These Are Fair Questions

DougJ’s BFF Roger Simon has a catty piece up at the Politico titled “What if I didn’t pay taxes?”:

Would it be OK if I stopped paying my taxes until Barack Obama names me to be his secretary of the treasury?

That is a deal I would like to get. That is the deal financial wizard Timothy Geithner got.

He didn’t pay all of his federal taxes for years. Then, after Obama decided to name him treasury secretary, Obama’s vetting team discovered Geithner’s little oversight.

Not paying your taxes is considered serious for some people. But not for Geithner, a Wall Street “wonder boy” — he is 47 — who is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and was instrumental in putting together the recent Wall Street bailout package.

You would think a guy like this would know about paying taxes, but no. Mistakes were made.

Geithner failed to pay the proper self-employment taxes for 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, even though he was sent documents telling him he had to do so.

But in 2006, Geithner got a document he couldn’t ignore. The IRS sent Geithner a notice saying he had not paid his taxes for 2003 and 2004, and Geithner paid up.

But he did not pay up for 2001 and 2002, even though he must have known that he skipped taxes for those years, too.

Catty, yes. Framed in the worst light possible, yes? But they seem like they are fair questions. What would happen to someone if they made the same mistake as Geithner? Since everyone on my tv has told me this is a common mistake (and I believe the “documents” Geithner got were really just standard statements that everyone gets, and if anything this makes the case for simplification of the tax code), it sure would be nice if there were some reporters out there would try to find out if what happened to Geithner is different from anyone else for this sort of mistake. Certainly this has happened to someone else. Did Geithner get special treatment? I’d like to know, because if he did, then there really is something wrong with his pick.

Too bad Roger Simon is more interested in being a hack than being a reporter, because those questions seem to me to be relevant and worth asking. I guess we will just have to hope an actual journalist looks into it before we make our judgment.

*** Update ***

I guess many of you are missing the sarcasm. I just assumed that everyone knew that this was no big deal, and was pointing out that by omitting this, Simon was actually presenting a pretty hacktacular column. Hell, he could read his own damned website.






131 replies
  1. 1
    Shygetz says:

    With most people, if you are unintentionally delinquent on your taxes, you pay the back taxes with a penalty, usually negotiated between you and the IRS, and that’s that (although you do tend to get audited more often afterwards). Sending people to jail tends to be reserved for cases of intentional and unrepentant fraud. I have no idea if Geithner got a break with his penalties or not, but it’s no surprise that he’s not going to jail or anything. That’s SOP at the IRS, from my experience in having a family member work there.

  2. 2
    rustydude says:

    The Bush administration has made a fetish of little or no taxation on small business (the self employed), so from one standpoint Geithner is the poster boy for the Bush era tax policy.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    What would happen to someone if they made the same mistake as Geithner?

    Well, if they reported it like Geithner did and showed they didn’t intentionally try to cheat the system, they pay the tax due and penalty and it’s all square.

    What all these dumbasses don’t realize is that the IRS is only nasty is they believe you INTENTIONALLY failed to pay taxes.

    And given how fucking complicated all of the revisions to the various laws and credits are, they tend to give a lot of leeway to people who make mistakes provided said people come to the confessional as Geithner did.

  4. 4

    What TenguPhile said.

  5. 5
    dr. bloor says:

    What would happen to someone if they made the same mistake as Geithner?

    Pretty much the same thing, unless there’s something about the case that reeks of criminal intent. I can say this because it happened to me once. Both Mrs. Dr. Bloor and I have about 90% of our income reported in 1099 forms, and we each get a bunch of them. We failed to report the income on one or two of them one year; a year or two later, we got a computerized form from the IRS pointing it out and telling us to pay up with interest, and we did. Case closed. No big fucking deal.

    I’d be more interested in knowing why he was doing his own taxes and receiving his own financial docs in the first place. Most guys I’ve come across in his financial bracket seldom touch their own checkbooks.

  6. 6
    mcd says:

    Seems like this would also apply to anyone who bills him/herself as a "consultant" and gets paid for appearing on television. I would start the investigation there.

  7. 7
    Ugh says:

    But he did not pay up for 2001 and 2002, even though he must have known that he skipped taxes for those years, too.

    He most likely didn’t pay those taxes when he paid up for 2003 and 2004 because the statute of limitations for tax payments is generally 3 years, and it would have run by the time the IRS sent its letter in 2006, so at that time he did not owe those taxes for 2001 and 2002. No CPA would tell you to pay back taxes that the IRS is barred from collecting by the statute of limitations.

    Certainly this has happened to someone else. Did Geithner get special treatment? I’d like to know, because if he did, then there really is something wrong with his pick.

    The IRS has a settlement initiative for just this thing. Which you can find information about here. So, it appears that, yes, this is a common mistake, the IRS does not run settlement initiatives for one-off issues. Did Geithner get a better deal? He might have as from press reports it appears he only paid interest on his two years, and not penalties, and the settlement initiative requires penalties for at least one year. But it looks like Geithner settled with the IRS before this intiative came out, so they may have been settling with individual taxpayers for no penalties before the initiative.

  8. 8
    kay says:

    Well, I asked someone who knows, so Politico could too. As I understand it, tax liability only goes back 3 years, barring fraud, and fraud wasn’t determined here.
    That means that when the IRS audited Geithner, and came up with a three year lookback figure for liability, they only demanded payment and fines back three years. They can’t go back further. The liability is "extinguished": it doesn’t exist. It applies to everyone.
    The intent was to assure taxpayers that the IRS wouldn’t have unlimited ability to go back and collect for mistakes. They get 3 years, again, barring fraud. That means his payment on the 2001, 2002 shortfall was entirely voluntary. He didn’t look for it, and either did the IRS, because there was no liability.

  9. 9
    dana says:

    What shygetz said; Geithner also had an accountant look at it. So it doesn’t look like he was really trying to perpetuate a fraud.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    Well, if they reported it like Geithner did and showed they didn’t intentionally try to cheat the system, they pay the tax due and penalty and it’s all square.

    Of course, and we all know that, which was precisely my point. The reason Simon didn’t report that and ask those questions was BECAUSE HE IS A HACK.

    I guess my sarcasm wasn’t clear enough.

  11. 11
    Ugh says:

    Shorter Ugh: I agree with John Cole that Simon is a hack.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    Did Geithner get special treatment?

    Nope.

    The story is that while working for the IMF, he mistakenly believed they were paying his Employment taxes (SS & Medicare) which most employers automatically withhold. In this case, the IMF had him down as an independent contractor which means that while he was essentially an employee in terms of work performed, the employment taxes are all on his side to pay (both employee and employer sides). Now if Geithner is like most of the people I know, he didn’t check his pay stub beyond seeing that the amounts looked right. Hence he failed to catch the mistake until notified. Then when Obama’s team found another one earlier on in 2000-2001, he paid the IRS for that too even though legally he was not obligated to do so because it apparently was past the experation date where the IRS can go back for missing taxes.

    So yeah, Roger Simon needs to GDIAF.

