Bidens accused of using shady loopholes to avoid paying tax
Democrat Joe Biden has been hit with an IRS whistleblower complaint that alleges he used shady loopholes to avoid paying over $127,000 in taxes.
The complaint was filed by former Republican Capitol Hill aide Chris Jacobs to coincide with Monday’s federal tax filing deadline.
“Federal agencies must implement laws on a non-partisan basis,” Jacobs told The New York Post.
Jacobs says the Bidens dodged the taxes, despite concerns already being raised about their shady loophole schemes.
“The fact that the IRS did not audit Joe Biden’s 2017 through 2019 returns, despite several articles publicly raising questions about the propriety of his actions, raises questions about how the IRS administers our nation’s tax laws, and whether political considerations played a role in the IRS’ decisions.”
Biden and his wife, Jill, avoided paying Medicare taxes on book income and speaking fees in 2017 and 2018 by routing $13.3 million through “S corporations” and counting a small amount as eligible for the federal health care tax.
The strategy is commonly used by wealthy people to dodge the 3.8% Medicare levy on large amounts of income and experts say the IRS lacks the resources to aggressively pursue cases of underpayment.
Republicans are vowing to investigate Biden’s tax situation next year if they retake Congress and regularly accuse him of hypocrisy for urging the wealthy to pay their “fair share.”
Biden last year proposed legislation to close the tax loophole and boost IRS enforcement.
Democrats say Biden used a common tax strategy and that there’s no directly analogous case that indicates he was wrong in his calculations.
The IRS offers whistleblowers rewards of between 15% and 30% of what it recovers, but Jacobs wrote in his complaint that he “would gladly forego [sic] any potential remuneration.”
The controversy concerns what legally counts as “reasonable compensation,” a term that determines the share of S corporation income subject to the Medicare tax.
Critics argue that Biden’s own labor was responsible for almost all of his speaking fees and book revenue.
Therefore, a very large share of the S corporation revenue should face the Medicare tax.
“The facts do not suggest that Mr. Biden arrived at anything approaching a level of ‘reasonable compensation’ consistent with IRS guidelines,” Jacobs wrote.
“Instead, Mr. Biden’s salary level appears to have been set arbitrarily at a level just slightly above the Social Security wage base, with other factors — Mr. Biden’s own salary history, the compensation received by comparable individuals and comparable filers, and the labor vs. capital allocation — all but ignored.”
In 2017, Biden reported $9.5 million in revenue through his S corporation CelticCapri Corp and reported less than $146,000 as income eligible for the Medicare tax.
In 2018, Biden reported $2.7 million in revenue through the S corporation and said $300,000 was eligible for the tax.
First lady Jill Biden received smaller amounts through her own S corporation.
Jacobs argues that Biden’s decision to increase his taxable compensation in 2018, despite reporting lower overall income, suggests he knew more of the prior year’s haul should have funded Medicare programs.
“The fact that in 2018, Mr. Biden doubled his salary to $300,000, even as that year’s profits of his S-corporation declined by more than two-thirds, speaks to a knowledge and awareness that his 2017 salary substantially undervalued his labor in violation of IRS guidelines,” Jacobs wrote.
Jacobs added that using a relatively low 30% figure for taxable compensation would put Biden on the hook for $127,000 in back taxes.
Jacobs wrote that Deyhle knew “or should have known” that he undercounted Biden’s taxable income.
“I hereby request an investigation by your office as to the propriety of Mr. Deyhle’s actions in this matter, and whether his behavior warrants initiation of the disciplinary process outlined in [IRS documents],” he wrote to the IRS.
In a statement to the Washington Post last year, White House spokesman Andrew Bates complained that House Republicans weren’t eager to scour President Donald Trump’s tax records.
“[Biden] has released over 22 years of tax returns and is proud to have restored the bipartisan tradition of being transparent with the American people about the personal finances of the chief executive,” Bates said.
“After a 4-year hiatus, he also welcomes this born-again support for that critical tradition from congressional Republicans, and congratulates them on their 180,” Bates added.
“With the Build Back Better agenda, the President is fighting to ensure our economy delivers for middle class families — not just those at the top — which means the wealthy pay their fair share and the IRS is given the resources they need to crack down on wealthy tax cheats.
“He encourages his GOP colleagues to reverse themselves on that, as well.”
The precise revenue streams for Biden’s S corporation are unknown and transparency advocates are calling for Biden to voluntarily divulge the income sources in response to questions about his involvement in his son Hunter’s overseas business ventures.
The 2017 and 2018 hauls, however, roughly correspond to a reported $8 million book advance and various large speaking fees, according to the New York Post.
Republicans such as Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) say Biden may need to pay at least $500,000 in back taxes.
Banks last year requested a report from the Congressional Research Service confirming what constitutes “reasonable compensation” for S corporations.
Although no cases identical to Biden’s were documented by the CRS report, Banks said that “according to the criteria CRS provided to my office, he owes the IRS and the American people hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes” and “every American should know about Joe Biden’s tax hypocrisy.”
Banks told Fox News last year that “when we take back the House in 2022, Oversight [Committee] Republicans won’t forget about Biden’s legally dubious tax avoidance schemes.”
Corporate tax expert Bob Willens, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s business school, told The Post last year that each case is unique and that “the question remains whether the compensation [Biden] exacted from his corporation was ‘reasonable.’”
Willens said that “in my view, the case can easily be made that reasonable compensation should be multiples of $300,000,” referring to the 2018 figure that Biden deemed as subject to the Medicare tax.
“Whether the IRS would be willing to make that case, however, is questionable given the identity of the shareholder,” he added.