Chicago Tribune story about how IRS employees are held to super-exacting standards when it comes to paying their income taxes. And how IRS folks are annoyed that bigwigs such at Tim "Turbo Tax" Geithner are not.
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.
"Our members are upset and angry," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, referring to concern bubbling up within the IRS over unusually strict rules that can cost agents their jobs if they make a mistake.
In some cases, IRS employees have lost jobs for simply filing a late return or failing to report a few hundred dollars of interest income.
I'm not overly sympathetic to IRS agents, but I see the point. And then there's this great Soviet-apparatchik like comment:
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told reporters Monday that there is no discrimination when it comes to tax enforcement.
"The American people are pretty smart," he said. "They understand that people who are nominated for high office are going to be put under a level of scrutiny. They also understand the tax code is incredibly complex."
Actually, the American people are pretty pissed off because they realize the tax code is incredibly comples. In fact, it's impossibly complex.