  13. 13
    Ash Can says:

    I think they’re fair questions too. I read somewhere that there was some tax-law gray area involved, mitigating Geithner’s culpability to some extent, but thus far IMO no one has explained it well enough to remove reasonable doubt.

    (ETA: Having read the postings of the folks here who are quicker on the draw than I am, I see much more explanation. And while I still have reservations about tax goof-ups by financial types, I agree that where there doesn’t seem to be any criminal intent, then it’s no big deal.)

    Having said this, however, the whole idea of right-wing pundits whining about legal pecadillos on the part of Democrats is, thanks to the last 8 years (and the Gingrich years before that), unconditionally laughable. These guys couldn’t make out a grocery list at this point without being redolent with hypocrisy.

  14. 14
    Reverend Dennis says:

    Geithner demonstrated his lack of acumen by failing to do what so many other patriotic American companies have done: offshore his business to a mailbox in some Caribbean tax haven.

  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    I guess my sarcasm wasn’t clear enough.

    On Balloon Juice, you can never be sure.

  16. 16
    itsbenj says:

    Well, let’s keep in mind what an amazingly mediocre thinker Roger Simon is. This guy will buy bad analogies and false equivalencies like the SEC buying up bad mortgages. Really, why do we all know his name? At any given moment, he is just saying yet another stupid thing that has nothing to do with anything.

    In this case, its a simple question of intent. Was there intent to deceive on Geithner’s part? Was there unlawful conduct, paired with an attempt to cover it up? The answer is obviously ‘no’, this is an oversight which should be 100% resolved the second he hands over the check to the treasury dept. Yes, Roger Simon is el-hacko. But even more than that, he’s just dumb.

  17. 17
    4tehlulz says:

    Mr. Geithner’s failure to openly flout the tax code disqualifies him from consideration for Treasury Secretary.

  18. 18
    kay says:

    @Ash Can:

    The 3 year statute isn’t a gray area. It makes sense, too. If the IRS could dig through your entire tax history and dun you for payments and fines and interest every time they found a mistake, there would be rioting in the streets. Imagine that. The interest alone…

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    I read somewhere that there was some tax-law gray area involved,

    You read wrongly. There is nothing there. Please report for mandatory decontamination, friend Ash Can.

    And remember, the Computer is your friend.

  20. 20
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    What would happen to someone if they made the same mistake as Geithner?

    I can tell you what happens to me, when I make that mistake.

    The IRS sends a letter saying that they think you owe them the additional tax. There is a process for resolution and challenge, after which, you either win the dispute, or you pay.

    Unless they think you deliberately tried to evade the tax, that’s about it. It’s a routine process of notification, negotiation, resolution, and possibly, payment.

    For people like me who are lazy and have complicated tax situations, it’s not really that big a deal.

  21. 21
    Stooleo says:

    This is just another example of the moral failings of our country. If only we hadn’t done away with debtors prisons and orphanages, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  22. 22
    jibeaux says:

    This is O/T and not snarky — I know, I’m sorry — but I just continue to be struck by how dumb the surviving R’s are. It’s like reverse Darwinism. Just for contrast, 2 little tidbits from run-of-the-mill stories I read today —

    What regular people think:

    Even Republicans and independents think GOP lawmakers should work to move the legislation forward. Asked whether Republicans in Congress should do everything to stand firm for their party’s principles and oppose the legislation, or look to compromise with the Obama administration, 68% of Republicans and independents chose compromise, with 20% picking standing firm.
    By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, people preferred government spending to create jobs over tax cuts to give Americans more money to spend. Large majorities endorsed many details in the plan, with 89% saying they like the idea of creating jobs through increasing production of renewable energy and making public buildings more energy efficient.

  23. 23
    Zifnab says:

    I think everyone has basically hit all the numbers on this. Of course, we’re well-established and peer-reviewed blog commenters while Roger Simon is a journalist for a small time political rag at the ass-end of the beltway, so its understandable that we would catch things that he could so easily miss.

    In the future, however, I would suggest Roger Simon invest in "teh intro-nets" and bookmark "teh goggles" as it may benefit him for other articles he may feel the need to write.

  24. 24
    kay says:

    I can’t get past the idea that he does his own taxes. It’s just wild.

  25. 25
    jibeaux says:

    GOP interpretation of their mandate:
    , aka "We’re going to block even things we don’t oppose, that’s how powerful and relevant we are! Grrrr!"

    No Republican has announced plans to oppose Holder’s nomination, but the GOP sees the confirmation hearing as the best early forum for showing that the minority party is still relevant despite a Democratic sweep in November.

  26. 26
    Comrade Kevin says:

    What would happen to someone if they made the same mistake as Geithner?

    I have no idea, but from reading that excerpt above, I don’t think Simon actually cares. Aso you state, if he was an actual jounalist, he might go and find out for himself.

  27. 27
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    Oh, I should add, there is interest and penalty if you lose the dispute and have to pay the tax. So in the end, the mistake does not cost Uncle Sam Wurtzelbacher any money.

  28. 28
    Thom says:

    I went 20 years without filing a tax return, about 15 of those years I made enough that I should have. I filed "exempt" for a couple of those years, paying no taxes, and the rest had taxes taken out of my pay but not enough to cover what I owed. About 8 years ago I decided I’d been a rebel long enough and called up the IRS and told them all about it. I owed just over $3,000. I set up a monthly payment program and paid it off, with penalties and interest.

    Not a big deal.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    I went 20 years without filing a tax return, about 15 of those years I made enough that I should have.

    There is a job for you in the next Republican administration.

  31. 31
    Thom says:

    And to those citing the three year rule – that’s what I thought, too. But it’s not true, at least in some cases. I had to pay back taxes going back I think 12 years.

  32. 32
    Zifnab says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    So in the end, the mistake does not cost Uncle Sam Wurtzelbacher any money.

    Speaking of Mr. Wurtzelbacher, this does raise an interesting question? Should Roger Simon even be reporting on this? Seems like we should leave reporting IRS delinquency payments to someone a little more knowledgeable, like the IRS. I’m sure Sam Wurtzelbacher would agree, if he could hear me over the Israel tank fire from where he is not reporting (because that would undermine the war effort).

  33. 33
    kay says:

    @Zifnab:

    How can I run into someone local at the bank who rattles off an answer and sends me a link to the statute and back-up case law, and Politico is "stumped"? I live in the middle of nowhere.

  34. 34
    r€nato says:

    You write hack columns with the faux scandal you have, not the faux scandal you wish you had.

  35. 35
    Paul L. says:

    Too bad Roger Simon is more interested in being a hack than being a reporter

    Does not seems to be a problem for progressives with Media Matters Eric Boehler.
    FLASHBACK: Liberal Hack Was OUTRAGED at Cost of Bush Inauguration, Not So Much About Obama’s

    The 3 year statute isn’t a gray area. It makes sense, too. If the IRS could dig through your entire tax history and dun you for payments and fines and interest every time they found a mistake, there would be rioting in the streets. Imagine that. The interest alone…

    BS from a Obama apologist
    Records the IRS says to keep – and for how long

    Owe additional tax and the next three situations below do not apply to you – 3 years
    Do not report income that you should and it is more than 25 percent of the gross income shown on your return – 6 years
    File a fraudulent return – No limit
    Do not file a return – No limit
    File a claim for credit or refund after you filed your return – Later of 3 years or 2 years after tax was paid
    File a claim for a loss from worthless securities – 7 years

    Also keep in mind that while the basic IRS review period is three years, there are exceptions — in the tax collector’s favor.

