Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Updates on IRS and Garson

Well, folks, the IRS has just tacked on a additional week's grace period to file the taxes if you are "affected by the major storm that hit the Northeastern United States April 16." The IRS's benevolence may or may not be appropriate, but my concerns expressed in the previous posting still stand and indeed, are amplified.

As Adam Smith observed:

"The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person. Where it is otherwise every person subject to the tax is put more or less in the power of the tax‑gatherer, who can either aggravate the tax upon any obnoxious contributor, or extort, by the terror of such aggravation, some present or perquisite to himself. The uncertainty of taxation encourages the insolence and favours the corruption of an order of men who are naturally unpopular, even where they are neither insolent nor corrupt. The certainty of what each individual ought to pay is, in taxation, a matter of so great importance, that a very considerable degree of inequality, it appears, I believe, from the experience of all nations, is not near so great an evil as a very small degree of uncertainty."

By granting an additional blanket extention, the IRS has further diminished the certainty.

The IRS's unusual act of grace may well have been the result of a calculated comparison between the evils of this additional uncertainty on one hand, and the prospect of being confronted with too many individual case-by-case decisions on the other. If so, then I respect and applaud the IRS's decision. But my premise still stands that there is a price to be paid for the IRS's calculated laxity.

In other IRS news, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson will soon step down to become CEO of the American Red DoubleCross. Commissioner Everson brought about some much-needed reforms to the IRS, and can be expected to do some much-deserved toochaskicking at the American Red Cross. I wish him the best of luck, because he will need it.

And ex-judge Gerald Garson, of whom I posted 2 weeks ago, has been convicted on 3 of 7 counts, including the most serious bribery charge. While the theoretical maximum time faced by Mr. Garson is 15 years (if the sentences are consecutive), the time for the most serious charge is 28 months to 7 years. The scheduled sentencing is 5 June 2007, but don't bet against postponements or other complications. Whatever sentence Judge Berry pronounces will tell us a lot about Judge Berry. I shall be quite surprised if Garson actually serves more than 4 years.
And maybe the IRS will review Garson's tax picture, if they haven't done so already. That will give him something to do while he is in prison.

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