Judge Hammers Obama On Privacy Fishing Expedition


A Federal judge, last week, ordered the Revenooers to turn over the records of any requests from the White House which may have sought taxpayer private info in recent times.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson said IRS cannot simply refuse on the basis of confidentiality laws.

“This court questions whether Section 6103 (of the Internal Revenue Code) should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information,” quoth Judge Amy who denied IRS efforts to close the case.

Seems there’s this group out there, called “Cause of Action,” which sued in 2013 to gain access to whatever requests the White House or other Federal agencies have made.

Judge Amy said that IRS couldn’t use the privacy protection “to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to protect.”

“As we have said all along, this administration cannot misinterpret the law to order to potentially hide evidence of wrongdoing,” quoth Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action.  “No administration is above the law, and we are pleased that the court has sided with us on this important point.”

So far, IRS is holding its fire on the matter.

Meanwhile, here comes the California Franchise Tax Board with 10,000 to 50,000 letters to taxpayers who claimed employee business expenses in 2011 and 2012 as itemized deductions.

Seems FTB is increasing the number of audits because they “noticed a large number of taxpayers who claimed unreimbursed employee business expenses…that appear questionable.”

We guess the term “questionable” will come to be more fully explicated in the FTB inquiries – by golly, we sure hope so!

And here comes an act of mercy from the California FTB:  now they’re allowing refunds on overpaid taxes for the 2007 and 2008 tax years – well beyond the close of the statute of limitations on those long ago tax filings.

Seems some unsuspecting folks allowed themselves to be taxed by California on their Social Security benefits in those years.  California law provides that Social Security income is exempt from state taxation.  But “we didn’t know,” pled these “ignorance of the law is no excuse” taxpayers.  And the Board of Equalization agreed – the taxpayers got bad advice from an FTB employee, and notwithstanding the statute of limitations, they should get a refund!

Let’s hear it for fairness!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your particular situation.

Jeff Quinn is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, and welcomes comments at [email protected].

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