Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Raise Revenue Without Raising Taxes

“We are talking about billions of dollars coming into the U.S. Treasury," says the IRS Commissioner. Almost 15,000 Americans with offshore accounts, many but not all of them UBS clients, have 'fessed up and sought amnesty. Last August, UBS agreed to turn over the names of about 4,450 suspected tax evaders. Apparently, thousands more turned themselves in because they feared they might show up on the list.

The expected billions in new tax revenue won't solve Uncle Sam's trillion-dollar deficit problems, but the windfall should help a little.

So will next year's expansion of Roth IRA conversion privileges, if wealth managers pitch in. By convincing your upper-income clients to convert, you flood the U.S. Treasury with tax dollars that otherwise would trickle in over the lifetimes of your clients and their beneficiaries.

What's that? You want to know how the Treasury will replace that future flow of revenue? Best not to think about it.

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