by Jack Minor –
Warren Buffett, who has been an outspoken supporter of Obama’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy, apparently does not practice what he preaches. The billionaire is currently fighting the IRS over tax payments.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Stop coddling the super-rich” Buffett called for raising taxes on what he called the “super-rich.”Buffett’s definition of super-rich is people making $1 million or more. According to Buffett, most rich people support being allowed to pay more in taxes. “Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.”
In the column, Buffett infers he would like to see capital gains treated the same as ordinary income for tax purposes. He laments his tax bill last year saying, “Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.”
Critics of Buffett have pointed out there is nothing stopping him from refusing to take the tax breaks and sending as much money to the government as he wishes.
Ironically, while on the one hand Buffett is begging officials to raise his taxes, he is fighting the same government over amounts they say he owes.
Buffett is chairman and chief executive of the giant financial firm, Berkshire Hathaway. According to a company report, they have been involved in a tax dispute with the IRS for years.
The report says, on page 56, “We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years at the IRS Appeals Division within the next 12 months. The IRS has completed its examination of our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax years and the proposed adjustments are currently being reviewed by the IRS Appeals Division process. The IRS is currently auditing our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2007 through 2009 tax years.”
Richard McCarty, a researcher for Americans for Limited Government, said the company appears to have had a practice of short-changing the government for years. “The company has been short-changing the tax collection agency for much of the past decade. Mr. Buffett’s company has not fully settled its tax bills from 2002-2009. Yet he says he’d happily pay more. Except the IRS has apparently been asking him to pay more going on nine years.”
When one considers the size of the company, the amount of taxes due could be in the tens of millions.