978-0-380-97682-9 / 038097682X

The Cheating of America: How Tax Avoidance and Evasion by the Super Rich Are Costing the Country Billions--and What You Can Do About It

by Lewis, Charles

Publisher:William Morrow



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About the book:

Each year millions of income-earning adults and corporations do not pay their fair share of federal income taxes -- whether legally (tax avoidance), illegally (tax evasion), or through shady means (tax "avoision"), and their numbers are rising dramatically. In this explosive book, Charles Lewis, founder and executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, and Bill Allison, a former researcher at the Philadelphia Inquirer finger these culprits.

Super-rich individuals and corporations alike are increasingly using offshore channels to hide money from the IRS, which seems to have given up on trying to catch them. Meanwhile, the rest of the population suffers. The IRS recently reported that 2,680 filers with incomes of $200,000 or more claimed they owed no taxes, up from 612 in the mid-eighties, and 85 in 1977. While audits of these wealthy taxpayers have plummeted, audits of those earning less than $25,000 per year have risen. Not only that, but in 1997 only 2.3 percent of returns filed by the richest Americans were reviewed.

With The Cheating of America, Lewis and Allison aim to unmask those who are stiffing Uncle Sam, as well as the system that permits their activities. They reveal how blue-chip U.S. corporations take advantage of dubious shelters or move their taxable profits offshore. Frequently these same companies have also availed themselves of cheaper labor overseas, laying off thousands of American workers. Some estimates show that more than a trillion dollars are salted away in offshore bank accounts, beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Service.

Lewis and Allison provide a richly detailed and colorful overview of the key players -- federal legislators, the IRS, New York banks, foreign "tax havens" -- and the cottage industry that teaches aspiring dodgers how to cheat successfully. At the heart of the book are case studies of some of the most brazen individuals and corporations, including the "Benedict Arnold Billionaires" who have expatriated from the United States in order to reduce or eliminate their tax burden.

With explosive investigative revelations and the authority of the Center for Public Integrity behind it, The Cheating of America will further educate all those who "pay their fair share" while the financial elite dodge their responsibility to society. Sure to enlighten and outrage, The Cheating of America is a must-read for every citizen.

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