Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WaPo: Daschle Not a "Victim" of the Tax Code

Today's Washington Post:  Victims of the Tax Code? Not So Fast; Nominee Trouble Preventable, Experts Say, by Michael S. Rosenwald:

The tax system is complicated. It is, according to many lawyers and tax preparers, in need of sweeping reform. But the tax code can hardly be blamed for the recent problems of Obama administration appointees who came up short in what they owed the government, several tax experts said yesterday.

"I can't believe they didn't know what was going on," said Deborah Schenk, a New York University law professor and editor of the influential journal Tax Law Review. "The tax code is a mess, but I don't think that's an excuse for what they did." ...

"These are not rocket-science kinds of tax issues," said University of Cincinnati law professor Paul Caron, who also writes the popular TaxProf Blog. "I take them at their word, but on the other hand, these were not cases of something really esoteric."

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I take them at their word

Posted by: bgates | Feb 4, 2009 3:10:30 PM

Professor, I don't know why yourself and the MSM are so willing to "take them at their word".

I know a U.S. citizen who worked as a library clerk at the World Bank in Washington DC in the late 1980s. She said that the World Bank and tax documents provided made it crystal clear that reimbursement was paid for self-employment taxes the the employee owed the federal government.

Now if the IRS "experts" are correct in claiming that 1/2 of Americans file incorrectly, I'd argue heart and soul that it's not because of "confusion" but because 1/2 of Americans suspected that they could get away with cheating on their self-employment taxes. Just as Geithner got away with tax years 2001 and 2002, prior to his nomination as Treasury Secretary.

Posted by: Anarchus | Feb 4, 2009 3:17:58 PM

To paraphrase:

How do you know when a politician is lying?

When he's filling out his 1040,

Posted by: Stephen Macklin | Feb 4, 2009 3:24:06 PM

Of course it's not rocket science...for a tax lawyer. On the other hand, even a lowly gardener would think something might need reporting if somebody loaned me a new 4x4 dually AND a driver! They are totally oblivious to the rules which they pass with which OTHER people must live. The republicants should propose a law that ALL congressional employees get audited every two years. After all this Obama sifting we've seen lately it looks like it would be very cost effective and rewarding to the treasury.

Posted by: SenatorMark4 | Feb 5, 2009 3:54:15 AM