Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Make Monied 'Moochers' Pay

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Make Monied 'Moochers' Pay

Article excerpt

MONTANANS, like most Americans, do not like paying taxes. But we are willing to pay taxes so long as everyone else is paying their fair share.

Yet today we find that a small number of Americans are not paying their share. In fact, they are going to great lengths - and to other countries - to avoid paying. They give up what should be their most sacred possession, their American citizenship, to find a tax loophole.

How can they do this? Section 877 of the tax code says nobody can give up citizenship to evade taxes, and it imposes a stiff penalty on those who do. But the catch is that the IRS has to prove that the primary reason the person in question left town was to evade taxes. And proving intent is virtually impossible.

That is why John "Ippy" Dorrance III, an heir to the Campbell Soup fortune, sailed off to Ireland with a fortune of over a billion dollars. It is why Michael Dingman is building a boat dock for his new home in the Bahamas, where he will pay zero estate tax. (One would normally have to pay 55 percent on everything in an estate - property, stocks, bonds, and other investments - over $600,000.)

Last year alone, the Treasury reports, at least 10 extremely wealthy individuals turned their backs on our country. The poorest of them owed $700,000 in income tax.

These are precisely the sort of greedy, unpatriotic people that FDR called "malefactors of great wealth." Their chauffeurs drive them along roads built with money from American taxpayers. They ask the US trade representative, paid with tax dollars, to make sure foreign countries are open to their companies. They go to national parks maintained with US tax dollars. They go to beaches cleaned up with American tax dollars. But they don't want to contribute a penny.

If these fellows paid their full share, we would collect about $200 million a year. …

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