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Old 02-07-2007, 03:51 AM   #1
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
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Grr! Taxes

I found this story online. It's a real bummer.
Quote:
Space buff Brian Emmett has wanted to be an astronaut since childhood. As a kid he attended space camp and watched shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center.

His lifelong dream was on the way to becoming reality when he won a 2005 sweepstakes by Oracle Corporation. The prize: a reservation for a free trip to outer space, to be provided by Space Adventures Ltd., a private company that books multi-million dollar trips into space on Russian rockets.

However, Emmett won't be on board when his rocket ship blasts off -- thanks to the IRS.

He discovered the trip -- valued at $138,000 -- would have to be reported as taxable income. As a result, he would owe $25,000 in taxes.

Unable to pay that amount, and not willing to go into debt for it, he abandoned the prize.

He was devastated.

"There was definitely a period of mourning. I was totally crestfallen. Everything you had hoped for as a kid sort of evaporates in front of you."

Other companies that offer similar space-flight contests have provided checks to cover taxes -- but those checks, too, count as taxable income.

Emmett's loss is just one very dramatic example of how taxes damage and limit the lives of citizens. How many millions of dreams, large and small, are destroyed by voracious taxes every year? How many opportunities are passed up, or never come into being? How many lives are diminished and stunted? How many wings are clipped?
Out of curiosity I looked up some figures. In the US last year, the government federal, state, and local combined collected roughly $3,430,000,000,000 in tax revenue.

The founders of this country must be spinning in their graves.

Why do we tolerate this?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:29 AM   #2
eyrie
 
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
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Re: Taxes

The asshole bureaucrats at the IRS should be sent on the space trip... one-way.

Ignatius
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:42 AM   #3
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Re: Taxes

In this instance, it seems crazy to classify the trip as income, but there is probably some logic behind the rule, and no way to make an exception. If such a gift were exempt from income tax, one could 'give' employees gifts instead of pay, they could then sell the gifts and get tax free income. Or, an employer could make gifts to employees of things they were going to buy anyway. If this was allowed at all, people would find a way to do it routinely and extensively, and the tax base would shrivel up.

The reason inflexible and seemingly unfair rules like this exist is largely because so many people have tried so hard to weasel out of paying their share of taxes for so long - an ongoing nuclear arms race between the IRS and tax-evaders. When you add in the factor that the lawmaking process by which the system gets reformed or altered is itself corrupt, you end up with a big mess that upsets just about everyone.
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:49 AM   #4
heathererandolph
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
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Re: Taxes

How to turn winning $136,000 into a moment of despair!!! I should have such problems.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
Mashu
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Re: Taxes

He should have tried to sell the prize. He could have done a lot of better things with the money. Space Camp is just a temporary thing.

Oracle wasn't doing him any favors though.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:53 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
If such a gift were exempt from income tax, one could 'give' employees gifts instead of pay, they could then sell the gifts and get tax free income. Or, an employer could make gifts to employees of things they were going to buy anyway. If this was allowed at all, people would find a way to do it routinely and extensively, and the tax base would shrivel up.
Something similar was actually legal for a long time. Employers "donated" employee's salary, etc. to a charity in Canada who banked in the Cayman Islands which then gave the employee a "gift" minus 10% that was not taxable. Many politicians, etc. did this for many years until this specific tax loophole was filled. In order to have the job I wanted for ten years I took part in this practice. I justified it in my mind at the time because many, many wealthy people were doing it... and I didn't really agree with the way tax money was being spent. Thank goodness we're educable.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
In order to have the job I wanted for ten years I took part in this practice. I justified it in my mind at the time because many, many wealthy people were doing it.
Holy Smoke, Chuck.... would it be possible for me to come to Arizona and get a job walking around behind you, carrying your wallet?
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:10 PM   #8
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Taxes

Don't forget, barter is taxable too! So, if you trade something of unequal value, the person receiving the service or item (or "prize") of greater value has to declare the overage as taxable income.

As if.
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:23 PM   #9
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Holy Smoke, Chuck.... would it be possible for me to come to Arizona and get a job walking around behind you, carrying your wallet?
Mike, you would get bored quickly I suspect. That was many years ago before a bankruptcy after the oil boom and then fizzle in the early to mid eighties.

I'm a poor budo teacher now... a homeless person that has a small home and enough to eat with two dogs, many friends, and a few students.

Thanks for the offer though and best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:07 PM   #10
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Don't forget, barter is taxable too! So, if you trade something of unequal value, the person receiving the service or item (or "prize") of greater value has to declare the overage as taxable income.
The silly thing is, in all exchanges both parties believe they are receiving the item of greater value. If the value was equal, why make the exchange?

I suppose Uncle Sam wants his cut of everything.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:23 PM   #11
Adam Alexander
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Heather Randolph wrote:
How to turn winning $136,000 into a moment of despair!!! I should have such problems.
That's one way to minimize someone's suffering.

If it were a person dying of cancer who couldn't use the cure because they were allergic, you'd be understanding because you can relate to the fear of death.

But when you've never known the feeling of dreams being crushed by the system, when you've never felt the sensation of a million little cuts, you can't relate to what it's like to lose because of someone else.

Quote:
Matthew Zsebik wrote:
He should have tried to sell the prize. He could have done a lot of better things with the money. Space Camp is just a temporary thing.

Oracle wasn't doing him any favors though.
A lot better by your standards I suppose? I guess anything we make beyond what's necessary for self-sustenance should be applied to 'better things' besides realizing our dreams.


I suppose the world would be a lot better in your views if everyone just went back and forth to their forty hour grind and lived according to your values.

