What a bunch of old-timers. Daschle, Killefer, Geithner, and any other Obamanauts who end up getting outmaneuvered by the tax code….. they’re a generation out of date. Their complicated lives and corresponding tax woes date to an era when what went up stayed up, and there was always a specialist who could ease you out of any jam. Nowadays, what goes down stays down, and those expensive specialists can no longer be billed to the corporate account.
Evading taxes will always be fashionable, however, so here are some new ways to outsmart Uncle Sam, while still staying qualified to be employed by him:
Earn nothing. It’s easier than it sounds. It used to be embarrassing to lose your job, but now everybody’s doing it. If you do, the gargantuan stimulus plan will include new benefits to help you stay stocked up with Twinkies and Pepsi and movie rentals. Under the Obama tax plan, you might even get money back if your income is so low that you don’t pay taxes.
If you’d like to work while earning nothing, there are some banks looking for CEOs willing to run the firm for very low pay. The great news is you don’t really have to know anything about banking – you’ll lose the company less money that way. You could also start a newspaper or open a real-estate brokerage, which are excellent ways to work hard for nothing.
Don’t have kids. They’re nothing but trouble. Somebody has to take care of them, and those illegal nannies are just one Senate headache after another. Kids are always outgrowing their clothes, which you might end up knitting from scratch if many more retailers go out of business. And as they get older, the tax deduction barely covers a fraction of what they spend on iPods and text messages.
Get a bailout. It seems to be working for General Motors. The huge automaker is supposed to pay the federal government up to $7 billion in taxes relating to a deal that helps reduce the debt GM owes. But GM claims that since it’s getting $13.4 billion in cheap loans from the government, the taxes should be forgiven, or else it would just be paying the government back its own money. And who wants that? GM should get to keep everything the government has given it, and maybe even run the Transportation Dept.
The 2-for-1 ratio seems to be a good rule of thumb: Ask for a bailout that’s twice as big as the amount of taxes you’re likely to owe. That way, there’s margin for error when Senate staffers discover that you’ve also received bags of cash that you thought were gifts, but might technically count as income under some arcane subsection of the tax code. Had Tom Daschle asked for a mere $250,000 in bailout money – a mere molecule of money by Washington standards – it would have more than offset the $128,000 he owed in taxes.
Get paid in Ireland. This is what lots of big companies do. They set up shop in places where tax rates are lower than restaurant tips, then pay their taxes there. The revenue gets sent back home sooner or later, but by the time the global accountants have worked their magic, the IRS is practically paying you not make its life more difficult with overseas paperwork it doesn’t understand. If not Ireland, try someplace like Romania or Belarus where they don’t speak English and the local version of the IRS is only open on Thursdays, from 2 to 3.
Invest with a Madoff. Need to distract investigators from your domestic help history? What better way than to lose your life savings to a devious fraudster. If Nancy Killifer had had her own personal Madoff, it would have overshadowed her mysterious maid controversy and easily earned enough sympathy to put her into the performance czar job that she ended up abandoning.
Ponzi schemes, in fact, may turn out to be the next hot tax haven. They're obviously back, and if you amortize your losses smartly, you might zero out your income for years. So cash in before the feds catch on. And rush that resume to the White House.