The 2014 tour of Iowa begins. I am helping Roger McEowen and Kristy Maitre teach Day 1 of the Farm and Urban Tax School this year, and this morning we are starting the first of eight sessions in Waterloo. We hit Maquoketa Thursday. Other sessions will be in Sheldon, Red Oak, Ottumwa, Mason City, Denison and Ames. It’s two great days of CPE, and it’s a bargain. Get your details and sign up for a convenient session at the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation today. Here is the crowd this morning:
Looks like fun, no?
f you are a Tax Update reader, come see me (Hi, Kevin!). You qualify for a discount! Well, not really, but I can get you a free postcard from the DNR Chickadee Checkoff booth…
It’s as if the IRS just noticed that they were grotesquely abusing their power in order to punish people who appear to have done nothing actually wrong. Did this not occur to them when the victims’ lawyers pointed it out? Did none of their thousands of employees wonder aloud whether they really needed to make war on America’s college funds?
I’m sure it was forced on them by budget cuts.
So think about what has happened to our government agencies. We passed a law, to raise taxes, or curb the usage of addicting drugs. That law didn’t work as well as we wanted, because a lot of people were evading it. So we passed new laws, to make it easier to enforce the original one, like requiring banks to report all transactions over $10,000. And then people evaded that, so we made another rule … and now people who had no criminal intent find themselves coughing up tens of thousands of dollars they shouldn’t owe.
There’s a lot of that in the tax law. FATCA and the FBAR foreign financial account reporting requirements are classic examples of laws nominally aimed at big-time tax evaders that destroy the finances of thousands of innocent foot-faulters.
As in the case of the fly, we were better off leaving the original ailment alone. No, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to catch tax evasion. I’m saying we shouldn’t try so hard that we end up criminalizing a lot of innocent behavior. There are worse things than a country with some tax fraud. And one of those things is a government with vast and arbitrary power to punish people who have done no wrong.
And a willingness to use it carelessly.
Joseph Henchman, IRS Promises to Curtail Property Seizures After Abuses Come to Light (Tax Policy Blog)
Kay Bell, IRS seizes honest taxpayers’ assets under forfeiture program. “Oh my Lord, IRS. What in the hell were you thinking?”
Paul Neiffer, IRS Disagrees With Morehouse Ruling (Of Course). It looks like they will continue to assess SE tax on non-farmers with CRP income outside the Eighth Circuit.
Robert D. Flach has fresh Tuesday Buzz!!
Tax Prof, Tax Revolving Door Enriches Former IRS Officials Who Cash in by Navigating Inversions Through Rules They Wrote. And Commissioner Koskinen approves.
Leslie Book, A Combo Notice of Deficiency Claim Disallowance Highlights Tax Court Refund Jurisdiction (Procedurally Taxing)
Jeremy Scott, Will a Graduated Income Tax Sink Martha Coakley? (Tax Analysts Blog)
Steve Warnhoff, Senators Defend LIFO, a Tax Break that Obama and Camp Want to Repeal (Tax Justice Blog)
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 537. Today’s scandal roundup features Bob Woodward saying “If I were young, I would take Carl Bernstein and move to Cincinnati where that IRS office is and set up headquarters and go talk to everyone.“