Hypocrite Warren Buffett Uses Canada as a Tax Shelter

BUFFETT CREDITWarren Buffett, you may be the world’s greatest investor.  Clearly, you are a brilliant, successful man.  However, you are also a major hypocrite.

I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors, raised by a single-mother, a graduate of the New York City public schools. I founded a company out of a tiny office – and through many hours of hard work today employ over 110 people and own one of the largest independently owned US PR firms.  As a NYC resident, I pay over 50% taxes – 35% federal, 8.25 percent New York State taxes, and 4 percent local taxes. Add in Medicare, social security, payroll, workers compensation, commercial rent taxes, payroll tax, and who knows what other tax and it is more than 50 percent. I spend many, many hours with my accountant – and there is no way around these outrageous tax bills.

There is something so un-American in forcing me to hand over more than half a year’s pay to the government. Meanwhile, uber-rich like Buffet have a special way with the system, whereby, as he claims, he pays about 17 percent of his income to the government in taxes. Buffett makes most of his money from dividends and capital gains – at the 15 percent tax rate. For a simpleton like me it seems a deviation from the concept of all money being green.  And he has the gall to proclaim that the wealthy need to pay more taxes (which Obama defines as over $200k annually).

Headlines this week featured Buffett’s plans to provide financing for Burger King’s purchase of Canadian chain Tim Horton’s, which would allow Burger King to pay Canadian tax rates.  While it is wholly natural for capitalists to take advantage of loopholes to maximize profit, there is an issue when he does it with his foot on the neck of hard-working entrepreneurial Americans. It’s hypocritical to weasel out of American taxes.

Tax codes are broken when Buffett’s $46 billion net worth will largely escape all federal taxation. Some years ago, the billionaire signed a letter, calling for a “strong estate tax” because it is “right morally and economically” and “promotes democracy by slowing the concentration of wealth and power.” He uses tax laws to dodge taxes – yet, my heirs will pay another 50% taxes after my death on monies which have already been taxed. Even if I was to move overseas, and give up my American citizenship, I’d have to pay “exit fees” in taxes.  In the same breath, multi-billion-dollar corporations are able to evade the law.  Rather warped. 

I live in a city where there is a city council that is openly anti-business, a “progressive” mayor (and governor), and our 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index placed New York 50th (out of 50 States) as a result of high income, corporate, sales, and property taxes. And we should pay more while Mr. Buffett weasels his way into Canada?

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  • Bamaguje

    Get the hell out of New York!!

  • A. D. White

    Isn’t Buffet the guy that has willed practically his entire estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

  • Concerned

    In my opinion the person who wrote this article is a hypocrite.

  • Cosmo

    Corporations don’t really pay taxes. They are an expense that is passed on to the customer. However, I hole heartily share you pain with taxes. I too am an individual who was self employed for many years trying to figure out how I could keep my money for myself.

    In my mind we should only have corporate taxes with no loopholes. That way if you have the money to buy it you also get to pay taxes. The richer you are, the more you buy and the more taxes you pay. No personal income tax.

  • stephencarter

    Why is Buffet a weasel for taking a rational course of action? Why stay in a country that’s become a socialist hellhole with confiscatory levels of taxation? Why blame those who see what’s happening and take a logical course of action? It’s not patriotic or sane to stay and pay the highest corporate tax rates in the world, it’s being a chump, it’s letting yourself be exploited by the greediest, most corrupt bureaucracy in the Western world. The US government has had record levels of revenue pouring in, yet still the government can’t just balance their books and spend less than the record windfalls of money being extorted by BIG GOVERNMENT INC. Why feed the monster? Why perpetuate a broken system? Why pay more than 50% taxes when all the subsidiary taxes are added in? But this is peripheral to the real issue, which Romney pointed out recently: the flight of companies away from the anti-business Obama regime means far far fewer new companies will launch a start-up in the USA. They’ll take their idea and launch in a business-friendly environment. That’s the tragedy, each year will see fewer and fewer start-ups in America. And passing ANY sort of law that throws up more obstructions to business will just hammer home the point that the US government is an enemy of business plain and simple. That’s the real tragedy, the thousands of businesses that won’t be launched in the USA.

  • Capt Bob

    If I had as much money as Buffet has they would not me Homeless American Veterans on the Streets of America.
    Retired Air Force

  • http://www.GodAuthoredBible.com geneww1938

    Simple fix to Buffet and others plus fixing our economy. DROP THE CORPORATE TAX TO THE LOWEST OF ANY PRODUCING NATION AND SEE THIS ECONOMY BOOM. The corporations will return and foreign corporations will migrate in. It is all about profit!!!
    Our tax base would increase by more employment and higher paying jobs … Replace IRS with a fixed tax rate on all new purchased items.

  • Pete

    IMO the sage of Omaha is not so much a hypocrite as he is just playing the game.

