Add It Up: Taxes Avoided by the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit | NationofChange Conservatives force the deficit issue, ignoring job creation, and insisting that tax increases on the rich wouldn't generate enough revenue to balance the budget. They're way off. But it takes a little arithmetic to put it all together. In the following analysis, data has been taken from a variety of sources, some of which may overlap or slightly disagree, but all of which lead to the conclusion that withheld revenue, not excessive spending, is the problem. 1. Individual and small business tax avoidance costs us $450 billion. The IRS estimates that 17 percent of taxes owed were not paid, leaving an underpayment of $450 billion. In way of confirmation, an independent review of IRS data reveals that the richest 10 percent of Americans paid less than 19% on $3.8 trillion of income in 2006, nearly $450 billion short of a more legitimate 30% tax rate. It has also been estimated that two-thirds of the annual $1.3 trillion in "tax expenditures" (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers. Based on IRS apportionments, this calculates out to more than $450 billion for the richest 10 percent of Americans. 2. Corporate tax avoidance is between $250 billion and $500 billion. ✄snip> 3. Tax haven losses range from $337 billion to $500 billion. ✄snip> 4. That's enough to pay off a trillion dollar deficit. Reasonable tax changes could pay it off a second time: (a) A non-regressive payroll tax could produce $150 billion in revenue. ✄snip> (b) A minimal estate tax brings in another $100 billion. ✄snip> (c) A financial transaction tax (FTT): up to $500 billion. ✄snip> Add it all up, and we've paid off the deficit, almost twice. More importantly, the avoided taxes and a few other sensible taxes could provide sufficient revenue for job stimulus without cutting the hard-earned benefits of middle-class Americans.