Biden, accountant hit with IRS whistleblower claim that prez owes at least $127K

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Apr 19, 2022, 2:42:50 PMApr 19

President Biden and his accountant are facing new IRS whistleblower
complaints alleging that Biden owes at least $127,000 in back taxes.

The complaints were filed by Chris Jacobs, a former Republican aide on
Capitol Hill, to coincide with Monday’s federal tax filing deadline.

“Federal agencies must implement laws on a non-partisan basis,” Jacobs
told The Post. “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.
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,” Jacobs wrote.

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.

The White House and Biden’s accountant, Walter Deyhle, did not immediately
offer comment.

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.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates noted last year in a statement to the
Washington Post that House Republicans weren’t eager to scour former
President Donald Trump’s tax records. Trump, unlike Biden, refused to
release his tax returns, saying they were under audit.

“[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.

Republicans such as Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) 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

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.

Willens later told the Washington Post that “I don’t have any problem with
what he did. In fact, he would have been almost derelict had he not
channeled his earnings through an S corporation.”

Political debate over the use of S corporations has raged for decades,
impacting other prominent politicians such as 2004 Democratic vice
presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and former House Speaker
Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

John Bogdanski, a former member of the IRS Commissioner’s Advisory Group
and a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Oregon, told The Post last
year that Biden would not have to pay Medicare taxes for the share of
income made off the labor of other people, which can be complicated to
determine. He said people generally make assumptions in their own favor
and get away with it.

“There are millions — literally millions — of S corporations. So there
might be a half a million S corporations that are playing this game. And
the IRS doesn’t have anywhere near enough of a budget to bring a half a
million cases every year,” he said.

Bogdanski added that he thinks it’s “quite rich” for Republicans to focus
on Biden’s taxes when Trump never released his own tax returns.

David Gamage, a tax law professor at Indiana University, said “the general
view among tax experts is that it’s quite easy for taxpayers to get away
with this form of tax planning to the point of it being very abusive.”

“This is not the sort of tax planning that should be going on as a matter
of tax policy, but it’s very hard for the IRS to police,” Gamage told The
Post. “I would hope that increased attention to this issue, whether that
be through focus on a President Biden using this form of tax planning or
more generally, would increase the case for reform.”

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