So You’re Behind on Your Taxes?

Fact is, you’re not alone.

            Considering that about 4 percent of the blokes who work for all of those Congresspersons we all support are also behind, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

            Seems Capitol Hill “staffers” owe about $9.3 million in back taxes, actually.  And White House “staffers” are the worst offenders, with each delinquent scofflaw owing over $20,000 on average, while their Senate and House counterparts “only” owe about $13,000 and about $15,500, respectively, on average.

            So let’s hear it for Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz who, upon learning of the fact that Federal employees all around owe nearly $1 billion to the IRS, proposed legislation that would mandate that all delinquent Federal employees either pay all that they owe on a pre-arranged schedule, or be canned.

            Republicans like the idea and several have even co-sponsored the bill.  No takers among Dems.  What a surprise.

            Which brings us to a little gem we recently ran across – another Democrat

headed-to-nowhere idea for reducing the national debt.  You’ve got to hand it to Representative Chaka Fattah (D – PA) for at least recognizing the problem.  Though his planned fix leaves us cold.  Specifically his “Debt Free America Act” (HR 4646) introduced earlier this year, which would impose a 1 percent “transaction tax” on just about every financial transaction.  Every payment you make by check, credit card – even each one of your ATM withdrawals.

            Ah but not to worry – to mitigate the impact of such an impost on the poor, Fattah’s bill would call for a 1 percent tax credit for couples earning $250,000 or less (Obama’s favorite number) and allow for Treasury Department discretion to exempt certain transactions on which lower income folk disproportionately rely.

            The purpose being, you see, to eliminate that nasty old Federal debt which you keep hearing so much about.  Indeed, according to The Hill, using 2008 numbers, Fattah’s plan would stand a good chance of eliminating the national debt within the next ten years!  And even better yet, Congress would salt the dough away in a separate “trust fund” (Heard that one before?), controlled by trustees as opposed to the Treasury Department.  And these trustees would be duty bound to only spend the shekels under their control to pay down the debt, not allowing Congress to raid the piggy bank for other, general, government expenditures.

            We can hardly wait for the December 1 release by the Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to see what they may have to say about this one.

            Not to mention, of course, how the Commission may view the recently floated trial balloon of eliminating the deduction for your mortgage interest!

            The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Commission deal making will be taking place right about now, once the election outcome is known, to include, possibly, even tinkering with the most sacred of all cows:  Social Security!

            To balance the annual budget by 2015, excluding interest payments on debt, Revenooers would have to come up with about $240 billion in annual government savings and/or taxes, according to Commission documents.

            We shall see…..

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

            Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He is also a contributor to the recently published 13th edition of Tax Savvy for Small Business, published by Nolo.  He can be reached at 831-7288, and welcomes comments below.

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