Explorers the world over have set out in search of the earth’s most elusive mysteries; The lost city of Atlantis, the golden city of El Dorado, big foot, and extraterrestrials. In a recent article by CNN, the esteemed news organization set out to identify the “worst tax breaks” in the United States. See http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/03/pf/taxes/worst-tax-breaks/index.html?hpt=hp_t3.
Before reading this article I had never heard of a “bad tax break” and I, perhaps foolishly, assumed that it must have taken CNN journalists years of investigation to find such a rare and elusive creature. I have always believed that tax breaks are like pizza; even bad pizza is better than anything else I could eat. Likewise, I have yet to meet a tax deduction that didn’t taste good when it was applied to a tax return. I guess the only bad tax break is the one you didn’t know about and therefore did not take advantage of. CNN seems to take the position that if a tax break benefits someone who makes more money than you, it must be bad. I am reminded of a great quote by Judge Learned Hand:
“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”
Despite what the creative minds of CNN have to say, I think that the “bad tax break,” like big foot, is a mystery that will continue to elude us. Be sure to consult a trusted tax advisor to ensure that you are not missing a tax deduction. If you find yourself in the middle of a tax controversy defending yourself from the IRS, turn to the trusted tax attorneys of the Dana Law Firm to be your guide. Now, I could really go for some pizza.
written by Attorney Shad Brown, Tax Controversy Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona.