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October 10, 2015

Open Thread: Death and Taxes, But Mostly Taxes [Y-not]

Here are a couple of tax-related links for your amusement... errr, annoyance.

Via Heritage: Audit: IRS Fails Transparency Test on Over 1 in 10 FOIA Requests

A new audit shows that the Internal Revenue Service improperly withheld information from requesters under the Freedom of Information Act 12.3 percent of the time.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, the IRS' auditor, reviewed a statistically valid sample of 65 FOIA requests and found eight requests for which the tax collector improperly withheld information.

"The eight cases we identified included improperly withheld information of examination and collection activity and other tax return information that the taxpayer or authorized Power of Attorney should have received," the audit states.

Extrapolated, some 346 FOIA/Privacy Act requests may have had information erroneously withheld between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, according to the audit.

We're in Day 884 of the IRS Scandal and still no orange jumpsuits.


Speaking of taxes, Bobby Jindal unveiled his tax plan this week:

"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and revenues too low. The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now."

Ronald Reagan didn't say that. It wasn't Art Laffer, it wasn't Larry Kudlow and I can't take credit.

It was John F. Kennedy.

Both parties grasp for his and Reagan's mantle, but they had more in common than either side cares to admit. Both fought communism, both advocated peace through strength and both understood the central rule of economics: When taxes are lowered, revenues rise and growth follows.

Sensible tax reform plans emulate this model. The one I released yesterday is no exception.

It reduces seven personal tax brackets to three: 2%, 10% and 25%. It eliminates the death tax, the gift tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax and the marriage penalty. It closes almost all loop holes and deductions and it repeals every tax in Obamacare.

**UPDATE: Chemjeff asked what Jindal would do about the Earned Income Tax Credit. Here's what I learned:

Jindal wants to flatten the tax code and have only three rates: a 2% bracket for singles making up to $10,000 (married $20,000), a 10% bracket for singles making up to $90,000 (married $180,000), and a top rate of 25% for those making above those amounts. Currently, the top rate is around 40%, so this would be a significant reduction for higher wage earners and a shot in the arm for unincorporated small businesses.

But the key element that is so wonderful in Jindal's plan is that almost everyone pays taxes. Personal exemptions are eliminated (though there are still exemptions for dependent children). Unlike Trump's plan, where he would take huge numbers of people off the tax rolls, Jindal would keep most people paying at least some tax. This is vitally important, because once large numbers of people stop paying income taxes, they have no problem voting for politicians who promise higher taxes and/or higher spending, because it costs them nothing.

If you do some Googling, you'll find a range of opinions about Jindal's plan.**

Here's a summary from James Pethokoukis at AEI of the GOP candidates' tax plans thus far.

For another perspective, Michael Tanner from CATO evaluated the candidates' positions on taxes last June.

"Tax reform" doesn't really get me excited, but I am excited by this headline at MSNBC: GOP candidates' budget-busting tax breaks could define 2016 race.

CUTTING REVENUE. That's what I want.


Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:46 AM

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