Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Tax Returns as Public Information?


In London's Guardian, a columnist notes that the rich are getting away with paying far less than their fair share of taxes, but that the country's politicians seem to have little interest in closing loopholes and creating a fairer system. (Sound familiar?)
So, if the super-rich won't pay because no one's interested in making them pay, what on earth can be done? How can the public's interest in fair taxation be revived? How could the government find the courage to stop the tax cheats?

I have a cruel and unusual proposal: everyone's tax returns should be published. If the teachers and dustmen of this country could see that certain multi-millionaires are paying less tax than they are, they'd be so angry that the government would surely be obliged to act.
(I think the teachers and dustmen would first check the tax returns of their neighbors and supervisors, and the media would certainly go after controvercial public figures and politicians.... But most people would probably be very uncomfortable with the disclosure of their personal financial information.)

2 comments:

  1. [M]ost people would probably be very uncomfortable with the disclosure of their personal financial informationI remember how angry people were when Social Security earnings statements were available online to anyone with you SSN.

    ReplyDelete
  2. (Admittedly, I knew that I was more than slightly understating the probable public reaction.)

    ReplyDelete