“This system is really beyond the pale of making any sense,” Koskinen said on a conference call with reporters, held in front of a gathering of tax preparation groups to help people choose good tax preparers and avoid scams and fraudsters.
He said fewer people will get answers to tax questions via telephone because of the budget cutbacks. The agency’s $11 billion budget is down $1.2 billion from 2010, including a $346 million cut this year. For the first time, taxpayers will be required to report whether they have health insurance, and some will have to calculate new refunds or payments based on their insurance.
Koskinen has a law degree from Yale University, studied in Cambridge, England, was CEO of a management consulting business and has headed the IRS for the past year.
“I wouldn’t think about trying to fill out my tax return, and I don’t have a very complicated tax situation,” he said.
Although changing the tax code is up to Congress, he said, his office is ready with information and technical assistance for lawmakers who want to simplify the system.
From back in 2010 came this in “The Hill” on January 11, 2010: IRS commissioner doesn’t file his own taxes:
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman does not file his own taxes in part because he believes the tax code is complex.
During an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program that aired on Sunday, Shulman said he uses a tax preparer for his own returns.
“I’ve used one for years. I find it convenient. I find the tax code complex so I use a preparer,” Shulman said.
Pressed on how he would make the tax code simpler, Shulman responded, “I don’t write the tax laws. Congress writes the tax laws so that’s a whole different discussion.”
Later in the C-SPAN interview, Shulman downplayed his use of a tax preparer, saying he has used one for 10 years. He noted that he and President Barack Obama are proponents of simplifying the tax code.
Here’s some advice for whoever is responsible for the continuing absurdities: “Tax Foundation” on December 17, 2014: The IRS’s Long Reach Doesn’t Just Apply to Corporations — The IRS’s global reach also extends to personal income as well.
The trend of inversions and renounced citizenships is alarming. It speaks to a simple principle of economics, is membership worth the price? Americans abroad and corporate executives are resoundingly saying no and opting out.
For the most part, the drop in demand for American membership has been missed by the U.S. Congress, but in the recent report on tax reform from the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, they suggest moving away from a worldwide income tax system to a residence based system, matching other OECD countries. This has given many expatriates cause for hope.
Tax burdens should be tied to the public services a tax payer uses. Paying one’s “fair share” only makes sense if one is using a fair share. American citizens abroad don’t use American public services and thus should not be responsible for the provision of those services.
Maybe it is time we admit that the IRS is truly over-reaching.
Is Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, as well being heard? When will her next Report to Congress be released? Her last one, National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to Congress; Focuses on Taxpayer Bill of Rights and IRS Funding was on January 9, 2014.