Gabriel Zucman, of the University of California, Berkeley: “For billionaires, the federal income tax — the pillar of the U.S. tax system — has become a voluntary tax.”
The New York Times reports:
“… the U.S. system taxes only so-called realized gains — like wages or stock sales. But the wealthy often live off unrealized gains — in the form of stocks and other assets that grow more valuable over time.”
Loan proceeds are not taxable.
“The wealthy borrow against these assets to pay for houses, islands and private planes and then use a variety of strategies to avoid paying taxes on the debt repayment.”
“One such strategy is waiting until after death to repay the loan — or what Edward McCaffery, a tax expert at the University of Southern California, calls “buy, borrow, die.”