Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

September 2014

Taxes are, like, a really big deal, no?

They are much in the news: tax inversions, ex-pat crackdowns, sales tax holidays, loopholes, …

In the UK, the Inland Revenue gents (their IRS) have come up with a system that puts an identification number on tax schemes. High-income folks — chiefly show-business and sports celebrities — must have their accountants disclose the ID number of the deduction used to mitigate their taxes. The bottom line is a windfall for the tax coffers, and pain and the occasional bankruptcy filing for the tattooed ones like David Beckham.

Catch a glimmer at Fortune magazine’s take on Garmin. Gary and Min’s little Kansas company is reincorporating in Switzerland but will keep its U.S. Government contracts.

Apple has found Ireland a lovely place to hold a slew of its subsidiaries. If I read the how-to manual right, there’s a place to check a box on all the tax returns that allows the holding company to pay no income tax to any country because, truthfully, it does not actually do anything anywhere.

No wonder IRS agents are checking passports of Canadians for information on place of birth. If, like a friend of mine, you were born in the U.S. but moved to Canada years ago after marrying a Canadian, living in Canada, raising a family in Canada, and becoming a Canadian citizen, you are now arranging to formally “renounce” your U.S. citizenship and settle on income tax liabilities. Do you imagine that a Colombian passport holder with a U.S. place of birth listed can claim U.S. citizenship?

Whatever. Tax collectors are like WillIe Sutton: They have to go where the money is.

I guess that’s why the State of Vermont is scraping together penalties, interest, and taxes on companies that have independent contractors.

Oh, yeah: Unemployment compensation insurance is due even though an independent contractor has as much chance of collecting as the Red Sox have of getting a wild card this year.