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Michael Dell: “I’m smiling because I force Lone Star peasants to pay my property taxes!”

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A version of this article was first published by The Nation

For all those feeling the pinch this Tax Day, rest assured America’s wealthiest one percent have no idea what you’re going through. Not only have they shaved over a $100 billion off their income taxes thanks to Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, but, thanks to misuse of agricultural tax breaks, many did not have to pay their property taxes, either.

Take Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers and the second-richest Texan, who qualified for an agricultural property tax break on his sprawling 1,757-acre residential ranch in suburban Austin and saved over $1 million simply because his family and friends sometimes use the land as a private hunting preserve to shoot deer. Or take billionaire publisher Steve Forbes, who got more than a 90 percent property tax reduction on hundreds of acres of his multimillion dollar estate in upscale Bedminister, New Jersey, just by putting a couple of cows out to pasture. They are not alone. All across the country, a huge number of America’s wealthiest are tapping into agricultural tax breaks—and none of them have to do any real farming to qualify. (more…)

April 14th, 2011 | Comments (19)