  36. 36
    r€nato says:

    Paul L. has convinced me. Geithner should be executed as a traitor for his crimes and Obama should be impeached immediately upon taking the oath next Tuesday.

    (I thought Republicans considered not paying one’s taxes as a virtue…)

  37. 37
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    File a fraudulent return – No limit

    Mistaken omission is not a fraudulent return.

    Your post, epic fail. The IRS is not going to waste EVEN YOUR money trying to criminalize every tax mistake out there.

    Because, we care about you.

  38. 38
    kay says:

    @Paul L.:

    Owe additional tax and the next three situations below do not apply to you – 3 years
    Do not report income that you should and it is more than 25 percent of the gross income shown on your return – 6 years
    File a fraudulent return – No limit
    Do not file a return – No limit

    Read it again, Paul. He doesn’t meet the exceptions. 1. more than 25% of gross. 2. fraud 3. no return filed

  39. 39
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I think that some in the media world know when a story doesn’t have ‘legs’ and don’t bother with it where some know that it doesn’t have ‘legs’ so they splice a pair on. Why should Simon go check out something and find out that it is nothing when he can report it as if it is something and get his name out there to promote it? No matter that the story is later debunked, Simon isn’t really interested in that.

    So while Simon and his ilk do their ‘reporting’, other outlets pick it up and hype it until cooler heads step in with the ‘real news’ that the story is no news at all. Everybody gets their minute in the spotlight and the slur lives on afterward. The system is so predictable that it is boring.

    They have been doing this for a long time and they are really good at it. Problem is that the public is starting to catch on and the internet is the reason why. When you can’t control the ‘news’, you can’t control the masses.

  40. 40
    kay says:

    @Paul L.:

    Why do you believe the IRS determined fraud? Is that why it’s bolded? Because you determined it was fraud?

  41. 41
    r€nato says:

    …but what reporters should REALLY investigate is, what kind of countertops does Geithner have in his kitchen?

  42. 42
    Punchy says:

    But not for Geithner, a Wall Street “wonder boy” — he is 47 — who is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

    Since when does someone age 47 have the moniker "boy" in a nickname?

  43. 43

    @kay:

    I live in the middle of nowhere.

    We must be neighbors.

    I too have been through this particular situation, and I also got bum advice from an accountant when I asked him to review my finances and returns. No. Big. Deal. My attorney worked it out with the IRS. I wrote a check. End of story. I no longer do my own taxes. In the long run having a good accountant makes sense when you have multiple streams of cash coming in. It is very easy to lose track of all the documentation required. (Isn’t our patriotic duty to pay as few taxes as the law permits? )

    I personally believe that tax simplification will probably never happen because it is essentially the Tax attorney and CPA Unemployment Act.

  44. 44
    r€nato says:

    But in 2006, Geithner got a document he couldn’t ignore. The IRS sent Geithner a notice saying he had not paid his taxes for 2003 and 2004, and Geithner paid up.

    ZOMG! Geithner was notified that he owed back taxes plus penalties AND HE PROMPTLY PAID THEM!

    Scandalous! Is there no end to liberal perfidy?

  45. 45
    Thom says:

    Paul

    Bush’s second inauguartion – his second – was in the midst of what was then the bloodiest month for US soldiers in the failed war that Bush himself started. The seeming celebration was knocked because of that.

    Obama’s FIRST inauguration as the first black president of the USA is an entirely different ballgame. Millions of people are going to show up, as opposed to about 300,000 for Bush’s second. The higher costs are for security.

    You idiot.

  46. 46
    r€nato says:

    I find it a bit mind-boggling that the president of the NY Fed uses TurboTax to do his taxes. I mean, I respect his frugality but geez… I think he could afford to hire an accountant!

    (actually he did but I think at least two of the years in question, Geithner did his taxes with TT or an equivalent)

  47. 47
    Tsulagi says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Well, if they reported it like Geithner did and showed they didn’t intentionally try to cheat the system, they pay the tax due and penalty and it’s all square.

    Yep.

    This thing isn’t even pushing the usually hair-trigger outrage button among some leading lights on the Gooper side of the aisle in the Senate. Said Orrin Hatch, still supporting Geithner’s nomination, “GOP opponents should think this through.” Yeah, now you come up with that situation advice. About eight years late.

    Even little Lindsey…

    "These are huge times. Now is not the time to think in small political terms," Graham said.

    WTF, now they’re sane? “Think things through” and “now is not the time to think in small political terms.” I think I see some silly putty arriving in Graham and Hatch’s mailboxes soon.

    Speaking of which, if not totally oversaturated by RedState stupidity, you can read how this Geithner thing shows the continual victimization of the mavericky Sarah.

  48. 48
    kay says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    I got audited last year by my state health department. I’m self-employed, and I own the building. It was bizarre. Under state law, they can audit me, for state taxes, that are collected by a levy on real property. It’s a levy collected at the county level. I have no idea what that was all about, and I never heard from them again. She was very nice, whoever she was.

  49. 49
    r€nato says:

    years from now we will still be hearing about how Obama was not a legitimate president because the state of Hawaii refused to allow random wingnuts to personally handle and inspect his original birth certificate, how Obama was part of the Blago scandal, and how Geithner somehow got special favors from the Bush administration IRS and avoided prosecution for tax fraud.

    Zombie right-wing lies never die.

  50. 50
    DougJ says:

    Mistaken omission is not a fraudulent return.

    Could be he’s hiding the fraudulent returns in Syria. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  51. 51
    Reverend Dennis says:

    And if Geithner was a Republican nominee we’d all be treated to gale-force harrumphing about "partisan politics" and "with hunts."

  52. 52
    Paul L. says:

    @kay:

    Why do you believe the IRS determined fraud? Is that why it’s bolded? Because you determined it was fraud?

    I believe that if a IRS agent wants to audit you the definition of fraudulent return will be interpreted with a large amount of leeway.
    Like child pornography charges.

    Half a dozen teenagers in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, face child pornography charges, three for taking nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and sending them to boys by cell phone, three for receiving them.

    Or am I being too suspicious/pessimistic about Government Bureaucrats .
    Free the Greensburg Six.

  53. 53
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Paul L.: Wasting your time, Paul. Isn’t there a black stripper you’re supposed to be raping right now?

  54. 54
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    These are huge times. Now is not the time to think in small political terms," Graham said.

    The earth’s orbit is collapsing and the we are hurtling toward immolation and the sun.

    It’s the end.

  55. 55
    r€nato says:

    The earth’s orbit is collapsing and the we are hurtling toward immolation and the sun.
    It’s the end.

    merely proves that the GOP can whip itself into a frenzy over nothing when it feels like it, and act reasonably when it feels like it.

