Friday, July 13, 2007

Why the rich get richer

There has been a lot of news lately about private equity firms and their current level of taxation - 15% - and the New York Times today has an article that delves into this a little more closely. It is clear we need to overhaul our system of taxation. The finagling that is explained in this article is just one reason why. The gist is as follows:
Although they [the Blackstone Group] will initially pay $553 million in taxes, the partners will get that back, and about $200 million more, from the government over the long term.
In simplest terms, the Blackstone partners paid a 15 percent capital gains rate on the shares they sold last month in the initial offering to outside investors...Blackstone then arranged to get deductions for itself for the $3.7 billion worth of good will at a 35 percent rate.
This is a twist on the "buy low, sell high" stock market adage; in this case it would be "tax low, deduct high."
How can those deductions be worth almost as much, or more, than the taxes paid?
The ability to provide answers to such questions is why
tax lawyers can typically charge $700 an hour or more.
This, my friends, is why I am considering becoming a tax attorney.

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