As we all know, physicians never use practice iPads for sending personal messages, browsing non-medical websites, or playing games. Pharm reps never keep their own promotional pens by their nightstands at home; and, executives never falsify receipts for the use of petty cash, claim a date at a pricey restaurant was about business, or tolerate improper or excessive use of company cars or furniture budgets.
If anyone were to do these things, IRS computers would immediately catch the error. Agency hypnotists would descend in droves upon the location of the alleged transaction, using foolproof methods to delve the minds of the culprit(s). Specially trained dogs, through sniffing a series of water coolers, are able to tell the difference between 5-gallon water bottles purchased via cash at the local grocer, and 5-gallon water bottles brought home from an office's monthly shipment. To ensure against the misuse of travel deductions, various other chimerical IRS species have been able to demonstrate the precise point where a taxpayer's need to project appearance by traveling via private jet between a series of company-owned furnished luxury suites is legitimate, rather than a farcical excuse for free vacations. One of the rarer Agency sub-species is even able to construct mathematical proofs which explain why travel, entertainment, and education costs incurred in the pursuit of meetings with venture capitalists are deductible, but not travel, entertainment, or education costs incurred in the pursuit of job interviews with employers.
In the tiny number of cases per century in which agents and their canine psychics cannot determine the exact ratio of business to personal use, malfeasant taxpayers are quick to confess, drawing upon the subtlest details of their personal experience in order to bring to light any oversights the agents/dogicorns may have made during the investigative process.
Given just how properly the system works, it's no surprise how simple it is to gain charitable deductions on your tax return. If you see a hungry person, give her a hundred dollars, and make a note of it on your home computer, and the IRS will be happy to offer you an equivalent charitable deduction next April. Or, if you're afraid to go near hungry people, you can give $100 to the Salvation Army representative, which will help defray 1/17th of the monthly cost of one of their billboards encouraging other donors to donate. Clear Channel, who owns most of those billboards, is very good about helping announce their support for the community every holiday season, and many of their local vice presidents are so charitably inclined that they, or their wives or children or in-laws, are influential members on the local S.A. board, receiving sometimes 10 or 20% less of the salary that they could command, were they less warm-hearted and employed in the private sector during those hours, instead.
For citizens feeling particularly charitable, they can donate that $100 to their local magnet school system so that the new computer lab has a newer iPad for every desk, and gain not a mere deduction, but a direct dollar-for-dollar credit, considering the increased neediness involved in the transaction. If you're concerned that too many credits might result in you paying zero tax (and instead just helping people in need), you can go for mere deductions by helping your local church build a more modern congregation hall with better audio-visual equipment than the one before UHDTV came down in price.
Charity begins in the home, so even though it might seem easier to donate money to a homeless shelter, you might find it a lot more rewarding to offer a bedroom and a working bathroom to a struggling, homeless family of three. By preparing meals that were a little bit larger than normal, and giving them a stable address, you could break the stigma of shelter- and food-insecurity, and make a far greater proportional impact on society. Your guests might occasionally help dust or vacuum, or touch up the storm shutters in the winter, but you can figure out your accurate deduction by subtracting the fair market value of those services from the fair market value of free rent on an all-utilities-paid bed and bath, for twelve months of the year.
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This segment reinforces the point of this series' later installments, such as Tax Theft 14, in which the focus changes from the portions of tax law designed to immunize certain people from having to pay, and moves toward the portions of tax law designed to prevent the wrong kind of people from taking advantage of protections meant only for the wealthy. Like any review of prosecutor priorities or humanitarian interventions, one is able to rather easily reach moments of illumination where the blatance is so blatant that it resembles nothing more than an upraised middle finger. Full color, 1200 dpi, put-on-your-3D-glasses-and-stare blatant.
Two of the reasons that looking at that middle finger is useful are:
(1) If you like the idea of society taking care of people, you must ask yourself, "Why does society punish those who actually take care of other people, and instead, establish bureaucracies which patent the care being provided, and extract billions of dollars for themselves from the process, by virtue of their relative monopoly?" E.g., if you've figured out that imperial war is a racket, but you haven't figured out that social welfare is a racket, you need to spend more time studying the abject irreconcilability and self-interest behind the extraction strictures that heavily discourage and punish actual charity.
(2) If you believe people should be free to opt out of others' charity, you must ask yourself, "What else are these thugs doing that mirrors their existing racket?" E.g., if you've figured out that social welfare is a racket, but you haven't figured out that imperial war is a racket, you need to consider the invariable correlation between the dirty thieves who establish these social welfare policies, and the exact same dirty thieves who claim they are protecting you from whatever is supposed to be currently scary.
(Ending on that note, what is currently scary? Is it still the Islamic-whatever, or have we attacked Denmark and Uruguay yet?)