U.S. To Increase Efforts Against Tax Defiers
If you THINK paying taxes is unfair, illegal or unconstitutional, then watch out — the Justice Department is after you. (Hmmm... just wait until you find out about the MILLIONS wasted by the Federal employees using the government welfare credit cards also paid for by the taxpayers! ~ SadInAmerica)
Just as the Internal Revenue Service is getting into its perennial tax-season tough talk, Justice Department officials weighed in Tuesday with a vow to ramp up efforts against “tax defiers.”
A tax defier is not a wealthy individual who buys a sophisticated tax shelter in a fraudulent effort to shield legitimate income from taxes. Nor is a defier a taxpayer who has a difference of opinion with the I.R.S. over deductions, or one who challenges specific tax policies enacted by Congress.
A tax defier, according to a Justice Department statement, is someone who “seeks to deny and defy the fundamental validity of the tax laws.”
“The tax defier is someone who rejects the legal foundation of the tax system, despite decades of legal(?) precedent upholding the system’s constitutional(?) and statutory validity(?), and who takes specific and concrete action to violate the law(?),” the department’s statement said.
Such people were once more commonly known as tax protesters. A spokesman for Justice said Tuesday that the department official who announced the new program, Nathan J. Hochman, the assistant attorney general for the tax division, “is calling them defiers because he feels ‘protesters’ implies constitutionally protected rights.”
Prominent among them is the actor Wesley Snipes, who was convicted in February by a federal jury on several tax-related charges but was acquitted of more serious tax charges. Mr. Snipes was found to have failed to file returns or pay taxes from 1999 through 2001, but was acquitted of charges that he failed to do the same from 2002 through 2004, after he said he learned that he was the target of a criminal tax investigation.
The name of the new program — the National Tax Defier Initiative, or TaxDef — was a source of some amusement Tuesday among tax policy specialists.
But one such specialist, the financial consultant J J MacNab, said TaxDef would make “what’s going on in a hodgepodge way into a national program.”
Since 2001, the Justice Department has won more than 300 civil injunctions against tax promoters and preparers; a third of which involved tax-defier activity. The efforts brought in $600 million in unpaid taxes, it said.
New York Times _ April 9, 2008 - posted at www.roguegovernment.com
Now, about this government welfare credit card...
Federal employees charged millions of dollars for Internet dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie, lavish dinners and other questionable expenses to theirover a 15-month period, congressional auditors say.
A report by the, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, examined spending controls across the federal government following reports of credit-card abuse at departments including Defense, and Veterans Affairs.
The review of card spending at more than a dozen departments from 2005 to 2006 found that nearly 41 percent of roughly $14 billion in credit-card purchases, whether legitimate or questionable, did not follow procedure — either because they were not properly authorized or they had not been signed for by an independent third party as called for in federal rules to deter fraud.
For purchases over $2,500, nearly half — or 48 percent — were unauthorized or improperly received.
Out of a sample of purchases totaling $2.7 million, the government could not account for hundreds of laptop computers, iPods and digital cameras worth more than $1.8 million. In one case, thecould not say what happened to computer items making up 16 server configurations, each of which cost nearly $100,000.
Agencies often could not provide the required paperwork to justify questionable purchases. Investigators also found that federal employees sometimes double-billed or improperly expensed lavish meals and Internet dating for many months without question from supervisors; the charges were often noticed only after auditors or whistle-blowers raised questions.
"Breakdowns in internal controls over the use of purchase cards leave the government highly vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse," investigators wrote, calling the governmentwide failure rate in enforcing controls "unacceptably high."
"This audit demonstrates that continued vigilance over purchase card use is necessary," the 57-page report stated.
The report calls for the General Services Administration and Office of Management and Budget, both of which help administer the government's credit-card program, to set guidance to improve accounting for purchased items, particularly Palm Pilots, iPods and other electronic equipment that could be easily stolen.
OMB and GSA were also urged to tighten controls over convenience checks, which are a part of the credit-card program, and to remind federal employees that they will be held responsible for any items if the purchases are later deemed improper.
