Des Moines to lose freeway revenue cameras. The Iowa Department of Revenue moved to reduce the tax on strangers driving through Des Moines yesterday by ordering the city to shut down its speed cameras in I-235. From The Des Moines Register:
Ten of 34 automated traffic enforcement cameras on or adjacent to Iowa highways must be shut down by April 17 because they are not making roads safer, the state’s Department of Transportation ruled Tuesday.
Among the 10 that would be powered down are speed enforcement cameras on eastbound Interstate Highway 235 near Waveland Golf Course in Des Moines.
Department of Transportation traffic and safety director Steve Gent explained:
Gent said that that section of I-235 is safe, with a crash rate that is significantly lower than the state average for urban interstates. In addition, the crash rate there has not changed significantly since the cameras’ installation, he said.
People who live here know where the cameras are. It’s people who are new to town, who have been driving 75 all the way from Omaha, and who hit town when traffic is light, who are likely to get the tickets. Of course, the municipal highwaymen are not pleased:
“We give out 43,000 tickets a year there to people who that are going 11 miles an hour or more over the speed limit,” Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said. “It’s amazing to me that the DOT doesn’t think that that is a safety issue.”
Hmmm. The cameras aren’t reducing speeding; the number of tickets issued is holding steady. They aren’t reducing the accident rate. But safety is at risk! The the safety of the municipal revenue stream. “Last year, 43,032 citations were issued, which generated about $1.2 million for the city, officials said.”
The TaxProf reports GAO: Improper Government Payments Increased 18% in 2014, to $125 Billion; EITC’s 27% Error Rate Is Highest of Any Program. That’s $17.7 billion either misdirected or stolen annually under “our most effective anti-poverty program.” It certainly helps reduce the poverty of the scammers and grifters that rob the program, and the shady preparers who make it easier.
And probably not YOUR situation. Clothing tax deductions are OK, but just in certain situations (Kay Bell)
Peter Reilly, Dude Ranch Shareholders Stuck With Corporate Tax – It’s All About Execution. A “Midcoast” transaction falls afoul of “transferee liability.”
Robert Wood, There’s Still Time To Turn Your Hobby Into A Tax Write-off. “Will the IRS pay for your hobby? The short answer is no, at least if you ask the question this way. But sometimes, the IRS will foot the bill provided you make your pastime enough of a real business to qualify.”
Tony Nitti, Take The Tax Bracket Challenge: Which Is The Best Code Section Of Them All?. My favorite is Sec. 6313, without which the whole edifice must fall. It reads in full:
In the payment of any tax imposed by this title, a fractional part of a cent shall be disregarded unless it amounts to one-half cent or more, in which case it shall be increased to 1 cent.
If only the whole tax law were that clear and easy to understand.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 678. The IRS role in criminalizing political opposition is discussed.
Clint Stretch, How to Make Tax Return Filing Easier (Tax Analysts Blog)
Scott Hodge, A Response to Josh Barro on Dynamic Scoring (Tax Policy Blog).
Howard Gleckman, The House GOP Budget As Can Opener: An Impossible Task and A New Lesson in Dynamic Budget Scoring (TaxVox)
Caleb Newquist, Triple Entry Accounting: Harebrained or Genius? (Going Concern). “I’ve never been to SXSW, but I imagine that all the smart people talking about smart ideas and getting all smart with each other is nauseating.”
Yes, because it worked so well the last time. Japan should follow wartime slogan to deal with tax evasion, LDP lawmaker says:
Junko Mihara, a House of Councilors member from the ruling party, referred to the slogan hakko ichiu at a meeting of the Upper House Budget Committee on Monday, saying it represented “values Japan has cherished since its founding.”
The term roughly translates as “all the world under one roof.”
During the Sino-Japanese war and World War II, the Japanese government used the slogan to justify its Emperor-centered policies and overseas expansion.
If that doesn’t work, they can always rebrand it as The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. I’m sure neighboring countries would be on board.