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Old 11-04-2012, 10:54 PM  
Pitt Gorilla Pitt Gorilla is offline
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Romney paid nearly zero taxes from 1996-2009?

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-1...donations.html

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations
By Jesse Drucker - Oct 28, 2012 11:01 PM CT

In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money.

Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.

The charitable remainder unitrust, as it is known, is one of several strategies Romney has adopted over his career to reduce his tax bill. While Romney’s tax avoidance is legal and common among high-net-worth individuals, it has become an issue in the campaign. President Barack Obama attacked him in their second debate for paying “lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less.”

In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity -- the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing -- to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefiting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In general, charities don’t owe capital gains taxes when they sell assets for a profit. Trusts like Romney’s permit funders to benefit from that tax-free treatment, said Jonathan Blattmachr, a trusts and estates lawyer who set up hundreds of such vehicles in the 1990s.

Near Zero

“The main benefit from a charitable remainder trust is the renting from your favorite charity of its exemption from taxation,” Blattmachr said. Despite the name, giving a gift or getting a charitable deduction “is just a throwaway,” he said. “I used to structure them so the value dedicated to charity was as close to zero as possible without being zero.”

When individuals fund a charitable remainder unitrust, or “CRUT,” they defer capital gains taxes on any profit from the sale of the assets, and receive a small upfront charitable deduction and a stream of yearly cash payments. Like an individual retirement account, the trust allows money to grow tax deferred, while like an annuity it also pays Romney a steady income. After the funder’s death, the trust’s remaining assets go to a designated charity.

Romney’s CRUT, which is only a small part of the $250 million that Romney’s campaign cites as his net worth, has been paying him 8 percent of its assets each year. As the Romneys have received these payments, the money that will potentially be left for charity has declined from at least $750,000 in 2001 to $421,203 at the end of 2011.

Tax Returns

The Romney campaign declined to answer written questions about the trust.
“The trust has operated in accordance with the law,” Michele Davis, a campaign spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Paul Comstock, a financial adviser to LDS Philanthropies, an arm of the Mormon Church, said that while he wasn’t familiar with the trust, Romney and his trustee might arrange to compensate the church for the dwindling amount with other gifts.

“It may be that they’ve made provisions for the charity someplace else that will make up for what this isn’t going to give them,” Comstock said.

Bloomberg News obtained the trust’s tax returns from 2007 to 2011 from the Internal Revenue Service. Romney hasn’t disclosed the trust’s tax returns and is under no legal obligation to do so. He did make some disclosures about the trust’s investments in Massachusetts filings from 2002 to 2007 and as a presidential candidate in the current campaign.

After Death

Funds held by Romney’s trust are scheduled to be distributed after the death of Romney and his wife to “a charitable organization to be designated by Romney,” according to the 2007 filing, disclosing assets he held while governor of Massachusetts. “In the absence of such a designation the funds will go to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”

Davis declined to comment on whether Romney has designated another charity since then.

Romney has been an active member of the church, which expects members to donate 10 percent of their income. Over the years, he has donated millions of dollars of stock in Bain-owned companies to the church, securities filings show.
The church recommends such trusts on its website as one of many options for donors.

“Probably one of the advantages of a charitable remainder trust is that it helps with capital gains tax,” said Carl McLelland, an attorney in the planned giving office for LDS Philanthropies.

Capital Gains

CRUTs were more common in the 1990s when capital gains rates were higher. In 1996, when Romney set up his trust in Massachusetts, the federal rate was 28 percent, compared with 15 percent today. At the time, a Massachusetts state resident who sold shares for a gain of $1 million could have faced a combined state and federal capital gains tax of as much as 40 percent, reducing his take to $600,000.

By contrast, if he contributed the stock to a CRUT, and it sold the shares, it typically wouldn’t owe any tax since it is a charitable trust. The CRUT could reinvest the $1 million and earn a return on the full amount.

“The power of this is the tax deferral,” said Jay A. Friedman, a partner at accounting firm Perelson Weiner LLP in New York. “The money is all growing tax free and he only pays tax on what is distributed to him.”

Concerned that CRUTS weren’t sufficiently philanthropic, Congress mandated in July 1997 that the present value of what was projected to be left for charity must equal at least 10 percent of the initial contribution. Existing CRUTS weren’t affected by the new law.

