TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Treasury Secretary Nominee Geithner's Tax Problems

The Senate Finance Committee this afternoon released thirty pages of documents relating to various adjustments to Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner's tax returns for 2001-2006.  The principal issue is his failure to pay self-employment taxes when he worked for the International Monetary Fund, as well as the immigration status of a housekeeper.  Perhaps most surprising is that Mr. Geithner prepared his own tax returns in four of the years in question.

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Comments

"Perhaps most surprising is that Mr. Geithner prepared his own tax returns in four of the years in question."

Why is this surprising?

Posted by: Fat Man | Jan 13, 2009 3:58:49 PM

It is impossible to believe that Geithner's failure to pay these taxes was an "honest mistake." The documentation he was supplied made his obligation clear, and his background makes it equally clear that he had full capacity to understand the issue. He also was perfectly willing to continue avoiding payment for the years not under audit until it had an impact on his possible nomination.

Another question: How did he possibly avoid penalties? Would the average Joe get the same treatment on penalties?

Finally, this raises an important character issue. This guy is willing to ignore unpleasant facts and let them fester and get worse. This tendency to avoidance is not appropriate trait in a Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: David | Jan 13, 2009 5:02:08 PM

So let me get this straight. It is certainly unfortunate the the proposed new treasury secretary is unable to handle his own taxes. This should tell omebody that we ought to simplify the tax code. What infuriates me is that we are talking about his tax problems and not a word about his role in the Wall Street problems, the bailouts, the financial crisis which happened under Geithner's role as the NY Fed chief. Nice going!!!

Posted by: Elfriede | Jan 13, 2009 5:08:18 PM

He is a democrat. What else did you expect. Taxes are only for the little people, like republicans. Still if the guy can prepare his own returns and not understand the concept of payroll taxes, can anyone seriously believe he ought to be the treasury secretary?

Posted by: cubanbob | Jan 13, 2009 7:06:56 PM

It's all right for some.

Posted by: Hamilton | Jan 13, 2009 9:19:46 PM

Time to cut the crappy dialogue and recognize the incoming Administration to be pretty much corrupt as Clinton and inept as Carter.
Outpourings of hope will not bring change.
These folks are going to screw the taxpayer into everlasting Bondage.
Obama needs a do-over on his Cabinet. Failure to correct his Politically minded selections will doom his Administration from the beginning.
Everyone makes mistakes. Losers make excuses, winners make corrections.

Posted by: btenney | Jan 14, 2009 8:04:42 AM

I eagerly await Bryan Camp's detailed analysis of the legality of Geithner's actions.

Posted by: | Jan 14, 2009 9:33:19 AM

i wonder if academics will give an Obama appointee's tax returns as much critical and harsh scrutiny as Sarah Palin's. something tells me that they won't.

Posted by: anon | Jan 14, 2009 12:46:20 PM

Elfriede is correct: Geithner presents bigger problems. But the tax problem is signal of a larger problem. Geithner received a specific tax gross-up payment, and signed a statement declaring that he would be responsible for all associated taxes. Then he did nothing. He seems fundamentally dishonest.

I realize that matters of character and integrity didn't keep Clinton out of the White House and keep Obama out either. But senators should get a backbone and scrutinize this guy.

Posted by: SAM | Jan 15, 2009 10:28:53 AM

Geithner's tax mistakes cannot be declared as "honest".If he is officially the Secretary of the U S Treasury will we then forgive him for "honest" multi billion dollar mistakes.

Posted by: william beaubien | Jan 17, 2009 10:36:32 PM

I was glad to hear that he prepared his own taxes. One less crooked - or inept - tax "professional" in the world.

Posted by: Kimo | Jan 20, 2009 11:14:21 AM

Did he have to pay any interest or a penalty?

Posted by: Randy | Jan 21, 2009 4:15:17 PM

Are the members of the Senate so afraid to against President Obama that they are willing to either an idiot or a crook?

Posted by: really | Jan 21, 2009 6:45:06 PM

Obama promised no corrupt politicians would be allowed into his administration, The law applies equally to all!, Change you can believe in.
For Gods sake we elected Obama because he gave his word to the American People who elected him that his term (not terms) in office would be a cut above the business as usual politics that got us into this mess in the first place. It is certainly looking like business as usual to me. Now he wants lobbyists on defense contracts to be appointed into Department of Defense. Another promise broken to the American People and he isn't even a week into his term yet.
Looks more and more like the American People have been suckered by another smooth talking politican who was supported by a bias liberal news media. We couldn't even get the truth from them. I don't care if they are republican or democrat are we ever going to get a fair break. We need to get them to start signing pre-inagural contracts so we can force them to be honest with the American public or boot them out on the spot.

Posted by: Eddie Dost | Jan 24, 2009 11:41:58 PM