Christopher Bergin asks Has the IRS Truly Moved to the Dark Side?
Anyone who reads my posts knows that I have always given the IRS the benefit of the doubt in its dealing with exemption applications from conservative political organizations (which is what they are in every way but technically). I have not accused the IRS of influencing the political process. I’ve argued that it simply screwed up, albeit in a bad way, noting that stupidity is not a crime.
But now “criminal activity” has been raised. And not in a casual way, but in an official way.
The IRS’s response to this latest accusation came in a lame statement issued February 27 that essentially says it’s the inspector general’s “responsibility” to look into all this. For those of us old enough to remember the TV show Hogan’s Heroes, that is the equivalent of Sergeant Shultz saying, “I know nothing.”
Except it’s not funny.
If you’ve lost Christopher Bergin, you’ve lost Middle Arlington. You’ve also lost the “no scandal here” argument.
Conventional unwisdom. The Des Moines Register’s Joel Aschbrenner is doing some excellent work on the new convention center hotel that Polk County and the City of Des Moines are helping to fund.
Researchers: Convention hotels rarely fulfill promises: “‘In a great many cases his forecasts have proven to be off, in some cases wildly off,’ Sanders said.”
The city has offered a $5 million loan guarantee that will come into play three to five years after opening when the hotel refinances its mortgages, Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson said. Hotels often refinance after they build a customer base and stabilize their business, he said.
If the hotel is under-performing due to lower-than-expected occupancy levels or room rates, or if interest rates have spiked up, refinancing would be more expensive and the city would have to cover the difference.
East Village hotel plan loses one floor: “The developer of a hotel and apartment project that will cover an entire East Village block says the hotel is being scaled back in part because of competition from downtown’s proposed convention hotel.”
The City of Des Moines has been pleading poverty. It runs revenue cameras to pick the pockets of random travelers committing the crime of not quite stopping before turning right on red at an empty intersection. It has collected illegal taxes and fought against refunds all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet it thinks it has the resources to help finance a hotel. That has to be terrific news to all of the other hotels downtown.
Peter Reilly, 1099-C From Out Of The Blue? Don’t Ignore It! Fight It! Peter reminds us that just because somebody issues a 1o99-C saying there was debt forgiveness income doesn’t make it so.
Jack Townsend, Certifying Non-Willflness for Streamlined – The Risk. More on the puzzle palace of IRS offshore account enforcement.
Patrick Thomas, Inability to Correctly Calculate CSED – Confusion Leads to Unlawful Results (Procedurally Taxing).
It is a basic concept of law that once a statute of limitation has passed, no action barred by the statute may take place. Yet, as noted in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2014 Annual Report, the IRS often engages in forced collection action after the Collection Statute Expiration Date (CSED) has passed.
I’ll just note that the IRS is pretty good about not issuing refunds when the statute has passed.
David Henderson, Rubio-Lee Isn’t Great:
Co-blogger Scott Sumner, over at his TheMoneyIllusion blog, has a post titled “Rubio-Lee is great, so why not make it even greater?”
I don’t agree that Rubio-Lee is great. It has many good features and Scott has listed pretty much all of them, so I won’t repeat them here. It has a feature, that I’ll mention shortly, that is a major negative.
Unfortunately, Scott didn’t mention the worst aspect of Rubio-Lee: the huge tax credits.
Tony Nitti, Reviewing The Rubio-Lee Proposal For Tax Reform
Hank Stern, Another day, Another CoOp Snafu (Insureblog):
Thanks to a heads’ up from FoIB Josh Archambault, we have this little gem:“The Minuteman Health Inc. Co-op in Massachusetts got more than $156 million and covered only 1,822 people – over $86,000 per enrollee.”But wait, that’s not all!
“HealthyCT Inc. Co-op in Connecticut got more than $128 million and covered only 6,094 people – more than $21,000 per enrollee.”
If that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, I have no idea what will.
Accounting Today, Cover Charge: How the ACA Is Affecting Fees. Spoiler: it’s not lowering them.
Adrienne Gonzalez, To Whom It May Going Concern: My CPA Is Locked Up and They Won’t Let Her Out. (Going Concern). Sometimes imprisonment is a sign to reconsider your choice of preparer.
Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson is running for president. The Washington Post reports that he is running as a Republican on a platform of “bold tax reform.
After leaving the IRS, he took a job as CEO of The American Red Cross. That went badly: “The president and CEO of The American Red Cross (ARC) is out after less than six months – involved in an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate.”
It seems like a long shot. Perhaps he looked at the scandals surrounding the presumptive Democratic nominee and her husband and concluded that was the path to an unopposed nomination.