In the News: Tax Strategies, Tax Fraud, Tax Relief and Carbon Tax

December 3, 2008

A lot of tax talk in today’s news:

The Wall Street Journal’s Tax Report goes through its “Year-End Strategies to Trim Your Taxes.” Among the recommendations is “stayin’ alive” …

“Buried in the tax law is a powerful incentive for many wealthy people who care about their heirs to stay alive at least until the dawn of 2009. The basic federal estate-tax exclusion, now $2 million, is scheduled to soar to $3.5 million next year. Thus, if someone survives until Jan. 1, an additional $1.5 million of that person’s estate will be sheltered from the federal estate tax, where the top rate is 45% both this year and next.”

Yikes! Anyhow, the report also says that “tax planning will be trickier than usual because of factors such as the stock market’s volatility and the possibility of significant tax changes next year when Barack Obama takes over as president.” Just goes to show how out-of-line our tax code is when it comes to simplicity and stability, two principles of sound tax policy the Tax Foundation promotes.

In other news:

  • The WSJ’s editorial staff cheered the Department of Justice’s dropping of a tax fraud case against KPMG.
  • Richard Rahn of the Washington Times tries to define what an economic stimulus is. He proposes fixing monetary policy and financial regulation that have created the wrong incentives, cutting the payroll and corporate taxes, shifting land titles to the Social Security Trust Fund, and allowing for full write-offs of capital gains losses.
  • Finally, Ralph Nader and Toby Heaps propose a global carbon tax in today’s WSJ.

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