Turning (Taxed) A into (Untaxed) B

When I worked on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation in the 1980s, a friend who came to the staff from private law practice described the private tax lawyer’s mission in a way I haven’t forgotten: Turning A into B. That is, taking things that should be taxed at a high rate because they belong in one category, and figuring out how to put them into another category – low taxed. Lawyers rather than accountants have the word-training to take on this kind of mission.  She also called the mission “Turning This into That.”

(I’ve been looking recently at marijuana taxation, where the stakes are so low that lawyers can’t be bothered. In Oregon, Colorado, and several newly-legalizing states, users turn taxed recreational cannabis (Category A) into untaxed or lightly taxed medical cannabis (Category B) with little oversight or pushback).

The so-called Tax Reform bills working their way through Congress offer huge opportunities for turning A into B. Tax lawyers will make bundles of money.

Here are a couple of opportunities: Continue reading “Turning (Taxed) A into (Untaxed) B”