Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

A Century Of Tax Mischief

May 5, 2008

My Dad forwarded to me an e-mail that included this gem about all of the taxes conceived in the minds of politicians over the past century (the impact of several of them on just our family has been chronicled on this blog):

Accounts receivable tax
Building permit tax
CDL license tax
Cigarette tax
Corporate income tax
Dog license tax
Federal income tax
Federal unemployment tax
Fishing license tax
Food license tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline tax
Hunting license tax
Inheritance tax
Inventory tax
IRS interest charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor tax
Luxury tax
Marriage license tax
Medicare tax
Property tax
Real-estate tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security tax
Road usage tax (truckers)
Sales taxes
Recreational vehicle tax
School tax
State income tax
State unemployment tax
Telephone taxes
— Federal excise
— Universal service fee
— Federal, state and local surcharges
— Minimum-usage surcharge
— Taxes on recurring and non-recurring phone charges
— State and local phone taxes
— Telephone-usage charge tax
Utility tax
Vehicle registration tax
Vehicle sales tax
Watercraft registration tax
Well permit tax
Workers compensation tax

The kicker to the e-mail: “Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?'”

Don’t Fall For The IRS E-Mail Scam

January 29, 2008

It’s bad enough that government revenuers legally relieve us of our hard-earned cash; it’s worse that high-tech scam artists try to seize upon the name of the IRS to rob the unsuspecting of even more money.

If you get an e-mail like this one that I received at my work account, don’t click on the link and by all means don’t respond to it by disclosing personal financial information:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $134.80. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

‘Abolish The IRS’ — I Like The Idea

January 25, 2008

It’s an idea espoused by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in his latest campaign ad: “I wanna be the president who nails the going-out-of-business sign on the door of the IRS. … I’ll lead the fight to abolish the IRS, and we’ll keep our jobs and paychecks.”

Huckabee supports the FairTax proposal to eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes — personal, corporate, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare and self-employment. A “consumption tax,” fancy lingo for a sales tax, would be imposed instead, and poor people would receive rebates for taxes they pay.

I don’t like any taxes, but a plan to kill a tax code that forces average folks to labor for hours over tax forms or hire accountants definitely interests to me — and a consumption tax encourages savings because if you don’t spend it, you aren’t taxed. Another appealing option is a flat tax on income to make filing easier.

Don’t Expect Checks Anytime Soon

January 25, 2008

Anytime federal officials pass a tax law, they make life miserable for the IRS — and taxpayers feel the burden.

Last year, for instance, Congress passed a law to extend something called the “alternative minimum tax.” It’s designed to make sure even the wealthy pay at least some taxes despite their write-offs, but as family incomes have increases, more and more people are being hit by the tax.

The IRS griped about the December vote on  the proposal taxing its antiquated computer system and delaying the start of the 2007 tax-filing season.

Now President Bush and Congress appear to be on the fast track to giving millions of Americans tax rebates this year and the IRS is telling them to expect a wait. Again, the IRS’ technology are part of the problem.

The New York Times reports:

President Bush’s plan to send payments to 117 million households to stimulate the economy would impose major strains on the Internal Revenue Service, delays in answering calls to the agency and require a host of technical rules to determine who ultimately collects the benefits, officials said Thursday.

… The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation warned that the tax-filing season could be disrupted and hinted that it might be June before checks were issued.

IRS computer and other systems “are today fully engaged in processing 2007 tax returns,” the committee said Monday in a report. “As a result, it is not practical to contemplate distributing cash rebates until the peak filing season is completed, which in past years has been the very end of May.”

Nothing Says I’m Sorry Like A Check

January 10, 2008

Apology payments” from the IRS — now that sounds like a great idea to me.

The Internal Revenue Service should issue “apology payments” of up to $1,000 to taxpayers whose cases are mishandled, the National Taxpayer Advocate told Congress yesterday.

Nina E. Olson, a federal official appointed by the Treasury secretary, said Congress should also enact a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

“I believe taxpayers and tax administration will benefit from an explicit statement of what taxpayers have a right to expect from their government and what the government has a right to expect from its taxpayers,” Olson said.

Not everyone thinks it’s a great idea, though. Here’s what one critic said: “It sounds like something where they could assuage people who know enough to go to the taxpayer advocate and complain very loudly, but there are potentially a lot of people who are damaged by things that happen at the IRS. One million [dollars] in apology payments just seems really ad hoc, and I don’t see any way that could be administered in a fair way.”