5 New Ways the IRS Is Screwing America

Dumb disclosure laws, xenophobic banking regs, and worse

(Page 3 of 5)

3. Occupational Licensing Abuse

Speaking of your friendly neighborhood tax professionals, the IRS has found a new way to to harass them as well. Last year the agency introduced an arbitrary new set of occupational licensing requirements that force tax preparers to pay a host of new fees, pass a government exam, and sit still through 15 hours of classes every year. It's worth remembering that Congress already heavily regulates the tax preparing industry to prevent fraud and other crimes, but this is the first time tax preparers have been required to get the government’s permission before they could set up shop in the first place.

The Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, recently challenged the new rules in federal court. But in the meantime, independent operators and other small-scale entrepreneurs (and their customers) face the burden of sometimes crippling compliance costs. Their bigger, more established competitors, on the other hand, stand ready to reap the state-sanctioned benefits. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “Cheering the new regulations are big tax preparers like H&R Block, who are only too happy to see the feds swoop in to put their mom-and-pop seasonal competitors out of business.”

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  • ||

    If you're going to whore your articles for clicks, at least give us a nice slideshow with funny pictures like everyone else does.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's with the dearth of alt-text?
    And you forgot to pimp your book.
    Pimp it, yo! It ain't gonna pimp itself.

  • Suki||

    Reminder to those wondering why you get until tomorrow night to file your taxes: Reparations Day (aka, Emancipation Day) in DC. On this day in 1862, Honest Abe signed the law granting both emancipation and reparations for slavery.

  • squarooticus||

    Ironic that we get to fork over a bunch of the hard-earned fruits of our labor to the government under threat of imprisonment on "emancipation day".

  • Brett L||

    Well sure as hell not because of Patriots Day and our successful tax rebellion.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Specifically, it freed slaves in DC, not nationwide.

  • Suki||

    True dat! It was a little late for South Carolina.

  • anon||

    "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."

    Abraham Lincoln.

    It's amazing how the textbooks never quote this from him while making him out to be one of the best presidents in history.

    OT: I've found that you can become fairly educated in a public school by doing almost exactly the opposite of whatever they taught you.

  • some guy||

    They don't quote it because it ruins the narrative they use to rally the next generation behind the big-government banner.

  • Ice Nine||

    Good luck figuring out form TD 90-22.1, by the way. My tax professional (who charged me more than $1,000 for her services, though it was worth every penny), shrugged, and gave me a yellow highlighter so that maybe I could shed light on the relevant verbiage of TD 90-22.1

    Good lord! If your high dollar tax professional is perplexed by the FBAR (AKA TD 90-22.1), you need to seriously think about replacing her. I've been filing those things for years - and filling them out myself. Takes all of five minutes. (Which is not to say that I like the idea of having to do so.)

  • some guy||

    It probably takes all of five mintues because you've been filing those for years. How long did it take you to figure it out the very first time you saw it (including time spent compiling relevant information and double-checking everything)?

  • Ice Nine||

    Ten minutes.

  • some guy||

    OK, then, you're either at the 'genius' end of the tax preparer bell curve or you have a very cavalier attitude towards tax filing. For the rest of us, new tax forms tend to induce a great deal of anxiety and confusion.

  • Ice Nine||

    Bullshit - I am neither. The problem is here is that you don't know what you're talking about.
    Name, address, etc. Name, address and country of bank, acct number, max value of acct for year, signature. *That's it*. Don't believe me? - look at the form.

  • rxc||

    I fill out the same form every year using Turbitax, and TurboTax screws it up every year. I have to go in and check each field to see that they are correctly entered, and then print it out separately from the return. Takes about 15 minutes for ONE account, in France.

    I am waiting to get a letter from my French bank that they don't want me any more. That would make it IMPOSSIBLE to live here, because a bank account is so important to just exist. If you bounce a check here, the French national bank revokes your banking priveleges for a year, which is an extremely nasty penalty.

    It would also be IMPOSSIBLE for me to sell my house and move back to the US without a bank account.

  • rxc||

    I fill out the same form every year using Turbitax, and TurboTax screws it up every year. I have to go in and check each field to see that they are correctly entered, and then print it out separately from the return. Takes about 15 minutes for ONE account, in France.

    I am waiting to get a letter from my French bank that they don't want me any more. That would make it IMPOSSIBLE to live here, because a bank account is so important to just exist. If you bounce a check here, the French national bank revokes your banking priveleges for a year, which is an extremely nasty penalty.

    It would also be IMPOSSIBLE for me to sell my house and move back to the US without a bank account.

  • creech||

    Are you kididng me? Bounce a check and no account for a year? Maybe the French aren't such wimps after all: our regulators expect, one suspects, that U.S. banks pay depositors for the privilege of bouncing checks!

