10 Updates

Welcome To The Dark Side -- Of Tax

May 5 2014, 12:48pm CDT | by

“Use the force, Luke.” We may all need the force soon. Suppose the House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS for your tax returns and released them to the public without your consent. Everyone in...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

12 weeks ago

Welcome To The Dark Side -- Of Tax

May 5 2014, 12:48pm CDT | by

“Use the force, Luke.”

We may all need the force soon.

Suppose the House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS for your tax returns and released them to the public without your consent. Everyone in the Empire would know a whole lot more about you than you would want them to know. Impossible, you say? Well, maybe, maybe not.

In early April, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp sent a letter  to Attorney General Eric Holder to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Lerner is at the center of the IRS’s abusive treatment of conservative groups that were applying for tax-exempt status as social welfare organizations. And House Republicans are obsessed with her.

Camp posted that letter online. And here’s the problem — the letter included an attachment of more than 80 pages. Within those pages were three tables listing organizations that had applied for tax exemption, the status of their applications, and problems the IRS screeners indentified in their submissions. Camp and the committee did this on a party-line vote, and they say they had the authority to disclose the information.

Some of the groups – like Crossroads GPS – are politically active and involved in the controversy about how the IRS was handling conservative organizations. But information was also disclosed regarding what appear to be innocent bystanders. I mean, I don’t think the Miss America Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund are run by Karl Rove.

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, provides for the confidentiality and disclosure of tax returns and return information. Section 6103 was enacted in 1976 as a direct response to the abuses of the Nixon administration. In complying with the tax laws, we are required to turn over a lot of information to the government. And the government is required, by law, to protect that information. So, this is a statute that I value deeply. And it’s also a statute the IRS has been very good at protecting and enforcing. You see, it remembers Nixon, too.

The House Ways and Means Committee is one of only three committees that has the direct authority — under section 6103(f) — to require the IRS to turn over specific taxpayer information. The other two are the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation. That gives these committees great power. And as Winston Churchill is credited with saying, with great power comes great responsibility.

Some think the Ways and Means Committee may have broken the law when it released the tax information it did here. If it did, the taxpayers involved can probably do nothing about it.

Tax Analysts broke a great story on this today . David van den Berg reports that this episode raises several questions: What are the rules governing the taxwriting committees’ power of disclosure? Are there limits to what they can release? And how can taxpayers whose information is released seek redress?

It can be argued that what Ways and Means released is or is not confidential tax information. But I believe this leads us down a dangerously slippery slope. When Congress doesn’t respect taxpayer confidentiality, it doesn’t respect taxpayers.

And I’m not giving Democrats a pass on this. Oh, the Democrats on Ways and Means said some great things as Camp was getting ready to disclose the information on these groups. “The very disclosure that you put to vote today violates the very taxpayer protections this committee meant to create,” said Ways and Means ranking minority member Sander M. Levin, a Democrat who, like Camp, is from Michigan. Let’s see what the Democrats have to say when they are back in power and going after the Koch brothers. It’s less and less about us taxpayers and more and more about the power of the Washington elite.

I would agree with Alan J. Wilensky, a Minneapolis tax lawyer and former acting Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy, who told van den Berg, “I don’t know that they violated the letter of the law, but it seems to me they have violated the spirit of the law.”

I don’t know Dave Camp, but I respect him. I’ve heard him speak and have been greatly impressed. He pushed for tax reform at a time when it was all but impossible and persevered. If we get tax reform in the future, it will be because he provided the base for it. So I can’t understand why he would do this. Could he possibly have a black helmet complete with face shield and complex breathing apparatus?

“Luke, I am your father.”

Good grief. May the force be with us all.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was tol ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan R ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Ser ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sch ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kin ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bangladeshi plane catches fire at Nepal airport, passengers safe
Kathmandu, July 28 (IANS) A Bangladeshi aircraft caught fire while landing at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Monday afternoon, officials said.
 
 
Shift work can worsen asthma, pneumonia
London, July 28 (IANS) A research has found that drugs widely used to treat lung diseases like asthma or pneumonia work better with the body clock.
 
 
Decoded: What triggers sexual arousal in you
New York, July 28 (IANS) Know why just looking at an attractive face stimulates sexual arousal? Well, it takes two to tango!
 
 
Turn your selfie into emoji with this app
New York, July 28 (IANS) Tired of seeing the same yellow-faced smileys? In an age of selfies, how can emojis be far behind?
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Kutcher-Kunis to wed in July next year?
Los Angeles, July 29 (IANS) Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who are getting ready to welcome their daughter, have begun to plan for their wedding. "The wedding will be next July. They want to focus on their...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lady Gaga portraits auctioned
New York, July 29 (IANS) Pop star Lady Gaga's "video portraits" raised over $1 million at an auction at Watermill Center here. Director Robert Wilson put on display "23 Video Portraits of Lady Gaga" series at his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kim Kardashian followed by 'crazy driver'
Kim Kardashian claims a ''crazy driver'' followed her around Los Angeles today (07.28.14). The 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' star hit back at rumors she was pulled over by police officers in Calabasas, California,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Elizabeth Banks is 'very genetically blessed'
Elizabeth Banks says she is ''very genetically blessed.'' The 'Hunger Games' actress, who has sons Felix, three, and Magnus, 20 months, with husband Max Handleman, insists she only recently realized she is attractive,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Courteney Cox receives engagement gifts
Johnny McDaid and Courteney Cox received several engagement presents in his native Northern Ireland. The newly-engaged couple were given complimentary souvenirs by excited fans in the city of Derry while exploring the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis to wed next July
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are planning to get married next July. The couple, who got engaged earlier this year and are expecting their first child, have reportedly set a date for their wedding next summer, as they...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games Tuesday
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) The following is the list of Indians who will be seen in action in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Tuesday. Schedule Badminton (Emirates Arena) Men's singles (Round of 64): R.M.V.Gurusaidutt vs...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian medal winners at 2014 Commonwealth Games
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) The following is the list of Indian medal winners at the 20th Commonwealth Games: Gold Sanjita Khumukchan: women's 48 kg weightlifting Sukhen Dey: men's 56 kg weightlifting Abhinav Bindra: men'...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Hi-tech machine spews beer for fans mimicking Scot talk (CWG Diary)
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) Fancy a free beer? Get talking in Scottish! A hi-tech water cooler that talks to visitors and dispenses beer is doing the rounds of the city assessing one's accent and rewarding the best with a...
Read more on Sport Balla