Monday, March 9, 2009

Tax Collectors Wanted

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

In two seemingly unrelated announcements:

1. IRS has done away with private tax collection practices. They never worked anyway.

2. IRS is hiring 568 new revenue officers, the folks (I was one for 27+ years) who collect taxes when people can pay but won't. "Tax collectors" in most other parts of the world, those whose patron saint is Matthew. In Laguna Niguel (SoCal) they're even offering a $5,000 hiring bonus, according to the Orange County Register. That's new. It ain't easy to find people who actually want to be tax collectors. Here's the story of how I became one.

It's not easy to find out about these openings. Try googling revenue officer + hiring + (name of a city you are interested in working in) and/or visit any IRS office and inquire.

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Can't have it both ways, plunging government revenue and soaring promises that turn into public demands, without massive tax increases which, in turn, discourage the very endeavors that produce taxable private revenue. NJ is among the tanking state economies. John Corzine promised to use his experience at Goldman Sachs to bring order to the NJ budget. Ooops.

Still, he's better off than Arnold. Redeeming those RWs yet Arnold? No, I didn't think so. Memo to Californians: Adjust your withholding.

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Why doesn't TimmyG have a deputy or any undersecretaries? Hint: Sanjay Gupta didn't want any part of being Surgeon General for the same reasons. This may not be the ideal administration to hitch your wagon or your reputation to. Who really wants to part of it given its missteps so far? (Hillary, did I see your hand go up?) We might get Dr. Howard Dean in the job. Maybe it's the best he can do. Yee-hah!

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The more you drive, the more you pay. Sounds reasonably fair, right? One alternative is for government to monitor your driving and tax you on the number of miles you drive. The prez says not on his watch, immediately contradicting SecTrans Ray LaHood's comments. Problem is, gas tax revenue goes down when you improve gas mileage and switch to alternative fuels. Government's gonna get you one way or the other. Look for this one to re-surface soon if Congress gets serious. Oregon is getting serious about it already. You're going to pay more either way, count on it.

Congress wants the money you're giving to charities. If you're "wealthy" then the deductibility of your charitable contributions is going to be limited, resulting in higher tax without a "tax increase". Think about the beneficiaries of your charitable contributions, then think about how well Congress will use your money. That'll make strong men weep. Disclaimer: I help operate this charity.

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One of the problems these days is that there are no responsible plans issuing from the other side of the aisle. There isn't one single viable national alternative to anything that the Obama administration is doing. We can't have a meaningful dialog if one side isn't talking.

Can't anyone here play this game? -- Casey Stengel

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