    I think somebody in the GOP caucus realized that screaming ‘wolf’ 24/7 doesn’t do much for Republican credibility.

    No, they’ll wait until an opportune moment to whip themselves into a righteous fury over a trivial/innocent matter.

  56. 56
    ksmiami says:

    Renato says:

    I find it a bit mind-boggling that the president of the NY Fed uses TurboTax to do his taxes. I mean, I respect his frugality but geez… I think he could afford to hire an accountant!

    Honestly, we’ve been Turbo Tax junkies for years and quite a lot of very financially saavy people are leery of giving up their financial privacy and you could go to 8 different tax people and get 9 different returns so I guess I sympathize with Geithner.

    We owed some back taxes to the state of CA and it was resolved with a letter and a phone call. People make mistakes – but the IRS won’t prosecute for honest mistakes esp if people try to ameliorate the situation in good faith. In other words, all this crap is phony outrage in the wake of Great Depression II.

  57. 57
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    Free the Greensburg Six.

    You really need to delete those photos off your phone, Paul.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    I believe that if a IRS agent wants to audit you the definition of fraudulent return will be interpreted with a large amount of leeway.

    The difference between Paul L’s beliefs and reality is so great as to present a difficulty in measuring infinity.

  59. 59
    4tehlulz says:

    Paul L. is objectively pro-pedophile.

  60. 60
    r€nato says:

    I’m a TurboTax junkie too, and I do a Sched C not W-2 plus some other forms which are not child’s play.

    What TurboTax cannot do for you, however, is correctly interpret various tax laws which go above and beyond, say, measuring the area of your home devoted to your home office and dividing it by the total square feet in order to determine the correct home office deduction.

    For some folks – and I would have assumed that would include a Fed bank president – their finances are complex enough that TT will only get you 95% of the way there, and it takes a competent tax accountant to ask the right questions and understand the intricacies of certain hard-to-understand tax laws and regulations.

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    But it’s not true, at least in some cases. I had to pay back taxes going back I think 12 years.

    That would be because the IRS had a good reason to suspect you of fraud based on your filing history, dumbass.

  62. 62
    r€nato says:

    Shorter Paul L.:

    1) Clinton got a blow-job and lied about it! 2) ??? 3) profit! impeach Obama!

  63. 63
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    Could be he’s hiding the fraudulent returns in Syria

    Good point. We need a special prosecutor.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    That would be because the IRS had a good reason to suspect you of fraud based on your filing history, dumbass.

    I apologize for the dumbass remark on further consideration.

  65. 65
    Thom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Do you fall in manholes often? I mean, who would know my case better, you or I?

    The reason the three year rule did not apply, and I’m having to dredge up memories here, was because tax returns on my income had been filed for all those years. That was the only reason.

    The weird part is that the IRS filed the returns, not me. They can do that, apparently. That means that those returns stayed active all that time.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    Also I blame Thymezone for rubbing off on me to hit the wrong target.

  67. 67
    Media Browski says:

    Um, yeah john, the sarcasm was pretty hard to divine until I got to the update. Remember, irony can never be heavy-handed enough.

  68. 68
    MikeJ says:

    I believe that if a IRS agent wants to audit you the definition of fraudulent return will be interpreted with a large amount of leeway.

    This is a pretty neat quote. How often do you see people complaining about a lack of official corruption? Dammit, why won’t those IRS agents abuse their power to attack my political enemies!

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    @Thorn

    I apologize. It was uncalled for, I’d delete it, but I can’t edit BJ posts on my machine.

  70. 70
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    Since when does someone age 47 have the moniker "boy" in a nickname?

    I didn’t even know he was a minority.

  71. 71
    Thom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I apologize for not including an end-italics tag.

  72. 72
    Paul L. says:

    @Thom:

    Bush’s second inauguration – his second – was in the midst of what was then the bloodiest month for US soldiers in the failed war that Bush himself started. The seeming celebration was knocked because of that.

    For some unknown reason, I cannot be a summary by month to verify your claim.
    http://icasualties.org/oif/USDeathByMonth.aspx
    Nope, cost.
    Aneurysm

    If I hear one more Democrat say this inauguration is costing too much, I am going to blow a gasket. Eight years after Bill Clinton’s 33 million dollar inaugural, 40 million is apparently too much.

  73. 73
    The Other Steve says:

    Years ago I did some work and was paid 1099, and I am fairly certain I did not calculate the taxes from that correctly as I didn’t understand the complexities. But then it wasn’t much money, and I didn’t make much anyway so you all lost about $20 from me.

    The tax code is too complicated, obviously.

  74. 74
    Thom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    No worries, mate.

    Too funny. When I performed more often papers would sometimes print my name as "Thorn."

  75. 75
    Incertus says:

    Think Simon’s so sure about his tax-paying history that he’d be willing to undergo the cavity-search a Cabinet post brings? I have my doubts.

    And OT, but have you seen Andrew Roberts’ love letter to Bush? It’s amazing.

  76. 76
    r€nato says:

    more coherent trolls, please.

  77. 77
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    If I hear one more Democrat say this inauguration is costing too much

    Like most things you post, nobody cares.

    Record-breaking numbers of people, he said, mean more services: "More buses, more federal cooperation, more emergency medical service workers, more police officers needed, more hotel rooms needed, more streets that are going to have to be closed, more water in case it’s hot and more places to stay if it gets particularly cold and people need some type of hypothermia relief."
    And relief of another kind will be provided. The Washington Post reported Friday that Emmett Beliveau, executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said there would be 5,000 temporary toilets available on the Mall and along the parade route.
    Also, the city will double its 4,100-member police force by calling in officers from other districts and is working with local transportation officials on how to move people downtown to watch the festivities.
    It’s not all bad news. With the crowds comes an uptick in tourism, city officials said. Bars will be open until 4 a.m. to accommodate revelers, and hotels in the area are selling at two or three times the normal rates. Washington residents are embracing the news by flooding the Craigslist Web site with offers to rent their homes and apartments to out-of-towners.
    "There’ll be plenty of people coming, using our grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels; spending money, enjoying themselves," Fenty said. "And when they see how great a city this is, if they didn’t already know, they certainly will return."
    Inaugural planners say interest in the inaugural celebrations has been enthusiastic and nonstop. Inaugural Committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass said 35,000 people have already registered to volunteer.

    Just because more people want to see this inauguration than wanted to see that piece of shit you guys elected is not reason for you to get pissy, Paul.

  78. 78
    Zifnab says:

    @Paul L.: Yes, that’s all well and good, but do you like pie?

  79. 79
    r€nato says:

    Just because more people want to see this inauguration than wanted to see that piece of shit you guys elected is not reason for you to get pissy, Paul.

    sure it is. I am greatly enjoying right-wing bitterness over Obama’s popularity. I hope it gives ulcers to the lot of them.

  80. 80
    The Other Steve says:

    Someone needs to dig into this bizarre story and mock it.

  81. 81
    debrazza says:

    I have actually had this happen to me 3 times! Actually, I take that back, I made one mistake and 2 other times the greedy tax man has come in for me.

