Who Pays the Most In Taxes? robert kiyosaki

Who Pays the Most In Taxes?

When it comes to taxes, start thinking like the rich

The other day, a friend of mine texted to say, “I don’t understand why my small business has to pay so much in taxes when Amazon has to pay next to nothing.”

He was tapping into something that most people understand on one level, and bristle at on another…mainly, the rich don’t pay their “fair share” in taxes.

I put “fair share” in parenthesis because I don’t believe in the idea that the rich should pay more in taxes, but I know that most people would howl and scream at this sentiment.

This is also why when I wrote that I hoped that President Donald Trump paid zero in taxes (to the dismay of Hillary Clinton), people were livid. People simply don’t like the idea that the rich pay less in taxes than them. But there’s a reason they do…I’ll get into that later.

Two points of view on who should pay the most in taxes

To further illustrate these two points of view regarding taxes, I'll share a story.

Many years ago, a newspaper reporter asked me how much I'd made during the year prior. I replied, "I made about a million dollars."

"And how much did you pay in taxes?" he asked.

"Nothing," I said. "That money was made by selling three pieces of property, and I was able to defer paying those taxes by using a Section 1031 exchange. I never touched the money. I just reinvested it into larger pieces of property."

A few days later, the newspaper ran the story with the following headline: "Rich Man Makes $1 Million and Admits to Paying Nothing in Taxes."

While I did say something like that, it was clear that the reporter didn't understand what I'd told him, or he purposely distorted the message by leaving out a few key words.

Whatever the reason, it was a perfect example of different points of view coming from different parts of the CASHFLOW® Quadrant . He was thinking like an employee (E) on the left side of the quadrant, but I was talking like an investor (I) on the right side of the quadrant.

Why the poor and middle class pay the most in taxes

Most parents want their kids to go to school, get good grades, and find a safe, secure job. In reality, that is some of the worst advice we can give our kids. Why? The answer is found in taxes and debt. For people who earn their income from the Employee (E) and Self-Employed (S) quadrants (like my friend who texted me), there are virtually no tax breaks. Thus, those on the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant pay the most in taxes, often while making the least.

Why would this be? The tax code is built to incentives certain kinds of behavior, mostly around creating wealth and jobs. Employees and self-employed people, while providing value to employers, don’t themselves create jobs or wealth for the economy. They are key to it, but they don’t directly do it. Investors and business owners do that. As such, the government has very little in the way of tax breaks for employees and the self-employed. Everyone needs a job, so they don’t need a tax break to be incentivized to get one. But not everyone has the courage to invest and start a business that employs other people. The government creates incentives for those that do via tax breaks.

While it seems like a good idea to get a good education and a high-paying job, the reality is that most people with high-paying jobs aren't rich. Why? Because they have no financial education and have no idea how money actually works—and can work for you.

At the end of the day, remember this one cardinal rule: Being rich isn't about how much money you make—it's about how much money you keep. And one of the best ways to keep your money is to do things that the government wants you to do.

Why the rich pay the least in taxes

When it comes to paying taxes, most people are hoping for a refund, but secretly everyone fears the opposite: that they'll owe hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the IRS.

For this reason, most people dread tax time-especially employees and the self-employed. Why? Because they know they have no control over what they'll pay in taxes. They just have to suck it up and take it.

But what if there was a better way? What if you could actually look forward to tax season? I do. And so can you. It starts with thinking and acting like the rich do.

The rich pay very little in income taxes because they don't earn their money as employees do. They know that the best way to legally avoid taxes is by generating passive income out of the right side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant—the Business (B) and Investing (I) side.

If you earn your income on the left side of the quadrant, the only tax break you have is to buy a bigger house and go into greater debt. But the rich have scores of tax breaks offered to them by the government to encourage investing and business development, which generates more jobs. The rich can make millions of dollars and pay virtually nothing in taxes.

One example of this is the government’s desire to have more affordable housing available to the general public. Because of this, rental income is treated as passive income, the lowest-taxed income. Additionally, you are allowed to write off all expenses for your investment property, and you can depreciate your property each year. Depreciation is a phantom income because it is a loss you can take against your taxable income, even though you didn’t actually lose any money. This allows you to pay less in taxes. If you invest in certain types of multi-family properties, you can even qualify for more tax breaks depending on the zones you’re developing in and the type of affordable property you’re investing in or building.

These incentives are well above the general interest deduction that a homeowner has. Why? Because the government doesn’t need to incentivize people to own a home. They do need to incentivize investors to purchase or build apartment buildings.

Want to pay less in taxes? Create passive income

The point is this: not all income is created equal. Passive income, the kind of income generated on the right side of the quadrant is much better than earned income, the kind earned on the left side of the quadrant. Passive income is taxed less, and it's also a result of cash-flowing assets, not selling your time as an employee.

But here's the catch, not just anyone can start making passive income on the right side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant. It takes financial intelligence to start a successful business and to make great investments. The good news is that anyone can increase his or her financial intelligence through financial education.

If you want to make more money, keep more money, have more time, and pay less in taxes, the first step is knowing how money works and how to make it work for you.

To learn more about the tax strategies of the rich, I highly recommend the book “ Tax-Free Wealth ” by my tax advisor, Tom Wheelwright. Also, take some classes, attend seminars, find a good coach, and a great tax advisor. You won't regret it.

Original publish date: March 07, 2016