Take More From You, Pay More to Themselves
IRS Draws New Criticism Over $70M Employee Bonuses
Does the IRS truly serve you? Does the income tax? Does taxation in general? What if government took its sights off private property and instead only recovered common wealth or socially-generated values? This 2013 excerpt is from Associated Press, Jun 19.
by Stephen OhlemacherThe IRS notified its employee union March 25 that it intended to reclaim about $75 million that had been set aside for discretionary employee bonuses. However, Sen. Grassley said, his office has learned that the IRS never followed up on the notice. Instead, the IRS negotiated a new agreement with the bargaining unit to pay about $70 million in employee bonuses.
The National Treasury Employees Union says the bonuses are legally required as part of the collective bargaining agreement. Grassley says the original agreement allows for the re-appropriation of such award funding in the event of budgetary shortfall.
Federal spending cuts, known as "sequestration," are resulting in at least five unpaid furlough days this year for the IRS' 90,000 employees. On these days, the agency is closed and taxpayers cannot access many of the agency's programs.
The IRS has been under fire since last month. Then IRS officials acknowledged that agents had improperly targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. A few weeks later, the agency's inspector general issued a report documenting lavish employee conferences during the same time period. More recently, the IRS admitted to targeting progressive groups, too. Much of the agency's top leadership has been replaced since the scandals broke.
The agency needs its budget, especially as it ramps up to play a major role in implementing the new health care law.
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JJS: You sure you want a government agency with as much power as the IRS? Especially while tax laws run into the thousands of pages and require specialists to interpret? Remember, complexity is the enemy of equity.
But if were to keep the IRS, we ought to make it user-friendly. How?
* Make all disputes with the IRS not criminal offenses but civil cases.
* Require the IRS to use all its resources on big disputes for millions of dollars and turn to small cases over mere hundreds of dollars only if the agency has any remaining resources.
* Empower the IRS to return to Congress any tax law that’s too long and complex to enforce.
If we’re to keep the income tax, we ought to make it payer-friendly. How? Make it a flat rate with zero loopholes for anything. Instead of trying to tax the rich, quit creating them and do that by abolishing corporate welfare and the private retention of natural rents. Use taxes, fees, dues, leases, whatever, to redirect society’s spending for land and resources away from a few elite pockets, into the public treasury. Then use the raised revenue to pay everyone a dividend. This rent-share would take the sting out of the income tax, if you still want to keep levying it.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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