How grand...the views of the oppressive.
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:18 PM   #12
Mashu
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
A lot better by your standards I suppose?
Of course. Didn't my minions deliver my edicts?


Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I guess anything we make beyond what's necessary for self-sustenance should be applied to 'better things' besides realizing our dreams.
Now you're seeing my Master PlanŽ.


Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I suppose the world would be a lot better in your views if everyone just went back and forth to their forty hour grind and lived according to your values.

How grand...the views of the oppressive.
My reign of terror cannot be stopped! Feel my wrath lower income prize winners of the world !
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:35 PM   #13
Adam Alexander
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Matthew Zsebik wrote:
My reign of terror cannot be stopped! Feel my wrath lower income prize winners of the world !
Typical.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:55 PM   #14
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
The reason inflexible and seemingly unfair rules like this exist is largely because so many people have tried so hard to weasel out of paying their share of taxes for so long - an ongoing nuclear arms race between the IRS and tax-evaders. When you add in the factor that the lawmaking process by which the system gets reformed or altered is itself corrupt, you end up with a big mess that upsets just about everyone.
*sigh*

There is no law that states you have to pay Federal income tax.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:20 PM   #15
Adam Alexander
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
*sigh*

There is no law that states you have to pay Federal income tax.
Or, to put it a different way...

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on the internet. Please accept some fantasy advice...advice derived from my fantasies.
Geeze, Neil, take some responsiblity. Someone might actually pay attention to you.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:21 PM   #16
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Taxes

Neil,
How is it that we get snookered into believing that we do have to pay federal income taxes, then? Everything looks set up to impose penalties and prison on us if we don't
???Enquiring minds want to know.???
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:10 PM   #17
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Or, to put it a different way...



Geeze, Neil, take some responsiblity. Someone might actually pay attention to you.
Oh, look! Jean misquotes me, in a cheap ploy to discredit!

Very damae, Jean. I'm reporting the post.

Did you really need to stoop so low>>>?
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:19 PM   #18
Mike Sigman
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
Did you really need to stoop so low>>>?
It is permitted to stoop low in Aikido, as long as you are not wearing your crotchless leather mini-hakama.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:22 PM   #19
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
???Enquiring minds want to know.???
No you don't. You want to be sarcastic, get in a few good jokes, maybe hit the ole' "Mike n' Neil, at it again" button, should Mike chime in.

So, here's some advice...look it up. Find ONE law that say we HAVE to pay Federal Income Tax. In the meantime, find some other straightman who appreciates disrespect.

Now then...

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Neil,
How is it that we get snookered into believing that we do have to pay federal income taxes, then? Everything looks set up to impose penalties and prison on us if we don't
See...that's the rub. And, that's where the question gets complex.

You don't have to pay taxes: but you have to submit a form...a form that states, "upon penalty of perjury," that your statements of what you made, are true. Notice how the IRS is very picky about you signing the form.

You have to sign the form, UNLESS, certain circumstances occur.

1. You didn't sign the form the year before; or
2. You made less than a certain amount.

(legally speaking, of course. The IRS will try to bully you into thinking otherwise).

There are other ways to get around the IRS...none surefire, of course. The bidness knows what it's doing, after all. Congressmen who offer up bills to restructure the tax code to make it more progressive (as in, eliminate or reroute the IRS) suddenly find themselves audited.

60 Minutes sure found out THAT lesson, quick.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:25 PM   #20
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It is permitted to stoop low in Aikido, as long as you are not wearing your crotchless leather mini-hakama.
Um...what does a crotchless leather mini-hakama look like...? And, where would you wear one...oh, never mind....
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:48 AM   #21
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
*sigh*

There is no law that states you have to pay Federal income tax.
Yeah. Only an idiot would pay their fair share of federal taxes when they could get into a massive legal battle with the IRS that might take years, risking fines and imprisonment, based on questionable legal theories propounded by radical fringe groups instead.

What I can't see is what this smug assertion has to do with either sentence quoted, to which it purports to be a response.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:14 AM   #22
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 225
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Re: Taxes

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Yeah. Only an idiot would pay their fair share of federal taxes when they could get into a massive legal battle with the IRS that might take years, risking fines and imprisonment, based on questionable legal theories propounded by radical fringe groups instead.
And this is why I *sighed*...

*sigh*

Quote:
What I can't see is what this smug assertion has to do with either sentence quoted, to which it purports to be a response.
What I can't see is why you cannot simply take it at its word. Question it, explore it, guffaw at it...but of course, the most common thing to do, is to ridicule, before even considering it.

How....ordinary of you. How unimaginative.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:26 AM   #23
Mashu
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Re: Taxes

You folks are 2 tents.

I watched this awhile ago:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...277175242198&q

Unless you lived off the grid somewhere in the wilderness and didn't work in the regular economy I don't see how you could do this.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:04 AM   #24
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Thumbs down Re: Taxes

Quote:
Matthew Zsebik wrote:
You folks are 2 tents.

I watched this awhile ago:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...277175242198&q
Wow, Matthew, you're psychic. This film was exactly what I was thinking about, in the background. Good call.

Quote:
Unless you lived off the grid somewhere in the wilderness and didn't work in the regular economy I don't see how you could do this.
Yeah, well, that IS the point. But there are other ways around the IRS...this is not even the most effective.

But, I'm no expert, either. My understanding is incomplete.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:13 AM   #25
Mashu
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Re: Taxes

I think the movie was just something Aaron Russo did to attract attention? It just seems odd and a bit irresponsible. He's been a radical for ages but I couldn't quite understand what his underlying intention was. The part where the ex IRS? official tells him in Yiddish something to the effect that there is no hope for him kind of sums up the film for me.
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