Michael Hiltzik: The tax man cometh (not)


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Not for Frank and Jamie McCourt anyway.

As my Wednesday column discusses, it’s a little hard to fathom what Jamie McCourt hopes to achieve by airing the couple’s aggressive tax avoidance strategies in court. If there’s anything sure to raise the ire of the populace, it’s the spectacle of ostentatiously wealthy citizens with tax bills totaling zero.

Why is that? Because everyone understands that it forces the rest of us to cover not only our own obligations, but theirs too. It’s arguably one moral failing that doesn’t need spelling out to anyone.


The column begins below.

To everyone who claims that our wealthiest citizens pay more than their fair share of income taxes and we should cut them a break because they’re the ones who, you know, create jobs in our economy, I have four words for you:

Frank and Jamie McCourt. The McCourts, who own the Los Angeles Dodgers (so she says; he says he’s the owner and she’s not), jointly pocketed income totaling $108 million from 2004 through 2009, according to documents Jamie McCourt recently filed in the couple’s divorce case in Los Angeles Superior Court. On that sum, they paid zero federal and state income tax. Jamie suggests that some tax breaks will apply this year too

This reminds me of the old line about how true scandal lies not in what’s illegal, but what’s legal. It’s certainly an edifying window into the lengths some people will go to avoid paying taxes.

Read the whole column.

-- Michael Hiltzik