Sunday, November 24, 2019
New York Times, Raise Billions From Billionaires? Tax Experts Say It’s Not That Simple:
One of the signature initiatives of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is a wealth tax that, she says, would pay for many of the programs she proposes, like government-paid health care and free college tuition. Bernie Sanders, one of her opponents in the Democratic race, has proposed his own version of a wealth tax that would collect, according to estimates, about $4 trillion over a 10-year period, or $500 billion more than Senator Warren’s plan.
But here’s the big question: Would the proposals, elegant in theory, work in practice?
Lawyers and advisers to the wealthy say there is no way the wealth taxes would collect anything close to the estimates, and they cite ample evidence of taxes that are reduced or eliminated through extensive and sometimes aggressive strategies. ...
Gabriel Zucman, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was one of the lead advisers on the Warren and Sanders wealth tax proposals, begs to differ. He said in an interview that he had solutions for many of the concerns and criticisms of the plans, including how to value private companies and illiquid assets. ...
Professor Zucman said a wealth tax would be different from other taxes that have been skirted. He envisions a way in which the Internal Revenue Service would prepopulate the tax return with an estimate of the person’s wealth.
Tax advisers disagree. The values in an estate tax return are almost always contested by the I.R.S.