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04/12/2005 Archived Entry: ""
A surging multitude of small tax grabs are being conducted by local and state governments but it must never be forgotten: the feds are out to get you too and they are baring sharp teeth. The feds want to scrape away even more of the money you've slotted for retirement and your children's education, money for which you are already working overtime. Money that is steadily losing its value because of current economic policies; indeed, since Bush took office the US $ has fallen almost 40% in value against other currencies. Why are are the feds -- specificially the IRS -- "cracking down" as an MSNBC article warns?
Because they have to finance an immoral and counter-productive war; they need to pay hefty pensions to ex-politicians; they must finance nationwide Homeland Security measures that have not been proven to secure anything. As the article states, "There’s a new, bolder Internal Revenue Service. As Americans submit their 1040s this year, the IRS is planning more audits and more criminal prosecutions of anyone trying to hide money from Uncle Sam." The agency seems to be assuming the thuglike stance that led to its being censured by Congress in the late '90s. Richard Yancy, a former collection agent, may represent the new (or restored old) face of the IRS. He states, "I learned very quickly that the best way to accomplish your job was...finding what someone really loves, or is attached to, and taking it." (How fortunate for the IRS that Homeland Security, which it financially enables, contains the privacy-invasion measures that, in turn, allow it to track every single $ transaction. You'd almost think it had been planned that way.)
It is not merely that the same old taxes will receive greater and more ruthless scrutiny. There are new tax requirements aimed at snatching more of what you earn. As the site BankRate explains, "If you claimed several exemptions and took lots of deductions on your tax return, you could be hit with a bigger tax bill than you expected. A growing number of taxpayers who legitimately maximize tax breaks are finding they owe the alternative minimum tax. Commonly referred to as the AMT, this tax has its own set of rates (26 percent and 28 percent) and requires a separate computation that could substantially boost your tax bill. Basically, it's the difference between your regular tax bill and your AMT bill; this amount then is owed in addition to -- not in place of -- your regular tax bill." But don't bother calling the IRS to ask for more details. They are cutting back on customer service, closing up to 105 of its 367 walk-in centers and reducing the hours during which phones are answered. Ordinarily, this news would have a sparkling-silver lining: about 500 IRS employees are being laid off. BUT, as Mike Pechar of eTalkingHeads blog explains, "The Internal Revenue Service has announced plans to hire contract firms to collect taxes, paying them a bounty of up to 25% of the money they recover. Deputy IRS Commissioner Rich Morgante said the project is scheduled to start by the end of 2005. So, the revenuers are not going to be government agents anymore. They'll be hired gunslingers out to collect a bounty on confiscated funds. I don't see how they would be any different than any other of America's bounty hunters who have been known to break down the wrong door."