White House: IRS Compliance

by Heritage Foundation
Today, the White House called Tom Daschle’s failure to pay more than $100,000 in back taxes a “serious mistake”, but reiterated their support for their nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also pointed out that Treasury Secretary Geithner made honest mistakes on his taxes, that “should have been avoided”. Those mistakes amounted to over $34,000.

Out of little over a dozen cabinet nominations, President Obama was able to find two people who found IRS compliance optional. This is on the heels of the admission in 2008 that House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, head of the nation’s tax writing committee, had failed to pay taxes on $75,000 of income from his beach side luxury condo.

Americans annually spend over 7 billion hours figuring out their federal taxes. Over 60% of them hire outside help. While not all are as fortunate as Rangel, Geithner and Daschle to have expensive Washington lawyers and accountants to help them, they do find comfort in having an honest service provider calculate their honest debt.

At what point are “honest mistakes” not acceptable to the President for jobs at this level, and if they are, what message does that send to America? While hard working Americans fear the impact of a faulty tax return, fear an audit, fill shoeboxes with receipts of clothing donations and house repairs; Cabinet nominees have a White House transition team and a team of lawyers to hide them from the wrath of the IRS.