Tuesday, March 21, 2006

IRS double talk called by Barak Obama

On Dec. 7, the IRS issued a news release titled "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information". Odd thing about this news release is that hidden in the proposal is language allowing third party tax preparers (you know... H&R - Block and so on) to sell your tax return to marketers and data brokers!

Of course we should have looked for the double talk by the IRS because they are part and parcel of the Bush administration. Now allowing tax returns to be sold by tax preparers is safeguarding taxpayer information. That indeed is a novel (read Orwellian) definition of safeguarding.

Now before proceeding let me, in the interest of full disclosure, advise readers that I am a very big fan of Senator Barack Obama. I feel deep down in my bones that he will be President of the United States at some point in his life and I look forward to that election.

The Detroit Free Press details how Senator Obama is making a bit of a fuss about all this.
Criticism of the proposal also came from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. In a letter March 14 to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, Obama warned that, once in the hands of third parties, tax information could be resold and handled under even looser rules than the IRS sets, increasing consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and other risks.
This truly seems to be a no brainer. I mean we are talking about selling the actual tax returns! And we all know how reputable marketing firms and data collection agencies are right? There really is no chance that your information will get sold by them to inmate 6327924 or anything untoward like that right?

All that the tax preparer must do to be able to sell your return is to get your signature. I personally do not use tax preparers, (unless you count my fiancee) but I bet there are 15 different lines you have to sign when they do your forms. I can just imagine how they get your signature for this.

Tax preparer: "Sign here, this allows us to represent you to the IRS."
Customer: "Ok"
Tax preparer: "Now sign here, this instructs the IRS to send your return to your home address."
Customer: "Ok"
Tax preparer: "Signing this means if we made a mistake on your form you are not financially responsible for fees or civil penalties."
Customer: "Ok"
(5 minutes of signing stuff later)
Tax preparer: "Sign this" (a form with 52 lines of single spaced microscopic print that includes permission for the preparer to sell your return) "This is our privacy disclosure form. It basically says that your tax return is private and only we can control it's final disposition"
99% of their customers: "Ok"
Tax preparer: "Now this form asks if you wish to donate any of your return to federal elections." etc...

The regulatory change needed to make this possible had to be proposed by the financial industry. (I have no way to confirm this, but who else could POSSIBLY think this is a good idea.) I think it would be fantastic if Senator Obama would go beyond writing to the IRS and make this an issue with legislation to stop the practice before it begins.

This whole issue is a distortion by Obama. You have always been allowed to sell your own tax returns or assign the rights to sell them. The new regulations just state that they CANNOT be sold without your written permission. This is protection for taxpayers.

Obama inexplicably warned that this was a bad thing. And you fell for it. I really wouldn't want that idiot for president.
Obama Votes Nay
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