However I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. The IRS certainly deserves kudos for how it has responded to problems and challenges thrust upon it by the cafones in Congress over the past few years.
In 2006 Congress waited until after the IRS had to go to press with the final 2006 tax returns and instructions before it passed an “extender” bill. The Service had to create and publicize special rules for how and where to report such popular tax adjustments and deductions as educator expenses, tuition and fees, and the option do deduct state and local sales tax instead of state and local income tax, and deal with the multitude of resulting errors and omissions.
In 2007 Congress sat on its collective hands again, this time until the day after Christmas, before passing the annual AMT “patch”, which held up the processing of many 2007 individual income tax returns.
And then in 2008 Congress, having seen what a mucking fess mailing out rebate checks resulted in the first time they tried it, decided in their infinite wisdom that it would be a good idea to do it again!
In all three situations the Internal Revenue Service took on the unnecessary (if Congress had any brains) additional workload and truly shined. And they did so with minimal affect on the normal IRS functions – except in the case of the recent economic “stimulus” rebate check program when they were forced to take personnel away from the collection function to deal with the mess, ultimately costing the US Treasury hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected back taxes.
Congress is back from its summer recess, a brief return before another recess so they can go out and campaign. Let us hope they do not repeat prior year FUs and pass an extender bill and an AMT patch before returning home. The IRS will already have its hands full next tax season with the no doubt millions of errors on 2008 tax returns it will have to deal with because of the “stimulus” rebate credit.