IRS may go after underwater homeowners

Homeowners who were underwater on their homes but who took advantage of mortgage relief programs face the prospect of the IRS calculating the amount by which a portion of their loan was forgiven as income. [Read more...]

IRS was going after the children to collect parents’ debts–but stopped!

A sentence was stuck into the Farm Bill removing the 10 year statute of limitations on debts owed to the United States government.  So now the IRS is withholding tax refunds from the children of deceased parents who owed Uncle Sam money.

UPDATE:  The IRS has announced that it is stopping the practice.

[Read more...]

IRS recognizes same-sex marriages

When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, social conservatives consoled themselves by saying that the action did not mandate gay marriage across the board.  That remains a decision for each state.  But it does mean that the Federal Government now recognizes gay marriage.  That was made clear when the IRS and the Treasury Department announced that same-sex marriages, no matter what state they were performed in, will qualify for all marriage deductions and other tax benefits that husbands and wives receive. [Read more...]

IRS targeted conservatives

The IRS targeted conservative organizations–and admits it!  And is now apologizing for it!  Investigations are underway.  This is an egregious case of the abuse of governmental power and may turn into a major scandal.  From the Associated Press:

The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. [Read more...]

How the health care law will be enforced

A major argument against the government taking over Americans’ health care is competence, the fear that the government is just not competent enough to supervise such an important part of life.  Here is an example:

The IRS processed more than 230 million tax returns last year, paid 127 million refunds and received about 68 million phone calls. The agency is responsible for enforcing a tax code that, at 71,000 pages, makes Anna Karenina look like a comic book.

Starting in 2014, the agency will have another task: making sure all Americans have health insurance. Under the law, Americans who can afford health insurance but refuse to buy it will face a fine of up to $695 or 2.5% of their income, whichever is higher. More than 4 million Americans could be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 by 2016 if they fail to obtain health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office said last week.

The IRS will be the enforcer — sort of.

While the IRS can impose liens or levies, seize property or seek jail time against people who don't pay taxes, it’s barred from taking such actions against taxpayers who ignore the insurance mandate. In the arsenal instead: the ability to withhold refunds from taxpayers who decline to pay the penalty, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said this month.

Still, compliance with the health reform law will be largely voluntary, says Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. “By taking criminal sanctions and liens and levies off the table, the IRS’s hands are tied, to a considerable extent.”

The IRS is “being put in a position where it will be sending notices that will annoy people” and not much else, says James Maule, professor of law at Villanova University and author of the tax blog MauledAgain. “It’s basically designed for failure.”

via IRS lacks clout to enforce mandatory health insurance – USATODAY.com.

So according to the jury-rigged, Rube Goldberg provisions of the law, an agency that has a completely different purpose is asked to enforce the law, and then the mechanisms necessary to enforce it are taken away. How can this possibly work?


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