Monday, December 24, 2018
New York Daily News op-ed: The $387 Billion Solution: How to Stop the Federal Government From Leaving Insane Amounts of Tax Money, Most of It From Wealthier Americans, on the Table, by Gerald Scorse:
Charges of rigging fill the air in today’s America. Elections, the economy, college admissions, the list seems endless. Whatever the truth in other cases, our tax collection system is undeniably rigged. It’s been so from the beginning, rigged against the vast majority of workers.
In 1943, under pressure to pay for World War II, Congress passed a law requiring employers to withhold taxes and report the incomes of their employees. The same law allows self-reporting by huge numbers of largely high-income taxpayers: landlords, self-employed professionals, small businesses, et al.
Tax compliance figures for the two groups differ starkly. The latest estimate from the Internal Revenue Service shows 99% compliance by wage and salary earners. Self-reporters, by contrast, are evading scores of billions in taxes year after year. ...
Let’s finish with a billion-dollar idea. The Treasury could attack that $387 billion-a-year revenue loss by inviting all techies to compete for a $1 billion prize. The goal: develop easy-to-use, non-invasive software that eliminates the self-reporting shortfall.
The nation could wind up with the bargain of the century. The loss from under-reporting of income amounts to $1.06 billion a day. Prize-winning software could recover that amount by the first coffee break of Day Two.
And in the process, end 75 years of tax unfairness.