Most people do not necessarily like the idea of contributing to the government that provides them with services like roads, defense, and consumer protections, but since those services are not free, the government has to collect taxes. It is also certain that there are Americans who do not pay income taxes for a variety of reasons, and in September, a secret tape revealed presidential candidate Willard Romney telling a gathering of high-income donors he regards 47% of the population parasites because “they don’t take responsibility” for their lives. Romney was expressing his disdain for retired Americans, combat troops, disabled Veterans, and those too poor to meet the threshold to pay income taxes, and yet he did not impugn the Mormon Church that that does not pay taxes on its income and investments because it is a tax-exempt charitable organization. A prescient question Romney will not answer is why he hates retired Americans, the poor, and disabled Veterans, and yet loves his church when neither group pays income taxes.
According to tax returns obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Romney loves the Mormon Church’s tax exempt status because he uses it to avoid paying taxes. In 1996, Romney “rented” the Mormon Church’s tax-exempt status to defer taxes for over 15 years under a “charitable remainder unitrust” (CRUT). The Mormon Church, as a charity, does not pay any taxes, and especially capital gains tax when they profit from selling assets, and Willard Romney gets the same exemption on money he put in his trust. In 1997 Congress cracked down on the loophole because it was inherently unfair. According to an estate lawyer, “The main benefit from a charitable remainder trust is the renting from your favorite charity of its exemption from taxation,” and he added “the charitable contribution is just a throwaway,” meaning the church receives little if any financial benefit from the trust. However, it is not the case for Romney.
A CRUT allows Romney to put off paying capital gains taxes on profits from the sale of assets, plus he gets an upfront charitable deduction plus a steady stream of yearly cash payments on his original investment in the charitable remainder unitrust. A unitrust is similar to an individual retirement account (IRA) that lets the original investment grow tax deferred, and like an annuity; it pays Romney a yearly income. If Willard dies, the remainder of the trust’s assets goes to the designated charity (Mormon Church), but the amount decreases as time lapses, and in Romney and the Mormon Church’s case, $750,000 in 2001 decreased to $421,203 at the end of 2011. All the while, Romney collected yearly cash payments from the trust, took a charitable deduction, and avoided paying capital gains taxes on the sale of assets from 1996 to the present.
Obviously, $750,000 is a paltry amount of money to Romney considering his estimated $250-million fortune, but on principle, he is taking advantage of his church’s tax exempt status to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. It is bad enough that the filthy rich Mormon Church does not pay taxes and escapes Romney’s wrath for being irresponsible, but for him to use the tax exemption to be irresponsible when he criticized retired Americans, disable Veterans, and the very poor is beyond despicable, it is the height of hypocrisy. It is critical to remember that Romney’s true feelings toward Americans who do not pay taxes are that they are parasites, and yet, he not only worships an organization the sucks resources from real taxpayers, he uses their so-called charitable status to avoiding paying his fair share of taxes. Does Romney consider the extremely wealthy Mormon Church a parasite, or just disabled Veterans and Americans who paid into their Social Security retirement accounts their entire working lives?
Let’s get one thing straight; the Americans Romney considers parasites are not avoiding paying taxes, using offshore tax shelters, “renting” the Mormon tax exemption, using questionable $100-million IRAs, or Swiss Bank accounts like Willard, they are either retired, too poor, or disabled from war to earn enough income to pay taxes. Romney on the other hand, deliberately uses a variety of mechanisms that keep his tax rate lower than the average American, and when one considers there are Fortune 500 corporations and thousands of millionaires who pay nothing in income taxes, Romney’s remarks about the 47% takes on a new level of outrage. One wonders how many wealthy donors paid nothing in income taxes and applauded Romney as he demeaned 47% of the population for not paying taxes, and how many were Mormons who know their filthy rich church also pays no taxes.
It is no wonder Romney refuses to release more than 2 years of tax returns, and no doubt there are secrets that would anger Americans if they knew that he may have avoided any tax liability, but the people will never know. What people do know is Romney avoids paying gift and estate taxes by setting up trusts for his kids, stashes millions in the Cayman Islands, and by still playing an active role at Bain Capital avoids taxes even after he “retroactively retired.” If that is not bad enough, Romney’s tax plan slashes tax rates by 20%, and since he pays less than 15% now, his tax rate would be negative 5% and qualify him for a healthy refund. All the while, the despicable cretin has the temerity to call 47% of the population parasites for not taking responsibility for their lives the same as the Mormon Church that “rents” Willard tax-exempt status, gives him a yearly income, a charitable deduction, and eliminates capital gains tax. The only parasites in America are Romney, his Mormon cult, many of the largest corporations, and thousands of millionaires who pay little or no income taxes by hiding their money and “renting” a church’s tax exemption.