Bruce Rauner and the Cayman Islands

On Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times ran an exposé on Illinois gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner’s finances. Specifically, the Sun-Times informed its readership (and the world at large) that Rauner has at least a portion of his fortune in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven country.

To which I reply, Duh.

Seriously, I’m not entirely sure how this could be more of a non-story. But to explain why it’s a non-story, I should probably unpack what the Sun-Times says, what it doesn’t say, and what it probably should say.  Continue reading

The IRS Looked at Bitcoin . . .

bitcoinsA couple months ago, I posted about the problems with taxing bitcoins. In short, we didn’t know if bitcoins were currency or property. Largely, of course, the difference is immaterial: receipt of currency or property constitutes the receipt of taxable income, and using property or foreign currency to acquire goods or services constitutes a taxable realization event.[fn1] The most significant difference is that if bitcoins were property, any gain or loss could be capital, whereas if they were a currency, that gain or loss would essentially always be ordinary.

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Tax Evasion and Swedish Supergroups

ABBA-early-costumesLike any American who has ever been to a dance or listened to the radio, I’ve heard ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”[fn1] But in the last week or so, I’ve learned a couple new things about them. A week ago, listening to Sound Opinions’s Valentine’s Day episode, I learned that the band was made up of two married couples.[fn2] And yesterday, thanks to several friends on Facebook, I learned that (a) ABBA used to dress outrageously, and (b) it was apparently for tax reasons. Continue reading

Man Up, Manning: Truth Is, Peyton Won’t Pay A Ton in NJ Taxes

Peyton_Manning_(cropped)Man, New Jersey apparently must hate Peyton Manning. It’s threatening to tax his Super Bowl earnings at a rate of 51.08% if he wins. Or 101.83% if he loses. Seriously, 101.83%. And that’s just his New Jersey taxes; he’ll also owe federal income tax.

Or so says K. Sean Packard over at Forbes. In a widely circulated blog post,[fn1] Packard explains the tax trap that Manning will fall into by virtue of being the quarterback of one of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl this year.  Continue reading