* Speaking of Congress, Kelly Phillips Erb, the internet’s TAX GIRL, tells us that “Senators Talk Tax Hikes on the Hill”.
She starts out with the realization – “Wait? You mean we just can’t keep cutting taxes and increasing spending?”
Why do the idiots in Congress never suggest cutting spending – and when they do it is not cutting pork and waste but cutting needed programs?
Kelly goes on to tell it like it is –
“You get how this works, right? Bush enacts tax cuts that the Republicans choose not to make permanent and then the Republicans pound on the Democrats for not “cutting” taxes. The Democrats, facing a tough election year, decide not to make cuts at the top but consider cuts at the middle which they will also not make permanent but can use them to run election ads proving that they “cut” taxes. Brilliant, huh?”
The primary job and motivation (and sometimes it appears the only one) of every Congressperson is not the proper administration of the government – but to get re-elected.
* Do we need any more proof that refundable credits = an open call for tax fraud? David Randall tells us in the Forbes.com MONEY BUILDER blog that “Inmates, IRS Employees Among Those Found to Abuse Homebuyer Tax Credit”.
It should come as no surprise that, as David points out in the post – “the government ended up paying more than $25 million in fraudulent claims, according to an audit released this morning by the Treasury Inspector General”.
The post goes on to tell us –
“Some 1,300 prison inmates – including 250 serving life sentences – received $9 million for homes that they could not have purchased while they were behind bars, the report found. Another 10,000 people received credit for homes that were also claimed as a first-time purchase by another taxpayer. In one case, 67 people used the same house as their qualifying purchase.”
“Homebuyer fraud was rife within the IRS as well, the report found. At least 34 IRS employees claimed the first time homebuyer credit, despite evidence that they already owned real estate.”
Do I need to repeat the chorus of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”?
* Trish McIntire discusses this rampant fraud further at OUR TAXING TIMES and tells us that we “Can't Blame Congress for This”.
A “right on” to her bottom line –
“The question is: has the IRS learn not to make the same kind of mistakes going forward? Let's face it, Congress will continue to write badly thought out tax laws. Has the IRS put into place a team that can think about how taxpayers will try to cheat and create checks and balances to catch them. They need to start thinking like a crook now. (Hey, what about the 87 IRS employees who were caught cheating on the FTHC?) Paybacks on the original First Time Homebuyer's Credit begin next year. How is the IRS planning to quickly catch missing repayments? Is there going to be a way for a preparer to check if a new clients has to repay? Or, will we have to wait until the notice months/years later?”
* Sergeant Friday meets Tim Geithner, courtesy of TAX PRO Paul Caron. You tell him, Joe!
* #3 in Kay Bell’s series of Mid-Year Tax Moves comes from fellow tax bloger MISSOURI TAX GUY Bruce – “Midyear Tax Tip #3: Adjust Withholding”.
Actually the tip I sent Kay is sort of a companion to Bruce’s.
Wait – my tip is #4 – “Midyear tax tip #4: Evaluate Your Estimated Tax Situation”.
* Joe Arsenault sets us straight on the argument “But Honey, Golf is Deductible…” in a good comprehensive post at CAFETAX.
The post does include some good news (the highlight is Joe’s)–
“As stated in the same IRS publication “The 50% limit on entertainment does not apply to any expense for a package deal that includes a ticket to a charitable sports event. That is kind of cool! Your local children’s hospital hosts a golf tournament and your small business purchases the tickets. You may be able to deduct the entire cost of the tickets as a business expense. Just make sure the contributions are to a 501[c](3) for the full deduction. A good charity will let you know how much is deductible either way because there are additional criteria they must meet.”
* Joe Kristan comments on my letter to IRS Commissioner Shulman in his post “Because They're Bigger Than You” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.
Joe tells me (highlight is mine) – “Remember, Robert, it's for their convenience, not yours or your clients, and they are bigger. That's all they care about.” Unfortunately he is right.
* EXUBERANT ACCOUNTANT Scott Heintzelman asks the question “Dividend Tax – Is it Going Up?”. The exuberant one makes some good points about dividends in this post.
* Finally, Kay Bell joins other tax bloggers in announcing that the “Extenders Package Fails in Senate Again”.
“Thursday evening, after the Senate came up three votes short of the 60 needed to advance H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, Reid reiterated that lawmakers will give the measure a rest and move on to small business legislation.”
As I said in a recent post – Congress can’t seem to do anything simply. They can’t simply decide that certain expired tax breaks deserve to be extended and pass a bill to that effect. And, judging from their actions, Congress can’t seem to get much right either.