    Let me preface this with this bit of info: I grew up and lived most of my life in WA with no state income tax.

    In 2000, I moved from CA to DC within the same organization. It started as a temporary reassignment but morphed into a permanent stay. They kept sending my witholding to CA, so I just paid CA income tax until I quit that organization in 2005. CA sent me a notice in the fall saying that I owe them money for the years since, even though I don’t live there and have not for 8 years.

    Between 2002-04, I had a sabbatical during the academic calendar to do a masters degree in CT. Even though I earned no income in CT and was just there temporarily to take classes, the state of CT sent me a letter saying that I owed taxes to them, which I already paid to CA, because I was living part time in CT.

    Should have fought that one, but I received notice of that in 2005, when I left my organization to take a position abroad. So it was impractical for me to fight. Next, when I left my job, I cashed out some retirement money to facilitate my move abroad. They withheld money on that, but apparently not enough and the IRS came after me on that one and I had to pay a penalty there.

    So all told, the tax man is greedy. It is very greedy. And if you have complicated circumstances they don’t care. In particular, states, as well as the Fed. govt. will come after you for money if there is any discrepancy. But all in all, it is not a big deal. You get a letter from the tax man and they say you owe this much. You can decide to either pay it or fight it. And in my estimation, if it is less than 3 to 5 thousand dollars, it is more efficient to just pay it because you are not going to get reimbursed for a tax attorney and if you fight it, you are not going to small claims court. You are going to need an attorney.

  82. 82
    Ed Drone says:

    Could be he’s hiding the fraudulent returns in Syria

    Good point. We need a special prosecutor to invade.

    Fixed it for you.

    Ed

  83. 83
    Paul L. says:

    Wasting your time, Paul. Isn’t there a black stripper you’re supposed to be raping right now?

    Nice to here from the new Black Panther party member. Or are you a member of a gender/urban studies department somewhere?

    Paul L. is objectively pro-pedophile.

    FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!111!!!

    So if I understand this correctly, they’re protecting these kids from harm . . . by charging them with child pornography for exploiting themselves. Yes. Makes perfect sense.

    Dammit, why won’t those IRS agents abuse their power to attack my political enemies!

    You mean like the Clinton IRS audit of the The National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, The National Review, The American Spectator, Freedom Alliance, National Center for Public Policy Research, American Policy Center, American Cause, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for Honest Government, Progress and Freedom Foundation, Concerned Women for America and the San Diego Chapter of Christian Coalition.

  84. 84
    r€nato says:

    Hillary murdered Vince Foster and they both left a trail of bodies in Arkansas as well.

  85. 85
    4tehlulz says:

    Note that Paul L. felt compelled to respond to being called pro-pedophile but did not deny being pro-pedophile.

    Therefore, he is pro-pedophile.

  86. 86
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Paul L.: Those black strippers aren’t going to rape themselves, Pauline. Best get off your mom’s computer and get to it.

    @4tehlulz: It would be irresponsible not to speculate about Pauline’s pro-pedophilia beliefs. I’m calling Chris Hansen. He’ll get this straightened out.

  87. 87
    Rainy says:

    It was mistake, Roger! Why does he write article like this? Does he really think Tim Geithner would deliberately not pay his taxes while he was being nominated for this job? This is not a logical response.

  88. 88
    slag says:

    I didn’t pay taxes on a gift one year and the IRS billed me for it a couple years later. Paid them; No prob. It wasn’t fraud and, quite frankly, I’m still doubtful as to whether or not I should have paid them, given the nature of the gift. It was just a disagreement between frenemies.

    Time to get back on the medication, Paul L. The doctor prescribes it for a reason, you know.

    Oh yeah: And rape jokes are incredibly passe.

  89. 89
    TenguPhule says:

    Like most things you Everything Paul L posts, nobody cares.

    Corrected.

  90. 90
    Paul L. says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate about Pauline’s pro-pedophilia beliefs. I’m calling Chris Hansen. He’ll get this straightened out.

    So using your and 4tehlulz standard, anyone who supports gay marriage is a homosexual.
    I am not pro-pedophile. But I would love to meet Chris Hansen.

  91. 91
    paragonpark says:

    First, I must say I find his explananation that he misunderstood his job status and believed he was an employee having FICA and MC payroll taxes deducted by his "employer" a bit hard to believe. He hardly a naif and it’s hard to believe a person in his position would not understand the distinction between an employee and independent contactor especially when he received 1099s rather than W-4s. Then, after he received the first notice even the benefit of the doubt does not exist to avoid the conclusion he chose not to pay what he owed in a timely fashion.

    That said, it does sound as if he did report his gross income accurately and only failed to pay the self-employment tax rather having under-reported his earnings.

    Being in arrears on taxes , even willfully and deliberately, is not a crime, but there is a bit of difference between the standards which should be used to decide whether someone should be branded a criminal and those used to decide whether someone should be named to the cabinet.

  92. 92
    ksmiami says:

    Finally – Paul L. Just be happy that the music at this inauguration won’t suck as much as the Bush inaugural. I know that is why I am tuning in.

  93. 93
    kay says:

    @Thom:

    Because you fell under the "no return" exception, as helpfully posted by Paul L, so the three year statute didn’t apply.

    I hate talking taxes. Everyone just do your reading and we’ll have nothing to talk about.

  94. 94
    tim says:

    After raiding my 401K’s in 2004, I discovered I owed taxes and could not pay them. I just didn’t file a return. The IRS "reminded" me about last year, allowed me to file an amended return, and took a huge bite out of tax refund for income and penalties. Geithner got the same deal. Seems equitable to me.

    Roger Simon, though, is as gleefully right wing, as Olberman is left wing. He is truly as shallow and silly as Hannity. It’s just he double sources his rumors and innuendos, whereas Hannity single sources his.

  95. 95
    4tehlulz says:

    But I would love to meet Chris Hansen.

    Don’t worry Paul, you will.

  96. 96
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    I am not pro-pedophile.

    BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!

    You sound like the Elephant Man.

    "I am not an animal!"

    Or, you could try:

    "I did not have sex with that pedophile, Mr. Tug Johnson!"

  97. 97
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    decide whether someone should be branded a criminal and those used to decide whether someone should be named to the cabinet.

    Well, you should be named to Cabinet only if you state that waterboarding is just a summer camp activity.

  98. 98
    Church Lady says:

    Besides the income derived from our own business, my husband also earns commission income from another entity, which is always paid out in December. This income is reported on a 1099 and we always send in estimated taxes by the January 15 deadline. For the 2007 tax year, I made a mistake and sent in way too much, resulting in a rather large refund due when we actually filed our return. The IRS deducted a penalty from the refund for not having made estimated tax payments in time. The IRS position was that we should have been making quarterly payments in advance on income that we had no idea of what amount it would be and that we did not actually receive until December. We decided the amount of the penalty was not worth arguing with them about it and just let it go. To add insult to injury, they apparently included a small amount of interest in the net refund check we did receive and have sent us a 1099 so that we can pay them taxes on the interest they sent us.

    The taxman partially refunds with one hand, and takes a little bit more with the other.

