Fun With The U.S. Tax Code

Via: National Review

 America’s tax code is a 74,000-page unintentional comedy.

By Deroy Murdock
April 12, 2013

As the Monday, April 15, tax-filing deadline mercilessly approaches, millions of Americans will cry as they calculate what they owe Washington and then fork it over. But, amid those tears, there will be plenty of laughs. The U.S. Tax Code is so tangled and twisted that University of Florida law professor Steven J. Willis speaks amusingly about “tax humor.” While not exactly the stuff of stand-up routines, America’s surreal tax code is a masterpiece of dark comedy.

When UF started its Graduate Tax Program in the College of Law, Willis recalls, “one requirement of the graduate school was knowledge of a foreign language. Well, that just wasn’t going to work. Then, the faculty showed the Graduate School the Internal Revenue Code, and they said that would do.”

Willis points to section 467(e)(1), which concerns pre-paid rent. It reads: “The term ‘constant rental amount’ means, with respect to any section 467 rental agreement, the amount which, if paid as of the close of each lease period under the agreement, would result in an aggregate present value equal to the present value of the aggregate payments required under the agreement.”

“I love the sentence because of the poetry,” Willis says. “I always have a student read it aloud and watch the faces.”

Read more: here

It’s not funny!
-Moose

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IRS: We Can Read Emails Without Warrant

Via: The Hill

By Brendan Sasso – 04/10/13 12:56 PM ET

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.

In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy.

Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, government officials only need a subpoena, issued without a judge’s approval, to read emails that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old.

Privacy groups such as the ACLU argue that the Fourth Amendment provides greater privacy protections than the ECPA, and that officials should need a warrant to access all emails and other private messages.

Traditionally, the courts have ruled that people have limited privacy rights over information they share with third parties. Some law enforcement groups have argued that this means they only need a subpoena to compel email providers, Internet service companies and others to turn over their customers’ sensitive content.

But in 2010, a federal appeals court ruled that police violated a man’s constitutional rights when they read his emails without a warrant.

Despite the court decision, U.S. v. Warshak, the IRS kept its email search policy unchanged in a March 2011 update to its employee manual, according to the ACLU.

Read more: here

Definitely need a list of all the IRS employees…You know..just for Christmas cards…
-Moose

IRS to Monitor Facebook, Twitter for Tax Cheats

Via: RT

Published time: April 08, 2013 23:00

Is the IRS about to get too close for comfort? New reports brought to light by one privacy and data security expert suggest that this tax filing season the Internal Revenue Service may be monitoring social media for any clues of tax cheats.

According to Kristen Mathews, a partner attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who specializes in privacy and data security, there are reports that the IRS will be checking into individual Facebook and Twitter accounts for improprieties.

Though the agency says that it will only conduct such monitoring if a tax form raises a red flag, it is somewhat unclear to what extent it will be capable of delving into social media accounts.

Social media tools used by marketing companies, for example, are capable of conducting widespread searches for certain keywords, and though they can often take advantage of small “loopholes” in Facebook privacy settings, they are generally limited to publicly divulged information.

Data mining is now widespread on social media, as companies often use Twitter buzz and comments left on Facebook to measure consumers’ thoughts on particular products, or to get ahead of a potential public relations issue.

In regards to government monitoring of social media, there are already plenty of instances where information collected through both Twitter and Facebook has been used to file criminal charges against individuals. Just last week, New York officials announced the indictment of 63 East Harlem gang members, whose movements were tracked with the help of clues they left behind on their social media accounts.

Read more: here

Anything you do can and will be used against you…
Does this bother anyone?
-Moose

IRS Funneled Nearly $500M in Contracts to One IT Firm in 2012

Via: CNS News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether a personal relationship between an Internal Revenue Service employee and the owner of a computer company produced a series of government contracts worth about $500 million.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press from the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to acting Treasury Secretary Neal S. Wolin, Issa writes that he recently has learned about a personal relationship between an IRS employee and Braulio Castillo, the owner of Signet Computers Inc. Signet Computers’ website lists company addresses in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The name of the IRS employee, who works in the agency’s procurement department, is blacked out in the letter obtained by the AP. The IRS operates within the Treasury Department.

