The 16th amendment created two tax systems.
Back to the first article in this chain: In order to get people to vote for the 16th amendment, Congress, by means of newspaper ads, promised the American public that they would tax only profits. Other additions came by way of litigation.
Congress promised to tax only profits.
This was codified in Section 162 in 1954. It was ratified by the Supreme Court, also in 1954. Economic substance & valid business purpose we added later by litigation.
Today, this is where we stand.
There shall be allowed as deductions all the ordinary, reasonable & necessary expenditures made in pursuit of profits in a legitimate business undertaking as long as it meets the economic substance & a valid business purpose tests.
Who decides to deduct an expenditure? You do. Not the IRS. There are no limitations on that. All you have to do is prove it’s ordinary, necessary & reasonable in pursuit of profits and meets the requirements of economic substance and valid business purpose.
If the IRS wants to disallow a deduction, they have to prove it in a court of law, or you have to agree. But they’re not bashful about challenging deductions, so dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
It was quickly established that wages were pure profits, so this applies only to businesses and business like enterprises, such as rental activities.
This is the foundation of modern tax practice.
The 16th amendment singlehandedly created the modern tax system in which every business files it’s taxes differently from every other business. Those with the best tax advisers will pay the legal minimum, taking advantage of every deduction and other legal maneuvers, but those with lesser tax advisers will pay more tax than the law requires. Do that long enough and you’re out of business. It boils down to a talent issue.
This concept puts a lot of burden on the taxpayer. It’s up to the business owner to take all the deductions available. If you miss some, it’s nobody’s fault besides your own. It’s absolutely shameful that 98% of businesses pay more tax than the law requires. GAO.
98% if businesses pay more tax than the law requires; more tax at higher rates than the Global 500.
The IRS normally has three years to audit, measured from the return due date or filing date, whichever is later. But, the three years is doubled if you omitted 25% or more of your income. Even worse, the IRS has no time limit if you never file a return. What’s more, the IRS also has no time limit on fraud.