Internal Revenue Service

Bloomberg has an absolutely infuriating story out today about a whistle-blower attempt to rein in an outfit called Alliantgroup, which helps companies score extremely aggressive (and, the whistle-blowers allege, illegal) tax credits. According to the piece: The firm also helps companies sidestep taxes, two former employees alleged in July 2009. In a 32-page submission filed with the Internal Revenue Service, along with internal e-mails and documents, they claimed Alliantgroup’s clients could owe the U.S. Treasury as much as $712.5 million in refunds over wrongly claimed tax credits.

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Almost thirty years ago, the Nixon revisionist Joan Hoff pronounced that Watergate was fast becoming a “dim and distant curiosity.” She couldn’t have been more wrong. Few people under the age of 50 are liable to get a reference to a “modified limited hang-out,” but Nixon’s gallery of White House horrors remains the benchmark against which presidential wrongdoing is measured. While anniversaries of lesser scandals like the Lewinsky affairs and even Iran-contra come and go with little attention from the news media, Watergate remembrances persist.

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If you’re still filling out your tax forms, it may be tempting to cut some corners and tell a few white lies. But as the ethics-deficient politicians listed below can tell you, tax evasion doesn’t end well. Here’s a guide on “what-not-to-do,” courtesy of political figures, past and present.  Spiro Agnew. The only vice president to resign due to criminal charges, Agnew left office in 1973 just ten months before Richard Nixon’s departure would have made him president.

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Don't miss today's Wall Street Journal editorial explaining why Mitt Romney is actually getting soaked by the Internal Revenue Service. "The White House and its media allies figure they've now got their stereotype of the Monopoly man," the Journal moans, "albeit without his cane and top hat, who they can crush in their planned class-warfare campaign." Well, yeah. He did say his effective tax rate is about 15 percent, thanks to preferential treatment for capital gains and carried interest.

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Ron Paul has recently suggested there was only a “total of about eight or ten sentences” of “bad stuff” in the newsletters that he regularly used to publish under his name. This assertion was patently false: As TNR has shown, the newsletters contained dozens of statements marked by bigotry and conspiratorial thinking.

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If Democrats had it to do all over again, would they really frame the individual health-insurance mandate in the 2010 health law in the way that they did? In “The Mandate Miscalculation,” a recent article I wrote for The New Republic, I argue that Congress and the president made three miscalculations in one—a miscalculation about the courts, another about the politics, and a third about the policy itself.

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When you're a conservative and you find yourself stumbling over the inequality issue, who you gonna call? Alan Reynolds, senior fellow with the Cato Institute! And so Reynolds is once again on the Wall Street Journal editorial page declaring that income inequality is a statistical illusion brought about by technical changes in the tax law that alter what income gets reported to the Internal Revenue Service and what income does not.

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The Turnaround Men

Just after dawn on a cool morning in September 2008, two FBI agents and a police officer walked into the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and took the security elevator up to the twenty-third floor, where they knocked on the door of a high-roller haven known as the Grand Lakeview Suite. A Minnesota businessman named Tom Petters answered wrapped in a bathrobe. After a moment’s hesitation, he invited them in.

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The Pale King By David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown, 548 pp., $27.99) Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will By David Foster Wallace (Columbia University Press, 252 pp., $19.95) Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace By David Lipsky (Broadway Books, 320 pp., $16.99) I. Today we think of the 1920s as a golden age of American fiction. But to Edmund Wilson, looking back in 1944, the most striking thing about this modern generation, which he did more than any critic to foster, was its failure to reach full development.

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In addition to being a highly effective poverty reduction tool, the Earned Income Tax Credit has been found to have a slew of other positive effects on recipients and their families. And in a decade that kicked off with an economic downturn and saw incomes stagnate and decline through a jobless recovery, the EITC tracked well with changes in a growing low-income population, bringing an economic boost into struggling communities at tax time.  But questions remain about how effective the EITC is in a downturn as steep as the one we’ve just experienced, as unemployment rises and it takes longer f

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