Need a tax shelter? I've got one, and you're welcome to use it

The recent release of the so-called Panama Papers confirms what most of us suspected all along—that corporations are people who don’t pay their taxes, and rich people all over the world hide their money in places rife with mosquitoes.

As these documents make clear, Panama specializes in offering tax shelters to those who would prefer not to let governments help people who are poor, starving, sick, or unemployed. More than six trillion dollars of the world’s money is “missing” as a result, hidden in shell-corporation accounts that exist for only one purpose: to prevent anyone from finding it.

As for the rest of us, tax season is here, and everyone wants to know: How can I shelter my money and avoid taxes like the big boys?

I know plenty of people who would rather drive on crappy roads and dodge homeless people at every intersection than give their hard-earned money to the state. That’s why I’m announcing today that if you live anywhere within a five-mile radius of my house, you are welcome to hide your money from Uncle Sam in my backyard.

That’s right: For the benefit of the community, I have decided to turn my woodshed into a neighborhood tax shelter. Just load as much cash as you can into the trunk of your car, bring it on over, and we’ll stack it nice and neat in a secure enclosure protected from the elements by a sloping roof covered with high-quality, three-ply shingles. (Nothing says “shelter” like three-ply.)

My woodshed tax shelter is invisible from the street, and nearby trees are large enough to deter any government drones that might be snooping around. Additional security is provided twenty-four hours a day by two diligent and quite barky corgi dogs. These guys raise holy hell if a squirrel so much as thinks about going in our yard, so imagine how they’d react to someone trying to steal your hard-earned money?

Trust me, folks, your cash is safe.

You may be wondering: Why should I shelter my money in your woodshed, Tad, when I could just as easily go down to Panama and hide it there?

Yes, you could. But that would require taking at least a few days off from work, and flights to Panama aren’t cheap. Hiding your money in my woodshed saves both time and money. My son and I can have your cash stacked and secured in less than an hour, for free. We’ll even help you count it.   

Another factor to consider is that the Panama Papers have made Panama the worst place in the world to hide your money right now. By contrast, all the federal warrants against me have been dismissed in court, and it’s been years since my name has been associated with anything more serious than a misdemeanor assault charge. Technically, the IRS doesn’t even know I exist. And even if they did, no one from treasury would ever suspect that my humble suburban woodshed can hold upwards of a thirty-million dollars in neat hundred-dollar bricks. Thirty-mil is nothing. Heck, U.S. companies hide more than ninety-billion dollars from Uncle Sam every year in legal tax shenanigans, to say nothing of the illegal ones. I’m pretty sure I could fill my garage with cash (and will, if necessary) and no one would be the wiser.

Furthermore, if you want to hide your money at my place, there’s no paper trail for the government to follow. A handshake is all it takes to seal the deal. We’re neighbors, after all. We trust each other. If you’ve got a cold or kids at home with the sniffles, we don’t even have to shake on it—just leave the cash by the back gate with a note.

It’s galling to think that corporations and the mega-rich can prevent the government from taking their money, but the average person can’t. Why should you give your hard-earned dollars to Barack Obama and Gov. Mark Dayton? All they’re going to do is turn around and give it to a bunch of construction workers and teachers, then pad the wallets of police and firefighters, and hand out the rest to insurance companies and hospitals. It’s such a waste.

So if you hate smooth roads and good schools as much as I do, and think citizens should police themselves and bury their own dead, I implore you: Do not pay your taxes. Instead, load that money into your Subaru and let me hide it for you, free of charge. I encourage you to think of my backyard as your personal tax haven.

If you’re on the fence, and still think it would be better to hide your money in some place like Panama or Cuba or the Caymans, remember that I’ve got plenty of something else that attracts rich people to such places—plenty of mosquitoes.

Big, thirsty bloodsuckers that won’t stop until you slap them dead.