  99. 99
    paragonpark says:

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting he got special treatment from the IRS. the question the Senators need to ask is whether they believe a person who willfully failed to paty his taxes in a timely manner should be in the cabinet, particularly as head of the department which includes the IRS.

    Perhaps, he has a good reason for paying his taxes late, but on the other hand he might not. It would certainly seem worthwhile to require him to explain why he failed to pay his taxes when they were due. some might think his tardiness reflects on his character. Some might believe it raises questions about his judgment. some might even believe that if it was truly just an "innocent mistake" that a man who can’t competently manage his own relatively simple financial affairs is not the best choice to head the Treasury Department.

    At this point, with tyhe very limited and vague information available, i’m most concerned about his veracity because I find the explanation very implausible. Of course, that explanation appears to have been publicly stated only by third parties so far. I would like to see if he claims under oath that he didn’t understand that he was a contractor and required to pay the self-employment taxes. I’d also like to hear him tell us why after receiving notice and any possibility of confusion evaporated, he still did not promptly pay what he owed.

    I despise the tendency of people to rationalize or excuse things done by people on their team. When both sides do it (as they both do incessantly), we end up with too many people in public office who don’t deserve to be there.

  100. 100
    Tony J says:

    And OT, but have you seen Andrew Roberts’ love letter to Bush? It’s amazing.

    Yes, and it is. Even AmCon sort of just posted a link and staggered backwards in the manner of a partygoer who walks into the wrong room and catches a friend-of-a-friend cracking one off at the wrist over the host’s comic-book collection.

    I guess Roberts read about Operation: Hail Mary, Joseph and Jeebus Too – The Legacy Project and sees a moneymaking slot in the post of "Non-American Contrarian Historian".

    Does he have a book to sell? You betcha!

  101. 101
    Shygetz says:

    I am not pro-pedophile.

    Don’t worry, kid…even the biggest pro pedophiles start out as amateurs. You’ll make it some day, just keep plugging away!

  102. 102
    kay says:

    I’d also like to hear him tell us why after receiving notice and any possibility of confusion evaporated, he still did not promptly pay what he owed.

    He’s been meeting with Senate Finance on this, so while that isn’t public, or under oath, he has spoken directly to the Senators responsible for confirmation.

    He didn’t owe on the 2001, 2002 taxes. That’s why the IRS didn’t collect. The statute operates to extinguish the liability. The liability no longer exists. He donated it.

  103. 103
    David Hunt says:

    Thom

    The reason the three year rule did not apply, and I’m having to dredge up memories here, was because tax returns on my income had been filed for all those years. That was the only reason.

    The weird part is that the IRS filed the returns, not me. They can do that, apparently. That means that those returns stayed active all that time.

    Short version: If you haven’t filed a return when you are required to, there’s no limit to the amount of time that can pass before they come after you.

    Long Version: This didn’t make sense to me at first but then I think I figured what went on based on what you said. The two big exceptions to the statue of limitation are represented by the four F’s –> Fraud and Failure to File: Forever!

    If you haven’t filed a return when you should have, they can go back as long as they need. This is because the three year clock doesn’t start until you actually file the return. As to them “filing the returns for you,” if they have information that you have enough income to require you to file a return (e.g. W2s or 1099s sent to them by employers) but you refuse to file, they will eventually take what information they have on the income you received, estimate your liability, and send you a bill. This would be my guess as to what they did. When they do this, they are indeed effectively filing the return for you. This is not an unfair power of the IRS, however. If people could avoid taxes be stubbornly not filing returns, no one would file. At that point, you could have disputed the details of the returns that they filed on your behalf by say, demonstrating that the income they showed being earned by you was not actually yours, or by filing an amended return that took full advantage of whatever deduction you were legally entitled to take, etc. I’m pretty sure you’d have three years after they filed the returns on your behalf to file an amended return.

  104. 104
    paragonpark says:

    First, you fail to understand the difference between what a person owes and the statutory limits on the power of the government to enforce payment. Just because an obligation can no longer be enforced under the law does not mean you don’t owe the money and have a moral obligation to pay it.

    For those with extreme cases of situational morality, you also fail to understand the limitayion period for collection. It’s TEN years from the date the the IRS notices you that you owe the money. yhr three year limit is how far the IRS can go back looking for money you might owe that it has not previously informed you yhat you owe.

    Everyone is entitled to theitr own morality or lack thereof, but if you are going to pull legal justifications out of your butt you need to know the law.

  105. 105
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @dr. bloor:

    I had a similar situation. I didn’t realize I owed capital gains on a particular transaction reported on a 1099 form. Then I got a letter from the IRS saying that based on the 1099 info, I owed $12K extra. OMG, how could I make such a stupid mistake, what about my retirement, oh no I am dead meat!

    I called the IRS help number nearly in tears, and the guy could not have been nicer. I just hadn’t calculated the actual captial gain on the transaction, so they just figured the tax based on the amount on the 1099. Happens all the time, he said.

    He explained what I had to do, and I went ahead and figured the tax and interest and sent off the check for $34. Whew.

  106. 106
    paragonpark says:

    26 U.S.C. § 6502. Collection after assessment

    (a) Length of period
    Where the assessment of any tax imposed by this title has been made within the period of limitation properly applicable thereto [ This would be reference to the 3 year period– meaning the IRS needed to notify him he owed additional taxes for each year within three years of his filing of that year’s return], such tax may be collected by levy or by a proceeding in court, but only if the levy is made or the proceeding begun—
    (1) within 10 years after the assessment of the tax, or
    (2) if—
    (A) there is an installment agreement between the taxpayer and the Secretary, prior to the date which is 90 days after the expiration of any period for collection agreed upon in writing by the Secretary and the taxpayer at the time the installment agreement was entered into; or
    (B) there is a release of levy under section 6343 after such 10-year period, prior to the expiration of any period for collection agreed upon in writing by the Secretary and the taxpayer before such release.
    If a timely proceeding in court for the collection of a tax is commenced, the period during which such tax may be collected by levy shall be extended and shall not expire until the liability for the tax (or a judgment against the taxpayer arising from such liability) is satisfied or becomes unenforceable.

    *********
    So, as long as the IRS sent him notice that he owed, for example 2001 taxes within 3 years of his filing that year’s return –probably April of 2005– the IRS can enforce the obligation for up to ten years from the date of the notice of assessment. Clearly, we have not reached that date yet, have we?

  107. 107
    David Hunt says:

    First, I must say I find his explananation that he misunderstood his job status and believed he was an employee having FICA and MC payroll taxes deducted by his "employer" a bit hard to believe.

    That is only one of two versions I’ve heard about what happened. The other version is that he paid the wrong amount of FICA & MC taxes. More specifically, that he withheld the employee’s half but erroneously neglected to pay the employer’s half of the taxes. I do tax prep for a living and use software that’s much more detailed and expensive than Turbo Tax, and I would have had a hard time entering his income as a W2 and still making it figure the amount correctly.

