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Tax cheats, or just ignorance?

February 6, 2009
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A third nominee to join the Obama administration has gone down in flames after revelations about problems with income taxes.

A Senate panel last night called off confirmation hearings for U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, who was nominated to lead the Labor Department, after USA Today raised questions about tax liens filed against her husband.

Early this week, former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew from his nomination to head Health and Human Services after his lack of reporting income on a timely basis came to light.

Also pulling out was Nancy Killefer, sought by Obama to become the first chief White House performance officer, after questions were raised about her tax record.

Perhaps the highest-profile tangle, Timothy Geithner, was confirmed as Treasury secretary despite concerns about his tax forms.

The string has left a lot of ordinary people wondering whether anyone of influence pays their share.

Itâ??s not as if the IRS is shirking its duties, says Carol Howard, tax director at Indianapolis accounting firm R.J. Pile & Co. If anything, Howard says, the agency has been cracking down to the point of doing more harm than good.

One Pile client recently received notification that he could not deduct $2.4 million in contributions made to charitable organizations in 2006. There was no explanation of the rejection, leaving the matter up to the client to prove the contributions were on the level.

â??Itâ??s going to get to the point where they keep poking people like this, and well, itâ??s like, whatâ??s the use?â?? she said. â??Youâ??re guilty until proven innocent.â??

So, if Howardâ??s experience reflects new IRS aggression, what do you make of so many nominees making â??mistakesâ?? on their forms?
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