IRS Basically Plastering Your Social Security Numbers on Billboards Now, Because Why Not? (Peter Suderman, Reason.com):
The IRS continues to recklessly print Social Security Numbers (SSNs) on hundreds of millions of notices and letters, despite warnings that this practice dangerously exposes sensitive personal information, and years of pressure to reduce the use of SSNs on documentation.
In fact, the tax agency doesn’t even have procedures in place to fully track its use of SSNs, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), a tax agency watchdog.
This is a problem because of the identity theft epidemic. Every document from IRS sitting untended in your mailbox that has your Social Security number is an ID theft vulnerability. Private parties have changed their practices to protect ID numbers. One example is the adoption of secure password-protected web portals to send anything with an SSN. Another is the decline of the practice of identifying tax returns on the outside of mailing envelopes. The increased risk of attracting an ID thief outweighs the risk a taxpayer might not bother opening an unmarked envelope.
Yet TIGTA says IRS is behind the curve. From their press release:
TIGTA found that as of January 2015, the IRS estimates that it has removed SSNs from 58 (2 percent) of the 2,749 types of letters and 93 (48 percent) of the 195 types of notices it issues.
“A person’s Social Security Number is the most valuable piece of personal data identity thieves can obtain.” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “The fact that the IRS does not have processes and procedures to accurately identify all correspondence that contain Social Security Numbers remains a concern.”
Businesses have to be careful with taxpayer information because we could lose business, or be sued, or worse. The IRS doesn’t have that motivation, and it shows.
TaxProf, Who Benefits From State Corporate Tax Cuts? Firm Owners (40%), Workers (35%), Landowners (25%). The Prof links to a study of “tax incidence,” or who “really” bears the burden of the corporation tax. While politicians and activists like to talk about corporations as tax-avoiding fat cats, it’s a fact that corporations ultimately don’t pay any tax; it comes out of the pocket of an actual human somewhere. Economists will endlessly debate whether its owners, customers or workers who bear the burden. Whoever it is, it’s not a free lunch for the tax man.
Russ Fox, Tax Relief for South Carolinians. “Note that the relief is automatic; impacted taxpayers need not do anything.”
Prosecutors said the Horners owned Topcat Towing and Recovery Inc., a towing business in Georgia. Between 2005 and 2008, they skimmed $1.5 million in cash from the businesses, depositing into their personal bank account without disclosing the income on their corporate or personal tax returns filed with the IRS. They tried to conceal their cash deposits from the government by “structuring,” splitting up cash deposits that exceed $10,000.
Unwise. Banks have great incentive to report “structuring,” and they do.
Jason Dinesen, Glossary: Audit (Of Financials)
Leslie Book, Senate Again Takes Aim at Improper Payments in Federal Programs. The government wants to use the IRS inability to stop issuing fraudulent payments as an excuse to regulate preparers.
Jack Townsend, U.S. Senators on Senate Finance Committee Probe the Tax Aspects of the Volkswagen Debacle. “As often in tax-related and other potential criminal settings, the prosecutor has a panoply of provisions to choose from.”
Jared Walczak, How Much Does Your State Collect in Taxes Per Capita? (Tax Policy Blog).
Iowa is #20.
Cara Griffith, Why Is It So Hard to Fund Schools? (Tax Analysts Blog). This article actually highlights the dangers when judges meddle in the appropriation process.
Renu Zaretsky, Questions, Subsidies, Deductions, and Profits. Today’s TaxVox headline roundup has stories on whether Volkswagen’s emission test rigging got them clean air tax credits, questions on the need to subsidize wind turbines, and much more.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 882
Peter Reilly, Paul Caron’s Day By Day IRS Scandal Has Jumped The Shark – Conclusion. “I fear that the series which serves as a great resource is in danger of having its quality diluted.” I worry that the administration will succeed in running out the clock on the outrageous IRS misconduct.
Tax Justice Blog, New CTJ Report: 358 or 72% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2014, Alternate headline: 72% of Fortune 500 Companies try not to squander shareholder value.
Not tax related? Oops.