Saturday, January 14, 2006

Now IRS is Harassing the Poor

From common dreams

Some of the press are starting to get the drill. Give us something like the West Virginia coal mine disaster, and instead of standing around emoting like Geraldo Rivera, a few reporters have enough sense to ask the obvious question: What is this mine's safety record? And when it turns out to be abysmal, a few more reporters have enough sense to ask: Who's in charge of doing something after a mine gets 205 safety violations in one year? Where's the Mine Safety and Health Administration? Who runs it? What's their background — are they professionals or mining industry stooges? Who's the Michael "Heckuvajob" Brown in this outfit? Why are so many jobs at MSHA just left completely unfilled? How much has MSHA's budget been cut since 2001 to pay for tax cuts for the rich? [...]

Hundreds of thousands of poor Americans have had their tax refunds frozen and their returns labeled fraudulent, according to the IRS's taxpayer advocate, Nina Olson. Testifying before Congress this week, Olson said the average income of these taxpayers is $13,000. Olson and her staff sampled the suspected returns and found that, at most, one in five was questionable.

The poor citizens are seeking refunds under the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Reagan program to help the working poor. The total possible tax fraud amount involved in these returns is $9 billion — compared to the $100 billion problem with fraud by small businessmen who deal in cash. That's the kind of shrewd administration we've come to expect from the Bushies. Olson points out it is not only unfair, but also a waste of time. Meanwhile, mind-boggling sums in taxes are being evaded by those at the other end of the income scale. (more)


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