    The Democrats use extreme rhetoric to bully their way to power. and to keep power.

    He is just bending before the wind like reed by mouthing their nostrums. going along by whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the LEFT is not a solution but it allows Buffet to keep a few steps father.

  • Pete

    Have you seen the will? He could change his mind. I think you are correct though. He espoused infantalism theory during the bush years. He ahas a son that is a farmer. There was an article about. His son farmers in Nebraska or Illinois I forget which. If one has grubstake provided by the old man. I do not know this to be true), Illinois would make more sense. You do not have to irrigate near as much or ever.

    Just because the old man may not leave his children with billion of dollar does not earn he has not bequeathed them with 1 to 3 million dollars or other advantages. Not saying that it is wrong, but don’t believe everything Buffet says.

    Warren has a lieutenant, who wrote a book basically on wisdom or least how he sees it. I look forward to reading it. I found out his son is a mess. Still I look forward to reading the book but with more suspicion in mind. You can be a perfect parent and still have kids go wrong, but one has to wonder.

  • JD

    Mr. Torossian, why don’t you use that prowess at PR to persuade voters to elect conservatives. Given that you are Jew, my bet is you have voted a straight democrat ticket all your life (about 70%+ of Jews are democrats). So, if you don’t like what you are getting, do something about it besides whining.
    Oh! You might try leaving the city and state of New York and move to a city and state that have no income taxes. There are just seven states that do not have an income tax. They are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
    By the way, it is well known that Buffet is a liar and a cheat and uses his many board positions and political connections to secure deals that you and I can only dream about.
    While the country was in the “great recession” he was busy buying up interest in companies like the big banks with incredibly sweet deals. For example, he bought a huge interest in Wells Fargo – some 10 billion dollars – in convertible bonds paying 10%! This is when interest rates like now were at rock bottom. He converted those bonds to stock and now is one of Wells Fargo’s largest shareholders. Note – Wells Fargo – of all the big banks has paid the least in fines levied by the DOJ – accident? I think not.
    Also, during his ranting about not paying enough in taxes, he owed the Treasury over a billion dollars in back taxes that he had fought with them for nearly ten years.

  • roccolore

    Warren Buffett is the hypocrite who said that he should pay more in taxes, but won’t pay his own.

  • Christopher Riddle

    Warren Buffet is(in the words of the Late,Great Bob Grant)a”Fake,Phony,Fraud”!However,he is a Very good business-man and he understands how to”Make A Profit”!The Tim Horton/Burger King Merger is a stroke of Genius!!!As long as this government remains”Unfriendly”towards investment,this sort of”Capital Flight”will continue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WhiteHunter

    Sober up enough to use a dictionary before you post. You clearly have no idea what the word means. Or else you’re so impaired that your reading comprehension ability has failed. Assuming you ever had any.

    Or both.

  • AreaMan66

    Socialism for you…..Capitalism for me!
    Warren Buffet

  • Nabukuduriuzhur

    “Corporations don’t really pay taxes. They are an expense that is passed on to the customer.”

    That is a common misconception. It assumes that the customer will absorb any cost. When a cost goes up, often the result is reduced sales.

    Supply and Demand are not taught much any more, but there is only so much a good or service is worth to a customer. If a company tries to pass on a hike in taxes, it may well end that company because the customer will get the same good or service elsewhere or decide to do without.

    • Mark Jackson

      Um… if the corporation experiences reduced sales, then it doesn’t pay taxes on the sales that never happened. So, yeah, the corporation passes taxes onto the consumer, but, well, yeah, the taxes that are never assessed in the first place because of a lack of earnings obviously don’t get passed onto the consumer, y’know, because they don’t exist. Only the taxes that actually *exist* get passed on to the consumer; but *those* taxes do get passed on to the consumer.

  • Nabukuduriuzhur

    The problem is that Buffett is a liar. He claims to advocate for more taxes, but doesn’t want to pay for them himself.

    Sadly, since the early 1990s, it’s been standard for most who have money in this nation to have no personal morality.

  • Mark Jackson

    You are confusing Warren Buffett with the corporation he runs. These aren’t actually the same thing.

    As a CEO, he has a fiduciary duty to his investors (and yes, I realize he *is* one of his investors) to maximize his company’s returns. That is precisely, exactly, and indisputably NOT relevant to the question of how much tax individual earners should pay. If Buffett’s strategies as CEO mean that investors in Berkshire Hathaway earn more, then those individuals (including Buffett himself) will pay the going rate of income tax on any personal earnings. If Buffett is successful in persuading Congress to raise investment income taxes on individuals, then HE will pay more. Whether raising taxes on Buffett is a good idea or not, Buffett is not hypocritical in DEMANDING that taxes on Buffett go up while simultaneously taking full advantage of current laws so far as the company he runs is concerned.

    If you can’t grasp this very simple point, then you should stop posting stuff on the Internet.