Dwindling Principal

Romney’s trust was projected to leave to charity an amount with a present value of a little less than 8 percent of the initial contribution, according to an analysis by Friedman. Thus, the specifics of Romney’s trust wouldn’t have passed legal muster if it had been set up 13 months later, he said.

Because the trust’s investments have been earning a return far below its annual payouts to the Romneys, its principal has dwindled rapidly.

In 2001, five years after it was established, the trust had a value of between $750,000 and $1.25 million. Since then, it has pursued a conservative investment strategy -- regardless of the ups and downs of the stock market -- buying a mix of money- market funds, federally-backed bonds and federal bond funds. Since 2007, it has moved its assets entirely into cash. By 2011, its investments earned a return of $48, down from between $60,001 and $100,000 in 2001. It paid $36,696 to the Romneys in 2011.

Romneys Favored

The current investing strategy favors the Romneys over the charity because they get a guaranteed payout, said Michael Arlein, a trusts and estates lawyer at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.

“The Romneys get theirs off the top and the charity gets what’s left,” he said. “So by definition, if it’s not performing as well, the charity gets harmed more.”
The trustee for Romney’s CRUT is R. Bradford Malt, chairman of the law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, and manager for Romney’s various family trusts as well as his personal attorney. Ropes & Gray has also been for years the main outside counsel for Bain Capital.

If the CRUT maintains the same investing strategy, assets will continue to shrink, said Jerome M. Hesch, a tax and estate planning attorney at the law firm Carlton Fields. The trustee acted prudently in protecting against losses during a stock market decline, he said.

Nevertheless, “what’s going to go to charity is probably close to nothing,” Hesch said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Drucker in New York at jdrucker4@bloomberg.net
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:59 PM   #121
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Well, to the Mormon church. That's the price if you want your own planet.
Someone here owns a planet. Actually two and they're not even a Mormon!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:14 PM   #122
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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I'd day this sounds like bullshit, but I'm curious what change they are talking about. They want to change back to prior to Obama getting there?
Obamacare is the single-biggest job-killing initiative there is.

The companies I work with estimate that it has DOUBLED their fully-loaded FTE costs.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:26 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
Obamacare is the single-biggest job-killing initiative there is.

The companies I work with estimate that it has DOUBLED their fully-loaded FTE costs.
And when implemented it will either greatly reduce FTEs or cause employers to pay the fine and drop health insurance plans altogether.
Of course, the latter is exactly what big government Dems and obama want.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:30 PM   #124
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is online now
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
Obamacare is the single-biggest job-killing initiative there is.

The companies I work with estimate that it has DOUBLED their fully-loaded FTE costs.
Bullshit. And if even if Romney were to win (ironically, the guy who invented it), it's not going anywhere.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:50 PM   #125
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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Bullshit. And if even if Romney were to win (ironically, the guy who invented it), it's not going anywhere.
Exactly the response I expected. You don't want to believe it so I'm automatically wrong. At least you're proving that narrow-minded absolutism isn't the sole province of the right.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:13 PM   #126
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What tax credits does Romney want to take away from anyone?
It's basically what he said in the debates when he was throwing out random numbers - "Throw a number out there, $25,000, $50,000." He basically said you could get a credit for going to school or for kids, etc. but not both. Families out there who are working, with kids, and going to school at the same time are pretty strapped. If you are working hard for your future and being responsible with raising your kids at the same time, you deserve a break. By the way, those credits go to rich people too and that's totally fine. If the rich can use ridiculous amounts of loopholes, etc. to keep their massive incomes at a ridiculously low rate and that's ok, why is it not ok to let working class families keep a little more of their money in their pockets so they can afford to fix their car or hopefully buy a new one. Doesn't the increase in production and sales we have as a result benefit the rich as well? That's the difference in the economic philosophies.

You also have to understand that the bigger your business is, etc., the more you benefit from the government. Roads and infrastructure allow you to move your products and get inventory. They allow people an easy way to get to your store. The benefits are a lot more the larger you get and that's why you should pay a little more.

