurate or not.

Richard McEnroe:

There is no interpretation of “fair share” that doesn’t translate to “I want your shit.”

More at the link.