Can A “Wealth Tax” Be Far Off?

Put this one in your pipe and smoke it – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pontificated on the potential need for a “wealth tax” to cure worldwide ills stemming from the debt malaise plaguing many countries. Quoth IMF:

“The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries

has revived interest in a ‘capital levy’ – a one-off tax on private

wealth – as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability.

The appeal is that such a tax, if it is implemented before avoidance

is possible and there is a belief that it will never be repeated, does

not distort behavior (and may be seen by some as fair)…..The tax rates

needed to bring down public debt to precrisis levels, moreover

are sizeable:  reducing debt ratios to end-2007 levels would

require (for a sample of 15 euro area countries) a tax rate of

about 10 percent on households with positive net worth.”

 

Wonderful.

And from our “what will they tax next” department comes word, this week, that the San Francisco Board of Supes is considering the latest version of a “fat tax,” by way of a suggestion for a new, special tax on sugary beverages.

Two cents per ounce – the bigger the drink, the higher the tax, on soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and bottled Frappuccinos.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner seems to like the idea – “It’s not a nanny state at all; we’re not banning anything…..we have taxed alcohol for a long time, so it’s not out of the ordinary to tax products that have some negative side effects.”

We like the comment from Californians for Food and Beverage, who note that “Such measures are unnecessary, wasteful distractions from serious policymaking.”

Here, here.

But without such measures, who’s going to pay all of the bills which government at all levels seems so good at racking up – like the $33.10 which Uncle Sam spends for every visitor to the national park created to commemorate Bill Clinton’s birth place (who number a whopping 24 people per day, we hear)?

This gem comes from Senator Tom Coburn (R-Ok) who thinks Congress is more intent on creating new parks than it is on spending to maintain existing ones.

And a Clinton park, of all things, honoring the Hope, Arkansas birthplace of Bill, who actually signed a law in 1998 intended to clamp down on frivolous new parks!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information regarding various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.

 

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