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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #1
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

"Western debt burden is now so big that rich states will need same tonic of debt haircuts, higher inflation and financial repression - defined as an opaque tax on savers.

IMF paper warns of 'savings tax' and mass write-offs as West's debt hits 200-year high - Telegraph

Is this possible to model? I generally assume 2% inflation on my yearly needs, 0% on my investments and -1% return on my COLA'd pensions.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:21 AM   #2
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You mean like a special tax on savings for people with high incomes? They would never do anything like that. If they did, it would probably be something small, like 3.8%.
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:47 PM   #3
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You mean like a special tax on savings for people with high incomes? They would never do anything like that. If they did, it would probably be something small, like 3.8%.
Are those high income thresholds are not inflation adjusted, so eventually those high incomes will be middle class incomes....
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #4
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The IMF has a point.

Something has to give to pay for all that deficit spending and unfunded entitlements. One way or another it will come back as higher taxes and/or higher inflation which is just another tax.

The only question that remains are the details. You can count on lots of shouting as the situation inevitably reveals itself.

Somehow though I suspect that the people adversely affected won't just be a few rich guys.
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 08:36 PM   #5
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

I don't consider 3.8% 'small'. With a 2% inflation that means a 5.8% return is required to break even. An 8% historical return will provide only a 2.2% real return! Less than most people plan to withdraw after retirement. That 3.8% will destroy a lot of potential retirements, IMO.

And no, Fermion, a wealth tax is a tax on your actual accrued assets. It's been mentioned occasionally in our Congress, but never by anyone taken seriously.

A pity there's no link to this alleged IMF paper. Anyone else actually heard of it?

A search revealed a dozen rinky-dink sites reprinting the same article from the UK source, but no reputable news or financial sources carrying it; nor does a search come up with an actual PAPER of any sort.

Please people, let's try for a little credibility and check our alleged sources.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:58 PM   #6
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Geez...I was being sarcastic when I said they would never do that and then mentioned 3.8%.

They already ARE taxing savings for high income earners with the 3.8% tax on investment returns to fund ACA. After a few years when they realize that is not enough money, they will expand it to lower income earners and maybe increase the rate.

And it is a wealth tax, as the only way to prevent inflation from eroding your wealth is to invest it.
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 08:59 PM   #7
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

This is the IMF paper refered to. It is not by the IMF, and there is a clear disclaimer that it does not represent the views of the IMF


http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2013/wp13266.pdf

Reading the paper, then reading the Telegraph article, merely confirms my reasons for never reading the Telegraph. What the paper says does not appear to be accurately represented in the Telegraph rag...

Read the paper.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:03 PM   #8
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Geez...I was being sarcastic when I said they would never do that and then mentioned 3.8%.

They already ARE taxing savings for high income earners with the 3.8% tax on investment returns to fund ACA. After a few years when they realize that is not enough money, they will expand it to lower income earners and maybe increase the rate.

And it is a wealth tax, as the only way to prevent inflation from eroding your wealth is to invest it.
No - in this case they aren't taxing savings/portfolio. They are taxing the income generated by the savings/investment/portfolio.

Big difference.
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 09:09 PM   #9
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

Fermion - you stated a tax on savings, not a tax on returns. There's a major difference.

I agree the taxes from ACA will seep down to middle incomes. Already happening, with the 3.5% tax on insurance providers on all policies acquired via the federal exchange. The consumer will end up paying that increase.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:13 PM   #10
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No - in this case they aren't taxing savings/portfolio. They are taxing the income generated by the savings/investment/portfolio.

Big difference.
No it isn't that big of a difference...here, let me explain.

If you have $2,000,000 in a muni fund earning 3%, that would be $60,000 a year that you earn. If they tax this 3.8%, then they are taxing you $2,280 a year. If inflation is running near 3%, then the $2,280 is actually a 1% wealth tax on your $2,000,000 portfolio as you needed the full $60,000 just to maintain the same spending power.

