Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Tax Time

Our own taxes still aren't done. But this time of year means a whole lot more to me now than it used to, because the place I work puts out an IRS Report each year around this time. We got decent press attention, with good stories from the AP and New York Times and Business Week. You can check the coverage using Google News or Yahoo News.

Of course the IRS rebutted, but their arguments are interesting. One is that our conclusions are wrong because the IRS misclassifies financial services companies. According to David Cay Johnston in the Times:
The I.R.S. said no disparity existed and blamed flaws in its own statistical reporting system.
Oops.

Another is that they have audits of these companies performed by auditors whose expertise is not in finance. This from the Business Week story:
Nolan also said the data categorizes the audits according to the specialization of the auditor conducting the examination, not the company's business.
Oops.

The IRS also says that it's all about where the audits take place. In the AP story:
Nolan said the IRS studies its audit coverage each year to make sure the right number of agents are being sent to the right geographic areas and handling the right type of returns, focusing on areas with a high risk of tax evasion.
Interesting that they'd be able to do this, since they've denied our FOIA requests for geographic audit data on the grounds that they no longer collect that information. Oops again.

We're going to make more news with respect to the IRS later this week. Stay tuned...

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