    If this is what happened, I have absolutely no problem with him on this score. It is a mistake that could easily be made by someone who didn’t have experience dealing with clients in this weird situation. I can easily see tax software noting that no FICA & MC taxes were withheld from Geithner’s W2 and adding the employee’s half to the his income tax liability but ignoring the employer’s half because that’s normally (effectively always) the responsibility of the employer. Except the IMF has some special status with the U.S. Government and they don’t have to pay that, so that responsibility fell to Geithner as well. But since he wasn’t an expert, he just saw that his software added to his liability for unpaid FICA & MC and assumed that the amounts were correct.

    In short, I’d dearly love to find out exactly what went with Mr. Geithner’s taxes, because I want to know how much of his mistake was lack of specialized expertise and how much was (How Could You Be That Stupid)ity.

  108. 108
    David Hunt says:

    So, as long as the IRS sent him notice that he owed, for example 2001 taxes within 3 years of his filing that year’s return—probably April of 2005—the IRS can enforce the obligation for up to ten years from the date of the notice of assessment. Clearly, we have not reached that date yet, have we?

    Based on what I’ve read, Geithner was notified of the shortfall in 2006. This notice covered 2003 & 2004. If we assume that his 2002 and earlier returns were filed in a timely manner, it makes perfect sense to assume that his earlier returns were no longer within the time period that the IRS could make an assessment on, short of evidence of outright fraud. Geithner gave the rest of the money to the U.S. Government when Obama’s vetting team found the error in his earlier returns, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that he wasn’t under any legal obligation to pay the money and that it was done as a public gesture.

  109. 109
    paragonpark says:

    That makes no sense whatsoever. As a contractor one receives a 1099 which merely states the gross amount the contracting entity paid the IK. There is no w-2.

    Then, when the person prepares his return he reports no wages or salary but files a Schedule C showing profit or loss from business and enters the appropriate amount on the 1040. Then, when calculating AGI, one takes the deduction for 1/2 of the self employment tax where it helpfully reads "attach Schedule SE"; That is , obviously, the schedule used to calculate the self-employment tax owed, which goes in the "other tax section" of the 1040 where reference to Schedule SE is again made.

    Schedule SE contains nothing that could possibly cause a person to mistakenly pay only half the SE tax owed. Basically it simply instructs you to pay a certain percentage of your net earnings. If you make less than $97.5K or $12.090 plus 2.9% of your net earnings if you make more than that. (SS/FICA is capped but medicare is not and that’s 2.9%.)

  110. 110
    TenguPhule says:

    the question the Senators need to ask is whether they believe a person who willfully failed to paty his taxes in a timely manner

    Except the willful part only exists in WIngnut Troll Heads.

  111. 111
    paragonpark says:

    If the IRS did not notify him until 2006, it is likely it could assess back taxes for 2001 if he timely filed his 01 return. 2002 taxes would depend on the date of the notice in 2006 and whether it was more than three years after he filed his 2002 return in 2003.

    In any event, he "owes" the money. Statutes of limitations merely extinguish the right of a party to enforrce a claim they do mean the claim is not valid and that the person does not have a moral obligation to satisfy it. If you believe a person’s moral obligations are circumscribed by the availability of legal and procedural technicalities, I’d suggest you should have supported the Bush Administration where that view was popular.

    The real question is why didn’t he pay the money he owed at the time he was supposed to pay it. the legal stuff is just a smokescreen.

    Maybe he had a good reason. Maybe he was having financial difficulty and could not meet all his obligations. Maybe a sick relative needed help. Maybe he took a pay cut at IMF and had creditors dunning him. We don’t know.

    Maybe, though, Being a savvy financial whiz kid he likely knew that the IRS moves slowly, that unresolved tax assessments do not show up on credit reports and that the statutory interest is actually a pretty fair one and possibly below both the rate at which he could borrow money or the rate of return on investments he would have to liquidate in order to pay the tax man. That’s all perfectly legal and some people would see nothing wrong with it all. but, he shopuld be required to expalin himself and SOME people might think that type of behavior is not what they want in a Treasury Secretary.

  112. 112
  113. 113
    paragonpark says:

    Well explain how ANYONE let a lone a financial expert could honestly be that confused over the payment of self-employment taxes.

    I think it is beyongd rational argument that he willfully and deliberately did not pay the taxes in a timely fashion and he is likely making it look worse by trying to fabricate an oversight. He may have a good reason for the delay– many people do. I don’t see how anyone can be fooled though by these "I was confused" explanations, and if you are persuaded by that does it not give you pause that a man easily confused by simple IRS instructions that are written at a 10th grade level is in line to have a major role guding the global economy?

    Persoanlly, i’d rather have him know exactly what he was doing and looking to buy some time so he could keep more money in a profitable investment than be incompetent.

  114. 114
    paragonpark says:

    Here’s what the hacks at the NYT have to say:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01.....ef=opinion

    I agree. Am I in the minority (or even a lone voice) here?

  115. 115

    More than that, when FDDD and I had truly *extraordinary* sales tax deductions in a year when we put a 150,000 dollar extension on the demi-bunker, we got…wow…and almost identical note from the IRS, politely telling us that it thought we’d over-deducted.

    We replied, providing excruciating details in support of our numbers, and were rewarded, a few months later still, with a short note in which they agreed with us, and marked our case closed.

    Wow. We were treated special, just like a future treasury secretary.

  116. 116
    paragonpark says:

    Again, no one is claiming he received special treatment from the IRS.

    The issue is whether he is a person we want in charge of the Treasury when the naive true-believers thinnk he is incapable of successfully preparing a personal income tax return and the less credulous suspect he is smart enough to perform a task H&R Block finds thousands of people to do on a temp basis for very low pay but chose to prepare incorrect tax returns.

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @Thom:

    The three-year statute of limitation runs from the date the return is filed (or, if later, the date it is due). No return? Clock never starts running.

  118. 118
    burnspbesq says:

    @Paul L.:

    Umm, no, says a former IRS litigator. Fraud cases are a massive pain in the ass to bring, because of the burden of proof. In an ordinary tax case, the IRS’s determinations are presumed correct, and the taxpayer has to prove them wrong by a preponderance of the evidence (50 percent plus a little more).

    In a fraud case, the IRS has the burden of proof, and it must establish fraud by clear and convincing evidence. Which theoretically isn’t as much as "beyond a reasonable doubt," but the reality is that most judges on the U.S. Tax Court treat them identically.

    The only time I ever tried to prove fraud, I lost. The taxpayers were morons, and their lawyer successfully put on a "pure heart, empty head" defense.

  119. 119
    TenguPhule says:

    Being a savvy financial whiz kid he likely knew that the IRS moves slowly, that unresolved tax assessments do not show up on credit reports and that the statutory interest is actually a pretty fair one and possibly below both the rate at which he could borrow money or the rate of return on investments he would have to liquidate in order to pay the tax man.

    "It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate!"

  120. 120
    DFH no.6 says:

    Would someone please turn off this damnned paragonpark thing?

    It’s gotten stuck in an endlessly-repeating closed feedback loop and won’t shut down!

  121. 121
    paragonpark says:

    Yes, actually thinking about the relative likelihoods of alternative explanations being true, should be discouraged in favor of loyally accepting and unquestioningly believing whatever nonsense we are fed.