It would get much more obvious with high inflation and perhaps a bit higher ACA tax. I wouldn't rule either of these out.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:16 PM   #11
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

You're example demonstrates a tax on earnings. You merely phrased it poorly when you called it a tax on savings. In your example, a tax on savings would be .038 times the $2M. We now understand what you meant to say.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:18 PM   #12
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Well I just picked up a new tax this year on deferred salary that I put in place 12 years ago
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 09:19 PM   #13
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

The OPs comment is also misleading. The paper called it an opaque tax on savers ( those who save) not a tax on savings, as the OP stated in his topic title.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:19 PM   #14
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That tax is only on modified adjusted gross income over $250,000 (married filing jointly.) So if you net $60K from your investments and have no other income, you're not paying it.

Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings
Old 01-03-2014, 09:21 PM   #15
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

Aim-high

The article is not country specific and is not referring to the US income tax code. Different topic. We merely had a semantic issue to clear up.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:30 PM   #16
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Ok, I will admit that there is a difference between the tax on savings and a wealth tax...sort of.

The 3.8% tax right now only hits high earners. That is the trick to getting things like that passed. You can ease it down to lower levels in the future by letting inflation erode the definition of high earner (like the AMT did) or you can convince enough people that a lower high that still doesn't directly impact them is still ok.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:33 PM   #17
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No it isn't that big of a difference...here, let me explain.

If you have $2,000,000 in a muni fund earning 3%, that would be $60,000 a year that you earn. If they tax this 3.8%, then they are taxing you $2,280 a year. If inflation is running near 3%, then the $2,280 is actually a 1% wealth tax on your $2,000,000 portfolio as you needed the full $60,000 just to maintain the same spending power.

It would get much more obvious with high inflation and perhaps a bit higher ACA tax. I wouldn't rule either of these out.
I guess you have to get more accurate with your "examples" because muni bond fund dividends are currently exempt from the ACA Net Investment Income Tax (a.k.a the ACA "Medicare Surtax")

Usually, "tax on savings" indicates some kind of tax on net worth or investment holdings - not on the earnings from the savings. You pay taxes on those already unless they are in tax-deferred accounts or generate non-taxable income.

According to your example above we already have a "wealth" tax as no-one can reinvest the income generated by their investments in taxable accounts without paying taxes. But that is not usually what people mean when they talk about a "wealth tax" - although of course any taxes at all could be considered a "wealth tax" as you describe it above. At some point the terminology becomes meaningless.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:34 PM   #18
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Another Consideration? Future "Tax" on Savings

Fermion - I understand the tax code. That's not what the article was discussing. The idiot (IMO) who wrote the Telegraph article called it a "savings tax", when the actual paper never mention a savings tax. Forget the tax code. It's not germane to the original topic. Read the paper, not the screwed up article.

Beddy bye time. Night all...
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:40 PM   #19
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A boss of mine always said "Never let the facts get in the way of a good argument"

seraphim, thanks for the link to the paper. Reihnart and Rogoff always make for good reading, I'm positive this paper will be no different.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:41 PM   #20
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I guess you have to get more accurate with your "examples" because muni bond fund dividends are currently exempt from the ACA Net Investment Income Tax (a.k.a the ACA "Medicare Surtax")

Usually, "tax on savings" indicates some kind of tax on net worth or investment holdings - not on the earnings from the savings. You pay taxes on those already unless they are in tax-deferred accounts or generate non-taxable income.

According to your example above we already have a "wealth" tax as no-one can reinvest the income generated by their investments in taxable accounts without paying taxes. But that is not usually what people mean when they talk about a "wealth tax" - although of course any taxes at all could be considered a "wealth tax". At some point the terminology becomes meaningless.
Yes I just realized that muni bond interest doesn't apply to the 3.8% tax. I really have not investigated the tax enough because it will not impact me directly. I hate to say that because I know at some point down the road there will be someone who doesn't care about what new taxes do impact me because it doesn't impact them.
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