In response, both OMB and GSA agreed with portions of the report. But GSA administrator Lurita Doan noted the vast majority of federal employees use their cards properly and that many oversight measures already are in place. She acknowledged there is room for improvement but added that by using purchase cards the federal government saves about $1.8 billion in administrative costs each year.
"We agree that no level of abuse or misuse is acceptable," Doan wrote.
The GAO study comes amid increasing scrutiny of purchase cards, which are used by 300,000 federal employees and are directly payable by the U.S. government.
The AP reported Sunday that VA employees last year racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image. Government auditors have been investigating these and similar charges, citing past spending abuses.
In Tuesday's report, investigators did not seek to determine the extent of fraud or waste at each agency. They cited numerous cases of questionable spending, which they said represented what could be found government-wide, including the VA.
"The purchase card is a useful tool for the government, and in no way are we suggesting it shouldn't continue to be used widely," said, GAO's managing director of forensic audits and special investigations, in a telephone interview. "However, I would say these cases once again show that lack of internal controls cost taxpayers millions of dollars and thus continued focus is needed on improving these controls."
Among the expenditures cited in the report:
_An Agriculture Department employee fraudulently wrote 180 convenience checks for more than $642,000 to a live-in boyfriend over a six-year period. The money was used for gambling, car and mortgage payments, dinners and retail purchases that went unnoticed until USDA's inspector general received a tip from a whistle-blower. The employee, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement and, was sentenced last year to 21 months in prison and ordered to repay the money.
_U.S. Postal Service workers separately billed more than $14,000 tofor Internet dating services and a dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in ., for 81 people at a cost of $160 each for steaks and crab. The dinner bill also included more than 200 appetizers and more than $3,000 worth of wine and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.
In the Internet dating case, a postmaster charged $1,100 over 15 months for two online services, including the. The expenses went unnoticed for more than a year even though he was under internal investigation for viewing pornography on a government computer. The postmaster was eventually told to repay the Internet charges but faced no disciplinary action.
_At the, four employees purchased $77,700 in clothing and accessories at high-end clothing and sporting goods stores. The spending included more than $45,000 at Brooks Brothers and similar stores for tailor-made suits — $7,000 of which were purchased a week before . The credit-card holders said the items were for service members working at U.S. embassies with civilian attire. Pentagon rules allow purchases of civilian clothing when performing official duty, but generally only up to $860 per person.
_Justice Department and FBI employees charged $11,000 at afor coffee and "light" refreshments for 50 to 70 attendees for four days, averaging about $50 per person. Seventy percent of the total conference cost of $15,000 was for the food and beverages, while audiovisual and other support services totaled only about $4,000, or 30 percent of the charges. It was not clear what action, if any, that Justice took in light of the conference expenses, which GAO deemed excessive.
_At the State Department, one credit-card holder bought $360 worth of women's lingerie at Seduccion Boutique for use during jungle training by trainees of a drug enforcement program in. One State Department official later agreed that the charge was questionable and stated that he would not have approved the purchase had he known about it.
"Too many government employees have viewed purchase cards as their personal line of credit," said, R-Minn., the top Republican on the Senate on investigations, which requested the GAO report. "When money that was intended to pay for critical infrastructure, education and homeland security is instead being spent on iPods, lingerie and socializing, we must immediately remedy the problem."
, D-Mich., who chairs the investigations subcommittee, agreed. "Although internal controls over have improved, we still have a long way to go to stop the fraudulent use of these cards," he said.
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer - April 8, 2008 - posted at http://news.yahoo.com
So there you have it folks, but remember, you're not allowed to bitch on April 15th. Just make sure you aren't late getting those taxes files. By the looks of things, that government welfare credit card bill is probably due.
(Sighing....) This kind of shit makes me FURIOUS!
When you get that big rebate check and income tax check, don't you buy anything that has a penny worth of tax attached to it. Fool them all! Eat it! Buy lots and lots of food! They won't get a damn penny of it back!
If you haven't had a chance to read
please do... ~ SadInAmerica