Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance

Tax avoidance is taking advantage of provisions in the tax law that enable one to legally pay lower taxes. Tax evasion is criminal violation of provisions in the tax law, resulting in lower taxes being paid than should be. At the behest of rich donors to their political campaigns, politicians holding office (mostly Republicans) have succeeded in weaving many provisions into the Internal Revenue Code that provide their supporters with numerous avenues for tax avoidance. That’s what people like Senator Elizabeth Warren are talking about when they say the system is “rigged.”

Republicans in Congress evidently think that the system isn’t rigged enough. Of course they would never advocate tax evasion, as distinguished from tax avoidance, but they strenuously oppose providing the Internal Revenue Service with sufficient funds to adequately enforce the tax laws, even though it’s incontrovertible that doing so would discourage tax evasion and would bring a high return on investment that would materially help finance government expenditures and reduce the government’s annual deficit.