The Corner

IRS Workers See Double Standard on Tax Errors

I am assuming that many of you have, like me, spent quite some time and energy — and money — in the last few weeks getting our taxes ready and out the door. But here is a good reminder that not all men are equal before the IRS. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Now, as Wednesday’s tax deadline looms, some Americans are wondering why they should comply with the arcane requirements of the Internal Revenue Service when top administration officials failed to do the same. Even some IRS employees are upset at what they see as a double standard.

The most criticized example has been Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted not paying $34,000 in payroll and Social Security taxes, saying his failure to pay was an oversight. Five other nominees disclosed similar tax issues, including one as recently as two weeks ago when Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama’s pick for secretary of health and human services, admitted she didn’t pay $7,040.

And:

“Politically powerful people are less likely to get bothered by the IRS,” Schriebman said. “It is more than a question of fairness. Not only is the IRS looking away from confronting influential people, the IRS is getting a lot tougher and nastier toward the little guy.”

IRS employees have reported that taxpayers are occasionally citing the Geithner case when they are asked to pay their tax bills. “It’s making the compliance conversation harder,” Kelley said.

Geithner’s $34,000 in unpaid taxes pales in comparison to the more than $128,000 owed by Tom Daschle, Obama’s first choice to run health and human services. But Geithner’s position overseeing the IRS has made his case particularly galling in the public’s mind.

Annoying, isn’t it? Read more here.

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