About time. IRS Cracking Down on ID Theft, Tax Fraud (AP):
In 2012, the IRS says its investigations and in-house filtering systems prevented $20 billion in would-be fraudulent refunds, up from $14 billion the year before. But [Acting IRS Commissioner] Miller acknowledged that thieves still get away with stealing numerous tax refunds, although the IRS could not provide exact loss figures.
“In terms of how much got past us, we’re quite sure some did,” Miller told reporters in a conference call. “I know it doesn’t approach the number that we stopped.”
How much might that be? Maybe $5 billion a year, maybe more. That’s means about 20% of the fraud gets through. If your “in-house filter” let 1/5 of the grounds of your coffee into the pot, you’d change filters.
This is the first highly-publicized nationwide IRS crackdown on identity theft, years after the problem began to spiral out of control. It’s surely coincidence, but it almost is as if the IRS, now that it has been barred from it’s preparer regulation power grab, has decided that maybe it really should do something about ID theft after all.
Other Coverage: TaxGrrrl, IRS Makes Arrests, Targets Businesses In Massive Identity Theft Crackdown
Governor “likely” to sign Iowa coupling bill. GlobeGazette.com reports:
DES MOINES – The first bill the Iowa Legislature will send to the governor this year will align the Iowa and federal tax codes, a move that will reduce the amount of taxes Iowans pay to the state.
Although Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will thoroughly review the legislation, his spokesman said the governor supports the intent of Senate File 106 “and will likely support it.”
That’s good news. The sooner he signs it, the sooner the state can begin processing 2012 returns with Section 179 deductions, educator expenses, and a number of other provisions affected by the Fiscal Cliff legislation.
Christopher Bergin, More Than an Obstacle to Tax Reform (Tax.com):
Up until now, I’ve given the President the benefit of the doubt about reforming our broken tax system. I just didn’t think tax reform was a big issue for his administraiton. But now I’m beginning to think he doesn’t care about tax policy at all.
What was the tip-off?
No matter the fiscal crisis, the President never misses an opportunity to propose tax increases on “the fat cats.” To the President, the fat cats are the people and the businesses he thinks can pay a “little more” to support their government. I’m not sure I buy his definition of fat cat. But I certainly don’t buy his definition of tax reform. Tax reform is about building a tax system that is fairer, simpler, and more economically efficient. If in the process it raises revenue, I’m fine with that, but I don’t think the primary goal of tax reform is to wring more money from the well-to-do simply because they are doing better than you are.
It’s been blindingly obvious from the beginning that the President has no interest in tax policy. Look at his record:
– Increases in top marginal rates, which creates incentives for more loophole-carving.
– A baffling new tax on “net investment income” just to pretend that “the rich” will be paying for Obamacare.
– New “targeted” tax credits, which are pretty much the opposite of tax reform.
And his big current proposals are to limit deductions for corporate jets and screwing around with how private equity is taxed — symbolic and political gestures that would make the tax law even more complex. Any belief that the Obama administration cares a fig about tax reform requires more unfounded faith than a fourth marriage.
Tax Trials, Conservation Easement Deduction Denied as Quid Pro Quo for Subdivision Approval. Interesting case for developers.
Paul Neiffer, Capital Gains Tax On Inherited Property
Roberton Williams, Finally, a Permanent Estate Tax, Though Just for the Wealthy Few
I’ll bet he does. Stop the Indictment; My Client Wants Off (Jack Townsend).
Patrick Temple-West, Pharmaceutical makers lower their taxes, and more (Tax Break)
Jim Maule ponders the imponderable: When Is a Tax Increase Not a Tax Increase?
Kay Bell, ‘Devil’s’ tax form prompts man to quit job. Maybe there should be a Super Bowl ad, “Satan Made a Tax Accountant.”
I don’t condone this behavior, but I understand: Police say people smoking pot, doing taxes at Clay H&R Block (Charleston Daily Mail).
Central Iowa Culture Watch. The State Fairgrounds in Des Moines hosts the cultural event of the season this weekend: the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Tickets routinely sell out in minutes, so if you have to ask, you can’t go. What will you miss? KCCI.com reports:
Start with the dress. It is made of real bacon, created by an East Des Moines dressmaker – and it is actually worn by the Bacon Queen…
“It wildly surpassed anything I thought was achievable. I mean, look at it, it sparkles,” said Porter.