    That way if our leaders refuse to provide us with the facts they are immune from criticism because it must all be based on speculation. A world where people mindlessly accept implausible explanations or rationalizations would be ideal.

    Take heart. We’re about halfway there. A great many people mindlessly accept the nonsense from their side but we still haven’t gotten to the enlightened state where people accept the nonsense from people with whom they differ politically.

  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    and the less credulous suspect he is smart enough to perform a task H&R Block finds thousands of people to do on a temp basis for very low pay but chose to prepare incorrect tax returns.

    You’ve obviously never seen the error rate for H&R Block.

  123. 123
    TenguPhule says:

    Well explain how ANYONE let a lone a financial expert could honestly be that confused over the payment of self-employment taxes.

    Depends on how much information he needed to put in it and how long he spent filling it out.

    Without seeing the returns in question, I’d only be able to guess.

    On the other hand, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that many people can screw up their tax returns by accident, hell the IRS has found its own agents fuck up the things half the time when taxpayers ask for help.

  124. 124
    paragonpark says:

    I’m also puzzled why peole here think Obama should squander political capital on behalf of Geithner. What about his track record makes him a good choice, even if we were to assume his attention was coincidentally diverted four years in a row when it came time to figure his self-employment taxes?

    At the New York FRB he, at best, sat idly by and acquiesced while Citibabnk and many other institutions accumulated hugely disproportionate amounts of very risky debt securities which has obviously not turned out well by most reckonings. Now, he’s a cheerleader for throwing billions (or is it trillions) at these same institutions on the assumption that will trickle down and help us poor schmoes weather the storm.

    Why wouldn’t we embrace his casual attitude toward paying taxes as an opportunity for Obama to nominate someone who would be more out of place in the Bush Administration?

  125. 125
    paragonpark says:

    GOP opponents of Geithner should "think this through," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah., a member of the Senate Finance Committee that’s considering his nomination. "They’re not going to get anybody better than him from this administration for treasury secretary."

  126. 126
    paragonpark says:

    Of course, by "better" Mr. Hatch means more pro-big business, more opposed to higher taxes on the wealthy and more opposed to greater regulation of markets.

    Is that the idea of "better" here?

  127. 127
    DFH no.6 says:

    There you are, paragonpark, throwing out shit like:

    relative likelihoods of alternative explanations being true

    leaders refuse to provide us with the facts

    loyally accepting and unquestioningly believing whatever nonsense

    people mindlessly accept implausible explanations

    All of which has absolutely fuck-all to do with the quite reasonable defense of Geithner’s tax situation, but you can’t see that (or, alternatively, can but pretend not to; whatever).

    "It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate" territory, worse than hacktacular Roger Simon, except that you are, like the rest of us, just some random dickhead commenting on the internets while ol’ Roger gets on the TV with disheartening regularity.

    You know, there’s this whole imbroglio regarding an alleged Hawaiian birth certificate you should check into. Be a change of pace fer ya, and a bigger fish ta boot.

    Right up your alley.

  128. 128

    […] In another thread earlier today about Roger Simon’s hit piece in the Politico about Geithner, commenter Conservative Liberal said the following: […]

  129. 129
    TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat(Formerly Comrade Tax Analyst) says:

    paragonpark
    That makes no sense whatsoever. As a contractor one receives a 1099 which merely states the gross amount the contracting entity paid the IK. There is no w-2.

    That is generally true. A 1099 with Income in box 7 (non-employee compensation) does not/would not show FICA or Medicare tax withheld because it is not withheld from a non-employee. Note the wording, "Non-employee". That should be your tip-off that the employer is not paying a share of Social Security or Medicare Tax. That means the Taxpayer is responsible for those payments, and that means you need to complete and file Schedule SE to compute those amounts.

    Then, when the person prepares his return he reports no wages or salary but files a Schedule C showing profit or loss from business and enters the appropriate amount on the 1040. Then, when calculating AGI, one takes the deduction for 1/2 of the self employment tax where it helpfully reads "attach Schedule SE"; That is , obviously, the schedule used to calculate the self-employment tax owed, which goes in the "other tax section" of the 1040 where reference to Schedule SE is again made.

    That is also correct. If you any type of Income Tax Software it SHOULD prompt you to do Schedule SE if you have any Net Schedule C income over $400.

    Schedule SE contains nothing that could possibly cause a person to mistakenly pay only half the SE tax owed. Basically it simply instructs you to pay a certain percentage of your net earnings. If you make less than $97.5K or $12.090 plus 2.9% of your net earnings if you make more than that. (SS/FICA is capped but medicare is not and that’s 2.9%.)

    That’s pretty much true. As much as they may confuse you on occasion, almost all IRS forms are mechanical calculations. They seem crazy and oftentimes incredibly repetitious, but if you fill in the amounts where you are supposed to the forms do various calculations and comparisons (or if not using a computer program, it will ask YOU to do them). Sometimes you have to read the instructions, which is why people with complex returns ought to go to a knowledgeable tax professional, since that part of Income Tax preparation is really a kinda sucky experience for the most part. But if you follow the drill and work the numbers on down the form or worksheet it will lead you to the correct answer.

    Trust me on this, because before I was TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat I was Comrade Tax Analyst, and that’s still what I get paid for every two weeks…honest.

  130. 130

    Geithner strikes me as either stupid or careless and Obama should dump his ass. Seriously, Geithner is apparently too stupid to have either hired a decent accountant or to have purchased TurboTax Deluxe and used it for his taxes. I mean really, I’m a computer geek, several years ago I had a fairly complex tax situation because I had capital gains, AMT on exercised stock options and had spent time working abroad. I looked at the huge stack of forms that I had to file for my taxes, hired an accountant, paid her 500 bucks to do my return and figure everything out and everything was fine. I have friends who are self-employed as consultants and real estate agents and who have tax situations every bit as complicated as Geithner’s was as a contract employee at the IMF and they manage to stay out of trouble with the IRS because they’re conscientious enough to hire a good accountant when they’re filing their taxes. If people like me can figure this out then why can’t someone who worked for the Treasury department, the IMF and who was President of the New York Fed? The fact that Geithner wants to be the secretary of the treasury and seems to be offering as his excuse for not paying his taxes that "1099s are hard and make my brain hurt" doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in his abilities.

  131. 131
    paragonpark says:

    In the broader world, the consensus appears to be that Geithner’s tax problems cannot be swept under the rug.

    As I have said, he may have a valid excuse but, the "honest mistake" line isn’t going to fly. It was a mistake to offer a defense that puts Geithner in a no win position. Most people obviously are extremely skeptical that a person in his position could make such a boneheaded mistake. But, to those who offer their opiniion it could be true, the question becomes how can a person who couldn’t figure out something that simple for four years can be considered the right choice for Treasury.

    I won’t be sad to see him lose the position (and it’s extremely unlikely he won’t) because I don’t much care for his policy positions but I would be opposed to someone whose positions closely matched my own with similar circumstances, not so much because he or she was late paying taxes but because I don’t approve of people who think they can talk their way out of difficulties without accepting responsibility.

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