  • Jerryskids||

    The estimated average burden associated with this collection of information is 75 minutes per respondent or record keeper, depending on individual
    circumstances. Comments regarding the accuracy of this burden estimate, and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the Internal
    Revenue Service, Bank Secrecy Act Policy, 5000 Ellin Road C-3-242, Lanham MD 20706.

    I hope you notified the IRS that they are way off on their estimate.

    But you didn't actually post a link to this simple form.

    You can read the form, check the various definitions and citations to make sure you correctly understand the form *and* fill in the form itself in 5 minutes?

    Quick, what does "An officer or employee of an entity that has a class of equity securities registered (or American depository receipts in respect of equity securities registered) under section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act is not required to report signature authority over a foreign financial account of such entity" mean and how does it potentially apply to you? (I won't even ask you to look at section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act and explain "any security that is otherwise registered pursuant to this section, or that would be required to be so registered except for the exemption from registration provided in subparagraph (B) or (G) of subsection (g)(2) of this section, subject to subparagraph (E) of this paragraph" to me.)

  • Ice Nine||

    It takes me five minutes to fill out the form that I know I am required to fill out, as I stated. How long it might take you to figure whether or not you are likewise required - that which you are going on about - is quite another matter.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I just copy off my last year's returns with maybe a few dollars' difference here or there. No red flags from this chap!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Before any other reforms, we need to get in enshrined in law that if the IRS fills out your taxes, then they don't get to audit them later unless they can prove that you gave them bad information. They don't get to play "Gotcha" on decisions they made.

    I ain't holding my breath.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Why don't you just fantasize the repeal of the 16th Amendment?

  • Loki||

    bring in an extra $8 billion in receipts over the next 10 years, or less than $1 billion per year. This for a federal government that spends $1 billion every two and a half hours.

    Hey, that's 20 hours worth of spending over the next decade that we won't have to borrow to fund. Why borrow the money when they can just steal it?

  • ||

    Without question, in my mind at least, the federal government has become a ravenous monster that preys on the american people. When the time comes to kill it, and that time is coming, it will begin not with guns in the street, but with americans refusing to pay taxes.

  • sarcasmic||

    No it won't. It will come when people refuse to purchase federal debt. When this happens the Fed will buy it, and the rapidly increasing money supply will result in hyperinflation. At some point the government will collapse because the currency will be worthless.
    Then an officially socialist government will arise from the rubble, and the experiment in liberty will be officially over.

  • anon||

    Fucking hell, between you and Dean my hopes are always crushed.

    However, note that when the socialist system collapses (inevitable), we can start over with capitalism again.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    Most of the people who are 'fire arms averse' are the ones with the socialist leanings. Mao said power stems from the barrel of something ... what was that? Can't remember. I think anon's alternate outcome is the more likely, unless the Military steps in.

  • anon||

    Well, to be fair, I'm very firearms-averse when one's pointed at me.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    pussy

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, sarc, that's pretty much the way I see it.

    Maybe a 1 in 10 chance that what rises from the rubble won't be centralized authoritarianism.

  • Lord Humungus||

    History sez: yes, liberty is just a faint glimmer versus the tide of oppression.

  • sarcasmic||

    How exactly would people "refuse to pay taxes" anyway?

    Do you mean people en mass changing their withholding to 16 or something?

  • anon||

    Shit, I have mine at 10.

  • Jerryskids||

    LOL - I remember exactly where I was when the news broke that a massive bomb blast had just ripped through a federal office building in Oklahoma City. My brother and I were standing in the maintenance office at a college and, I shit you not, our immediate reaction was to look at each other and simultaneously say "Sure hope that was an IRS office".

    Oh, you should have seen the outrage - the secretary actually started crying - to our callousness at even thinking about joking about such a horrible thing. My brother and I had to slink off somewhere where we could privately ask each other "What the fuck is wrong with these people that they thought we were joking?"

    That's how likely it is you are ever going to see any attempt to kill the monster - it's a joke.

  • ||

    Yah, what is needed is another OKC every day...for a few weeks. Then there will be some changes. When fascists and slavers are afraid to go to work, the monster will die.

  • Rich||

    "Over the last ten years there have been about 4,428 changes to the tax code, or more than one a day, including about 579 changes in 2010 alone."

    This alone is sufficient reason to vote out every incumbent.

  • anon||

    But then WHO WILL PROTECT TEH CHILDRUZ!?!?!?!?!??

  • CatoTheElder||

    Sounds like a pretty good way to prepare for the

    "CONFISCATION OF THE PROPERTY OF ALL EMIGRANTS AND REBELS."

  • Bilbo||

    The tax code is a subsidy to CPAs and software companies".....

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'ma gonna print that Cash poster out and put it in my back car window.

    Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll catch some Team Bluetard trying to vandalize my ride, give the cops something meaningful to do... maybe shoot their dog, even.

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