Tag: ‘Nina Olson’

Taxing the Rich: It’s a Plan Abroad, Too

By :: January 21st, 2015

The State of the Union: Tax reform depends on where you are sitting. In his State of the Union Address last night, President Obama called on Congress to address wealth inequality through the tax code, largely by increasing the capital gains tax and imposing a bank tax to fund tax relief for middle-income earners. Senate […]

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The IRS Should Fix Its Letter Audit Program

By :: January 20th, 2015

The beleaguered IRS has two enormous challenges: It must rebuild its reputation to win congressional support for the funding it needs to do its job. And, because it will never get all the money it needs, it must spend the dollars it does have more wisely. It can start by improving the way it communicates with […]

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An Agency Wronged, A Minor Tax Maligned

By :: January 15th, 2015

The IRS is unable to do right by taxpayers, says the National Taxpayer Advocate. In its annual report to Congress, the in-house IRS watchdog finds that the agency’s  budget cuts have eroded taxpayer service, especially for low-income taxpayers. At the same time the lack of effective administrative and congressional oversight has eroded taxpayer protections. US […]

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Don’t Turn Over IRS Debt Collections to Private Contractors

By :: May 22nd, 2014

The latest example of why bipartisanship is not necessarily good: A bill proposed by senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Roberts (R-KN) to require the IRS to hire private debt collectors. The last time Congress made the IRS try this, the agency lost money. It was a terrible idea then and it is a terrible idea now. Schumer and Roberts slipped […]

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Do Low-Income Taxpayers Cheat?

By :: July 18th, 2013

My blog last Tuesday on overblown concerns about people falsely claiming subsides under the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges generated a lot of response. Much focused on my assertion that the income tax system operates remarkably well as a largely voluntary program. Their retort: I naively misjudged the willingness of low-income people to cheat. In […]

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Can the Income Tax Fund the Government We Want?

By :: February 5th, 2013

Can the income tax fund the government we seem to want? Probably not. Will lawmakers create a revenue system that will? Not anytime soon. That was the consensus of four tax policy experts at an Urban Institute panel I moderated this afternoon. The panelists–historian Joe Thorndike, Urban Institute economist and tax reform veteran Gene Steuerle, […]

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