Issa writes that prior to 2012, Signet Computers, which advertises itself as specializing in information technology issues, “does not appear to have received any federal contracts.” Since then, he writes, Signet has been awarded approximately $500 million worth of federal contracts, all but $180,835 of them from the IRS.

“The fact that Signet Computers was able to secure federal contracts worth a half-billion dollars in a matter of months, despite having no track record of past performance, raises many questions,” Issa writes.

Read more: here

No, not in that bastion of honor..The IRS…
-Moose

Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Campaign of More Than $750,000

Via: FBI

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2013

WASHINGTON—Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr., 47, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud his re-election campaigns of more than $750,000 in funds that were used to pay for a range of personal items and expenses, including jewelry, fur capes and parkas, high-end electronics, celebrity memorabilia, furniture, kitchen appliances, and a home renovation project.

Jackson, who has residences in Chicago and Washington, D.C., also admitted taking steps to conceal seven years of illegal activities, including the filing of false and misleading reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jackson’s wife, Sandra Stevens Jackson, 49, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty in a separate proceeding to filing false tax returns for her role in the scheme.

The guilty pleas, which took place this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Richard Weber, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins scheduled sentencing for June 28, 2013. The charge carries up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and other penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offense is 46 to 57 months in prison and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.

As part of the plea agreement, Jesse Jackson, Jr. will be required to pay any restitution ordered by the court and forfeit about $750,000 in proceeds and property from the scheme. Among other items, he must forfeit a mink cashmere cape; a mink reversible parka; a guitar signed by pop legend Michael Jackson; and various memorabilia associated with historic figures and various celebrities.

Read more: here 

Now why did they bust Jesse and Sandra? I mean really, was the crime not grandiose enough?
-Moose

Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Campaign of More Than $750,000

Via: FBI

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2013

WASHINGTON—Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr., 47, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud his re-election campaigns of more than $750,000 in funds that were used to pay for a range of personal items and expenses, including jewelry, fur capes and parkas, high-end electronics, celebrity memorabilia, furniture, kitchen appliances, and a home renovation project.

Jackson, who has residences in Chicago and Washington, D.C., also admitted taking steps to conceal seven years of illegal activities, including the filing of false and misleading reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jackson’s wife, Sandra Stevens Jackson, 49, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty in a separate proceeding to filing false tax returns for her role in the scheme.

The guilty pleas, which took place this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Richard Weber, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins scheduled sentencing for June 28, 2013. The charge carries up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and other penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offense is 46 to 57 months in prison and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.

As part of the plea agreement, Jesse Jackson, Jr. will be required to pay any restitution ordered by the court and forfeit about $750,000 in proceeds and property from the scheme. Among other items, he must forfeit a mink cashmere cape; a mink reversible parka; a guitar signed by pop legend Michael Jackson; and various memorabilia associated with historic figures and various celebrities.

Read more: here 

Now why did they bust Jesse and Sandra? I mean really, was the crime not grandiose enough?
-Moose

Israeli Banks Said to Be Implicated in U.S. Tax Evasion

Via: Bloomberg

By David Voreacos & Tom Schoenberg – Feb 17, 2013

A California man born in Israel agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with people at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. to hide offshore accounts and income from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, according to court filings and people familiar with the matter.

Zvi Sperling was accused Feb. 14 by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles of conspiring with people at two Tel Aviv-based banks, identified only as Bank A and Bank B. The charging document and plea agreement didn’t identify the banks. Bank A is Mizrahi, according to a person who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case. Bank B is Leumi, according to a second person, who similarly asked not to be identified.

Read more: here

I’m surprised…not…
-Moose