• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:07 PM
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  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-20-2019, 12:29 PM
    First of all, the States' incomes aren't taxed; those of their citizens are. Second, the States agreed to a central government taxing their citizens in 1789. Since all income could be taxed prior to the Pollock case, whet the States rose up to demand was that the Pollock result be overturned and that the rich pay taxes on their investment income.
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-20-2019, 10:12 AM
    It was so unpopular that the case became one of only three Supreme Court decisions to be overturned by a constitutional amendment.
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-19-2019, 08:53 AM
    There are many more excise taxes than are described by this definition -- the gift tax, income tax, and estate tax are all excises, and the first two are paid by the one making the gift or receiving the income. The employer's share of FICA/Medicare taxes are also excises, as are certain taxes imposed on private foundations. The term "indirect tax" merely refers to types of taxes that aren't "direct taxes" in the constitutional sense -- excises, duties, and imposts. It doesn't mean that someone doesn't pay the tax directly.
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-19-2019, 07:46 AM
    Because the Supreme Court held in the 1895 Pollock case that a tax on investment income (dividends, interest, rents, and royalties) was equivalent to a tax on the underlying property producing the income and was therefore a direct tax that had to be apportioned. The Court had previously held in 1881 (in a case in which the taxpayer's income consisted of bond interest and personal earnings) that an income tax wasn't a direct tax, but Pollock carved out an exception for investment income. This meant that the rich wouldn't be taxed on their investment income, while those with wages and personal earnings would be taxed on theirs. Not surprisingly, Pollock was a very unpopular decision and provided the impetus for the 16th Amendment.
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-19-2019, 07:03 AM
    Tell that to someone who has to pay rent, employee wages and payroll taxes, insurance, utilities, and the cost of supplies but can't deduct any of these because, e.g., he's in a personal services business and can't allocate a portion of these expenses to Cost of Goods Sold, which a manufacturer can do. You've essentially stacked the deck in favor of certain types of businesses (manufacturing) and against others (personal services).
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-18-2019, 07:17 PM
    With no deductions, you'd turn an income tax on a business into a gross receipts tax, which could result in taxing someone who had an economic loss.
    37 replies | 318 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-07-2019, 11:16 AM
    I ran into a similar situation years ago when I filed a Massachusetts estate tax return. Not only did the estate have to pay the tax, there was a fee (I think it was $25) just to file the return. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound...
    43 replies | 987 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-06-2019, 08:34 AM
    It's hardly unAmerican, since it's nothing more than a sales tax, and all but four states impose a sales tax. The only difference is the tax base. Incidentally, there was a federal stock transfer tax from 1914 to 1966; the rate began at .02% and was raised to .04% in 1932. This is not to say that such a tax would be a good idea. But stock transfer taxes have been proposed from time to time, and they're not original with the current crop of left-wing wackos. See http://www.taxhistory.org/thp/readings.nsf/ArtWeb/6062A8E3B6C9C7C585257480005BFEE6
    43 replies | 987 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    03-05-2019, 09:56 AM
    Sounds like you're gonna need a lot of authority, since someone or some group is going to have to determine what "bona fide crimes" are, whether someone has committed one and, if so, what his punishment will be. But it seems you're giving the accused a veto power, since the concurring opinions of everyone else won't trump his "right" to negate any one of these determinations.
    19 replies | 714 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    02-27-2019, 03:19 PM
    It's doubtful that the Brandenberg test would overrule Holmes's hypothetical in Schenck. Advocacy of political ideas is one thing; deliberately causing a panic by lying is another. The former shouldn't be interfered with so that the marketplace of ideas can flourish. The latter has nothing to do with ideas. As Justice Douglas put it in his concurring opinion in Brandenberg:
    4 replies | 160 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    02-22-2019, 11:26 AM
    It'll be interesting to see how the courts treat Trump's admission that "I didn't have to do this", which undercuts his claim that there's an emergency.
    70 replies | 1823 view(s)
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  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    02-20-2019, 02:08 PM
    Yes. See McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010).
    23 replies | 1830 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    02-20-2019, 02:04 PM
    In a unanimous decision today, the Supreme Court held that the 8th Amendment's prohibition against excessive fines applies to the States via the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause. The case involved Indiana's use of its civil forfeiture proceeding to seize a Land Rover belonging to a convicted drug dealer. The car was worth over four times the maximum fine that could have been imposed for the crime to which the owner pleaded guilty. Justices Gorsuch and Thomas wrote concurring opinions in which they argued that the 14th Amendment's Privileges and Immunities Clause (rather that its Due Process Clause) is a better vehicle through which to apply the Excessive Fines Clause to the States. The case is Timbs v. Indiana and can be read here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-1091_5536.pdf
    1 replies | 93 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    02-20-2019, 10:16 AM
    Stupid tax deniers* (a redundant term) think that under the law as written they have no obligation to pay income tax unless and that if none of these apply any payment of tax is purely voluntary with absolutely no legal compulsion and no legal sanction for failure to pay. These people are hopelessly wrong; as Hand said, taxes are forced exactions and cannot be compared to purely voluntary charitable contributions. *To be distinguished from a tax protester who doesn't pay purely on moral grounds. Such folks don't deny what the law says; they just feel a moral obligation not to pay.
    25 replies | 2552 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Erwin N. Griswold

Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.


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