Treasury Secretary Timothy Franz Geithner has just one business day left to avoid breaking the nation’s tax laws for the eighth time since taking office. (And that’s just counting the times for which there’s publicly-available evidence.) The law which our lovable fiscal bandit-in-chief just can’t stop himself from defying is the good old “name and shame” law, § 6039G(d), which states:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the name of each individual losing United States citizenship (within the meaning of section 877 (a) or 877A) with respect to whom the Secretary receives information under the preceding sentence during such quarter.
This law is part of Subtitle F, Chapter 61, Subchapter A, Part III, Subpart A of the Internal Revenue Code. Friends of the Isaac Brock Society have no doubt come into close contact with the other sections of Subpart A — § 6038 (which authorises Forms 5471 and 8865), § 6038B (which authorises Form 926), and the newest and bestest § 6038D inserted by FATCA (which authorises Form 8938) — which all impose severe penalties on us brigandish ex-patriot expatriate scofflaws who dare ignore our duty to file.
The calendar quarter closed on 31 March. My fellow Isaac Brock Society author Bubblebustin is getting impatient for those numbers. But today’s scintillating edition of the Federal Register has no news at all from Mr. Secretary of the Treasury. Since the Federal Register doesn’t come out on weekends, Geithner has only one issue left in which to comply with his obligations. Not counting this time, Geithner already violated 6039G(d) seven times in the past thirteen quarters. That’s a non-compliance rate of 54%!
- The Q3 2009 list was not published until 19 November 2009, 20 days after the 30 October deadline
- The Q4 2009 list was not published until 26 February 2010, 27 days after the 30 January deadline
- The Q1 2010 list was not published until 24 May 2010, 24 days after the 30 April deadline
- The Q3 2010 list was not published until 10 November 2010, 11 days after the 30 October deadline
- The Q4 2010 list was not published until 11 February 2011, 12 days after the 30 January deadline
- The Q1 2011 list was not published until 10 May 2011, 10 days after the 30 April deadline
- The Q4 2011 list was not published until 2 February 2012, 3 days after the 30 January deadline.
Will this time be number eight, bringing his non-compliance rate up to a shocking 57%? To be fair, of course, in almost all of these cases, the lists were “submitted for publication” before the deadline. But the law doesn’t say “shall submit for publication and let it be published late”; it says, in black letters, “shall publish”. The IRS ignores foreign postmarks when it determines whether us U.S. persons abroad have filed in a timely manner. And of course we know that in United States of America, the fairest country in the world, there would never be a double standard which imposes harsh penalties on paperwork footfaults by some taxpayers, while letting unelected bureaucrats lackadaisically slide their way through their obligations, right?
Oh right. In 2009, following revelations that he had failed to pay $34,000 in payroll taxes, Geithner said to the Senate Finance Committee:
These were careless mistakes but they were unintentional. I want to apologize to the committee for putting you in the position of having to spend so much time on these issues when there is so much pressing business before the country.
Clearly a very sincere apology.
And since we’re running wild with this daydream of holding Geithner to the same standards as the rest of us — even though he eventually rectified his missing 6039G(d) paperwork in all past cases, he only did so by making a “quiet disclosure” after the deadline. He did not enter the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program to give a full accounting of his failures to file on time. This willful repeat offender, who sits inside the United States’ borders enjoying government benefits funded by honest taxpayers, clearly has not learned his lesson. Why don’t we fine him 350% of the value of his assets — 50% per failure — until he gets the message that he cannot flout our democratically-enacted deadlines? Make sure that rental property of his in Larchmont gets included in the penalty base. (And let’s not even ask the question of whether his reporting was complete — how about some extra “accuracy-related penalties on under-reporting”?)