Taxes Are Not a Charitable Donation
Via The NY Times
Almost all federal taxpayers who itemize their charitable deductions on their returns deduct the full amount, in order to keep their tax burden as low as possible. Mitt Romney didn’t do that in 2011, according to tax returns released today, leaving $1.8 million un-deducted so he could tell voters he paid a federal tax rate of at least 13 percent. That’s a luxury reserved only for wealthy politicians who can afford to pay an extra few hundred thousand for image purposes.
But one unfortunate line on a memo from Mr. Romney’s lawyer, accompanying the tax returns, suggests that Mr. Romney really doesn’t see much difference between giving to charity and giving to the government.
“Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI,” the memo said, referring to Mr. Romney’s adjusted gross income. In his mind, apparently, you can just add up the two figures into a new hybrid column, perhaps called, Total Obligation to Society, and make yourself look even more generous.
It doesn’t work that way, however; charity and taxes cannot be conflated to make it sound like you are “giving away” a larger portion of your income than you are. Conservatives can hate paying taxes, and Mr. Romney in particular appears to hate having tax money spent on the “dependent class,” but that doesn’t make the government a charity.
[Full article here]