Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

Archive for January 3rd, 2003

Posted by taxguru on January 3, 2003

Disservice Tax

As I constantly have to remind people, the issue usually isn’t what the tax rate is; but what is subject to tax. That’s why a flat income tax rate wouldn’t really simplify things much. There would still be a lot of machinations in arriving at the taxable income figure.

In this same vein is the issue of sales taxes. Historically, most states only assess sales taxes on the sales and leases of tangible items and don’t include payments for most services, such as legal and accounting fees. However, when a state becomes desperate for money, as is the case in the PRC, historical tradition can easily be tossed overboard. Since most politicians are very short sighted, they will be oblivious to the long term consequences of this quick fix.

KMK

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Posted by taxguru on January 3, 2003

President to Seek Dividend Tax Cut

This will only happen if Bush can resist the temptation to cave into the class envy rhetoric from the lefties who claim that this would be a break for only evil rich people.

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Posted by taxguru on January 3, 2003

Scandal Waiting To Happen

IRS is promoting its readiness for the upcoming filing season and advertising some improvements to its legendary customer service. A new upcoming feature of their website is the ability to log in and check the status of a refund. It’s not functional yet, as can be seen on the page where it’s supposed to be. While I have always been a big fan of self service functions on the web, such as tracking UPS and FedEx packages, I’m predicting that this won’t be around very long before its lack of privacy controls leads to abuses, such as thefts from mailboxes. All you will need to enter on the IRS website is the name, Social Security number and amount to gain access to what should be confidential information.

As I’ve commented on many times before, the genie has long been out of the bottle in regard to the privacy of Social Security numbers. They are used on so many documents, that it isn’t hard at all for people to have access to that and use it to check on upcoming refund checks. The only solution to this will probably be for IRS to assign taxpayers with a another new ID number that can be kept secret. Social Security numbers are anything but secret. Other security options may be scans of fingerprints or eyeballs, as in the movie Minority Report, in order to verify one’s identity.

KMK

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Posted by taxguru on January 3, 2003

Outnumbered

As Bruce Bartlett mentions, it’s a full time and seemingly futile job debunking the constant media lies about the US economy and how it works. He has the same pet peeve that I have, with the unending distortions of the facts related to the Reagan tax cuts and the deficit.

Normally, spreading the truth would be quite an uphill battle by people such as Mr. Bartlett and me. However, the monopoly on the news by the normal liberal outlets has been broken. It shouldn’t be any surprise, as this study by the Pew Research Center indicates, that once people have been exposed to the wealth of information available on the Internet, they start to rely on it much more than the conventional print and broadcast outlets.

KMK

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