The other philosophy behind it is that if you allow people to pay almost nothing on investments like stocks, it'll encourage investment in large corporations, etc. There is really very little reason to invest in small businesses starting up because you can make so much more with large corporations through stocks than partnerships. It generates more Wal-marts and makes it tougher for smaller businesses to start up.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Shaid View Post
It's basically what he said in the debates when he was throwing out random numbers - "Throw a number out there, $25,000, $50,000." He basically said you could get a credit for going to school or for kids, etc. but not both. Families out there who are working, with kids, and going to school at the same time are pretty strapped. If you are working hard for your future and being responsible with raising your kids at the same time, you deserve a break. By the way, those credits go to rich people too and that's totally fine. If the rich can use ridiculous amounts of loopholes, etc. to keep their massive incomes at a ridiculously low rate and that's ok, why is it not ok to let working class families keep a little more of their money in their pockets so they can afford to fix their car or hopefully buy a new one. Doesn't the increase in production and sales we have as a result benefit the rich as well? That's the difference in the economic philosophies.

You also have to understand that the bigger your business is, etc., the more you benefit from the government. Roads and infrastructure allow you to move your products and get inventory. They allow people an easy way to get to your store. The benefits are a lot more the larger you get and that's why you should pay a little more.

The other philosophy behind it is that if you allow people to pay almost nothing on investments like stocks, it'll encourage investment in large corporations, etc. There is really very little reason to invest in small businesses starting up because you can make so much more with large corporations through stocks than partnerships. It generates more Wal-marts and makes it tougher for smaller businesses to start up.
I don't think you understand what Romney was talking about. When Romney said to throw a number out there, he was saying that instead of eliminating specific deductions, you could reduce the ability of high income folks to take a lot of tax deductions while not impacting the middle class if you allowed any of the existing tax deductions to be taken up to a modest cap.

Successful businesses may benefit more from infrastructure, but they already pay more taxes so that's not necessarily a good argument for raising their taxes further.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:03 AM   #128
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You want to know what's annoying?

It's ****ing annoying when the ****ing President orders Navy SEALs to stand down when they could have saved the lives of the four Americans who died in Libya. It's ****ing annoying when the President lies to the people and blames the terrorist attack on a YouTube video because he doesn't want people to know that Al Qaeda is still a threat.

And it's ****ing annoying that the mainstream media allows him to get away with bullshit like that.

If you're annoyed that Mitt Romney didn't pay enough taxes to satisfy you, you're concentrating on the wrong things.
I find all rich people who evade taxes that I pay annoying. It wouldn't cause me to not vote for Romney. For me, there are plenty of reasons to choose Obama over Romney, the tax thing is just annoying.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:15 AM   #129
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I find all rich people who evade taxes that I pay annoying. It wouldn't cause me to not vote for Romney. For me, there are plenty of reasons to choose Obama over Romney, the tax thing is just annoying.
Honestly I bet you are too ****ign stupid to name a tax a "rich person" avoids while you pay.

Please, let's hear it...

Name some taxes you are paying out the ass while the rich guy doesn't pay them.

I can't wait to hear this shit.

Please make a list.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:36 AM   #130
lostcause lostcause is offline
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Honestly I bet you are too ****ign stupid to name a tax a "rich person" avoids while you pay.

Please, let's hear it...

Name some taxes you are paying out the ass while the rich guy doesn't pay them.

I can't wait to hear this shit.

Please make a list.
I assume you mean foreign stupid, since you would be bright enough to spell your words correctly.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:42 AM   #131
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I assume you mean foreign stupid, since you would be bright enough to spell your words correctly.


It appears to be a simple keystroke error.

Now, about that list...
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:42 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
Honestly I bet you are too ****ign stupid to name a tax a "rich person" avoids while you pay.

Please, let's hear it...

Name some taxes you are paying out the ass while the rich guy doesn't pay them.

I can't wait to hear this shit.

Please make a list.
To answer your question, it looks like he's evading either capital gains or income or both by setting up a sham charity. So I guess, capital gains and income tax is what I pay that he isn't paying.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:49 AM   #133
BigMeatballDave BigMeatballDave is offline
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To answer your question, it looks like he's evading either capital gains or income or both by setting up a sham charity. So I guess, capital gains and income tax is what I pay that he isn't paying.
Last I heard, he pays 14%.

Now that is a lower percentage than the working class.

He's still paying a TON in taxes. Way more than I will ever make in my lifetime.

Do you pay millions in taxes?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:52 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Last I heard, he pays 14%.

Now that is a lower percentage than the working class.

He's still paying a TON in taxes. Way more than I will ever make in my lifetime.

Do you pay millions in taxes?
Nope.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:56 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Last I heard, he pays 14%.

Now that is a lower percentage than the working class.

He's still paying a TON in taxes. Way more than I will ever make in my lifetime.

Do you pay millions in taxes?
That is *not* a lower percentage than the working class pays.
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