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Hypothetically, if a rich man gives someone $400,000 out of generosity, does the recipient get to keep 100% of it? If not, can the rich man just loan the person $400,000, and then write off the loan, never collecting interest or principal?
No.There are several different rules here that combine together to control what happens, but in no case is there such a thing as "free gifting". Here's a quick summary in the context of US law:Everyone is allowed to give anyone else up to $14,000 every year without anyone paying taxes on the transfer, to as many different people as you'd like.Over that exemption, the giver is required to file and pay a Gift Tax of between 18% and 24%, depending on the size of the gift, on the remaining amount.Everyone has what is known as the Unified Exemption, which allows you to transfer a total of up to $5 million to any one or more recipients, tax free, whether during your lifetime or by your will when you die.To avoid the exact scenario you hypothesized (an interest payment that is conveniently forgiven) the law establishes a legal minimum interest rate (AFR rate) that must be paid on any loan (0.43%–2.3%, depending on he term of the loan). If the borrower does not pay at least that amount, the difference between the amount paid and the legal minimum is treated as a gift from the lender to the borrower, subject to #2 above.For full information, read the IRS answers on the subject: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Sm...EDIT: As other comments here have noted, I was answering a slightly different question than the one that was asked. The bottom line is that someone is going to pay taxes on the transfer: either the donor through a gift tax, or the recipient through income taxes.
Would a failure of presumptive candidate Donald J. Trump to share his tax forms hurt his credibility as a potential President?
No, Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns will not hurt his reputation but they are in audit and should be released soon. This idea is simply a media ploy to create controversy where there is none. Isn't it strange though that no one is asking why they are in audit? Mitt Romney has gone so far as to claim that not releasing your tax return is a disqualifier for President. Hey, know what else disqualifies you from being President? Losing two national elections, but who's counting? There is no law requiring candidates to show their tax returns, but it has become common practice since Jimmy Carter became president in 1976.Also, let’s keep in mind that candidates that release multiple years of prior tax returns don’t help their credibility either. Bob Dole, Jeb Bush and John Kerry all released over 30 years of prior returns and we know how their candidacies turned out. They're the guys that reminded the teacher in school that they forgot to assign homework. But if you’re really interested in 30 years of tax returns, you can view theirs and other candidate tax returns that have been released here.It’s true that the vast majority of candidates who have run for president or vice president in the last thirty-five years have indeed released their tax returns. But it’s quite a stretch to believe that any return will contain earth shattering revelations. And the returns have passed vetting by the IRS for legality. You have to keep in mind too that public corporations, like the one’s owned by Trump, have annual reporting requirements and disclosures to their shareholders that are audited by independent public accounting firms. These have already been released to the election committee.Given all this, I’m not sure what the average public expects to learn from reviewing a large consolidated tax return. Most people don’t understand the toaster instructions for a pop tart let alone their own 1040-EZ. But assuming that someone with some knowledge reviews his return, they may look for things like gross income, tax paid, credits taken, charitable contributions made, foreign bank account reporting, etc. Here are some things we have learned in the past from Presidential tax returns:Barack Obama donated heavily to his controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright, over several years and claiming he wasn’t paying attention in church while he was making incendiary statements. Also, at the same time Team Obama was calling 529 college savings plans “upside down,” “ineffective,” and “tilted towards the upper end,” in his 2022 book "The Audacity of Hope," Obama praised 529?s, and in 2022 actually used book earnings to make a $240,00 contribution to his own family’s 529 accounts, according to financial disclosures. With his own 529?s topped off, he tried to yank the ladder away for everyone else.Tax returns for Bill and Hillary Clinton show that Hillary received $10.5 million in 2022 for speeches alone. They also donated $3 million to the Clinton Foundation. That donation is tax-deductible because the foundation is nonprofit. This is interesting as they once promoted the narrative they were dead broke when they left the White House. Glad they are doing okay now.President George H. W. Bush’s 1991 tax returns show that he donated almost 62% of his $1.3 million income to charity in 1991. His gift recipients included the Yale Class of 1948 fund, the Desert Storm Foundation and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.Tax Returns from Ted Cruz’s 2022 Senate race show he contributed less than 1 percent of his income to charity between 2022 and 2022 • a far cry from the 10 percent tithe most evangelical leaders believe the Bible demands. This raised a few eyebrows in the evangelical community.Bernie and Jane Sanders in 2022 were the least generous to Uncle Sam of all candidates taking advantage of all tax deductions on Schedule A and paying $27,653 federal tax on $205,271 of income - an effective rate of 13.5%. Yet, he’s advocating for tax rates as high as 90% on others that earn more.I think what we learn mostly is that all candidates do what all Americans do, try to pay as little tax as possible. This is true of Republicans and Democrats alike. It can reveal hypocrisy in championing certain policy positions while acting individually in a different manner. But the bottom line is that you are highly unlikely to find anything that will change the course of a candidate’s election. They’re just things that make you go “humm.”
As an American moving to France, what are some tax issues I should prepare for?
There are tons of taxes in France, but for the most part, they are payroll taxes and directly taken from your wages. This means that the average Joe doesn't have to do any conscious effort to pay them or go through the hassle of budgeting. Also, in France, prices include V.A.T., so no surprise there either. Nowadays, the only taxes I have to budget for is the property tax, and the housing tax (which should disappear in the next few years). Now, if you are a freelance contractor, or running a business, things aren't as simple and you should expect a few headaches.That being said, you are still expected to declare your revenues to the State. The equivalent of the American "tax season" is the déclaration d'impôts, usually around May-June. Provided they know you exist, the French IRS will send you a notice in advance as well as the relevant form to fill. If you are a salaried employee or receive a pension, benefits, etc. the form is usually already prefilled and it is just a matter of checking that the amounts are correct. They can also be filled online in a matter of minutes. These forms are pretty straightforward, and unlike other countries, there isn't really a market in France for paralegals specialised in filling them for the average taxpayer. Now, if you happen to have multiple sources of revenue, or happen to be a freelance, or own a business, these forms can be a bit more of a hassle to fill.So first thing first, upon your arrival in France I would suggest that you contact the centre des impôts to warn the French IRS that you will be a new taxpayer. You will be asked to fill your first déclaration which should be pretty straightforward. You'll likely have to prepare a proof of residency, and as a general note, I suggest taking one with you every time you expect even the most mundane of administrative procedures.;"";""
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