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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

IRS Commissioner Does Not Do His Own Taxes Because of Complexity of Code

During an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" on Sunday, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said he uses a tax preparer for his own returns:

"I've used one for years. I find it convenient. I find the tax code complex so I use a preparer."

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/01/irs-commissioner.html

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Comments

Two points:

1) At least he pays his taxes.

2) In case there's anything amiss, he can always use the "on the professional advice of my tax preparer" dodge. Sures sound better than blaming it on TurboTax.

Posted by: K Dackson | Jan 13, 2010 1:58:04 PM

FDR (when president) once year sent in a letter to the IRS stating he was unable to figure out his taxes and could they do it for him.

Posted by: Anthony | Jan 13, 2010 2:25:43 PM

Yeah, I've become convinced that there's no point to the current complexity except to fatten the wallets of CongressCritters on the associated committees.
Still, K Dackson, the turbo-tax dodge seems to have worked well enough for our Treas. Sec.

Posted by: Jim,MtnViewCA,USA | Jan 13, 2010 2:45:28 PM

Give the poor man a break, he only has to try to administer the code, he didn't write it.

Posted by: max | Jan 13, 2010 5:18:43 PM

The IRS Commissioner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the members of the congressional Ways and Means committees ought to be required to submit an affidavit, under the penalty of perjury, that they prepared their own taxes using only materials from the IRS public website and the IRS helpline.

Their returns should then be blinded and subject to a comprehensive audit.

If the tax code is too complex for them, it's too complex.

Posted by: Ed Blackman | Jan 13, 2010 5:26:36 PM

If you don't know how to do your taxes you should hire an accountant.

And if you find driving in large cities to be confusing you should hire a chauffeur.

Is housework and yardwork onerous? Hire servants!

That was easy. I hope all those people who lost their jobs this year are paying attention.

Charlie

Posted by: Charlie | Jan 13, 2010 9:41:58 PM

"Give the poor man a break, he only has to try to administer the code, he didn't write it."

The point, in case you missed it, is that if the guy IN CHARGE of the very system doesn't understand it, who in God's name could?

And if it can't be understood, that should pretty much prove that it is far too complicated.

Posted by: Sean | Jan 13, 2010 11:36:23 PM

Actually Sean the point is that the person who is in charge of administering the code feels it's too complex for him to figure out himself BUT is willing to use a tax preparer to figure it out for his personal taxes. I hope it only for the liability so that if the preparer is wrong then Shulman won't be too harshly penalized because the alternative is that he considers himself less capable of figuring out the code than whoever it is that does his taxes.

Shulman isn't in charge of the system, he's only the poor chap who has to try to keep it working while congress keeps making changes to the basic design AND throwing in bells and whistles seemingly at random.


Posted by: max | Jan 14, 2010 3:47:24 PM