Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Government United States News

IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax 124

Posted by kdawson
from the talk-amongst-yourselves dept.
narramissic writes "Last week the IRS caused an uproar when it requested public comments on ways to clarify a decades-old law, seldom enforced, that would tax personal usage of business cell phones. But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that the request for comments did not mean that the largely ignored rule would now be enforced. 'Some have incorrectly implied that the IRS is "cracking down" on employee use of employer-provided cell phones,' Shulman wrote. 'To the contrary, the IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.' And in fact, the IRS is now recommending that the law be repealed, saying that 'the passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax

Comments Filter:
  • If you blow away the 16th Amendment [usconstitution.net], you can repeal the entire IRS, and the cell phone tax en piss-ant.
    Rock on, Leahy: you're a true patriot. [federalismamendment.com]
    Save the other barrel for the Federal Reserve [endthefed.us].
    Amputating moral hazard is a bipartisan concern.
    • by Manuka (4415)

      "f you blow away the 16th Amendment [usconstitution.net], you can repeal the entire IRS, and the cell phone tax en piss-ant."

      While taking a leak??? Really?

      I'm pretty sure that you can't repeal constitutional amendments in the men's room.

      What did you REALLY mean?

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:41AM (#28360221) Journal
      Cool down buddy. Consumption tax flat tax etc are all stupid ideas sold to people like you who are easily persuaded that the grass is greener on the other side. Have you lived in economies that tax goods and services at more than 10%? Can you imagine the kind of tax evasion that goes on, and the parallel cash economy that springs up immediately? How many people you know who evade the simple 5% or 6% local sales tax on the services by the landscaper or the handy man? That is the tax that goes to pay for your own local neighbourhood schools and snow removal. Now imagine how willing they will be to pay a 17% or 22% tax to distant Washington DC? Can you imagine the kind of intrusive systems needed to catch the scofflaws? If you think IRS is intrusive looking at your pay slip, wait till you get IRS demanding you show documentation for having paid tax on your wrist watch and shaving blades.

      Do these right wing nutties have any idea of the dangers of a cash economy? Today, in USA, 1$ in cash is worth 1$ in bank. But 1 million dollars in cash is worth lot less than 1 million dollars properly accounted for in the bank. Black money is worth lot less in USA than white money. That is not the case in Mexico, Phillipines, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Once unaccounted money gets decent buying power, then corruption sets in. We are paying pittance for our judges, police chiefs, auditors and law enforcers in general. Once cash economy takes root, corrupt people will work their way into every crevice of power and it would exceedingly difficult to get rid of them. The source of cash economy is tax evasion. Purely on that account, we should stop drinking the cool aid about consumption tax and such stupid ideas.

      • No, what I would really do is have DC do its usual appropriation [wikipedia.org]/authorization [wikipedia.org] shenanigans as usual, but add a third step where they carve up the cost against the states.
        Force the states to tax farm all of the desired federal spending.
        This would effect a badly needed negative feedback loop [wikipedia.org] to drive the system towards a gazinta==gazouta state.
        Sure, you need exception handling for situations like a No Kidding Declaration of War [wikipedia.org], (which hasn't been seen since FDR), and times when states default on their "f
        • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @09:54AM (#28360931)

          But if you want social spending, and haven't told me how you're doing it without chronic deficit spending, you haven't told me much.

          This part's actually not that hard, my country (Soviet Canuckistan) had been deficit-free for several successive governments now. We're probably going to have a deficit this year, thanks to your country's free-market true believers deregulating the hell out of your banks (and other causes) since Reagan, and finally taking down the world economy, but we're expecting the return to deficit spending to be temporary. There's a good chance that the current government will fall, because the deficit is going to be bigger than projected (the PM's a Conservative, incidentally). But not to worry, Canadians in all demographic groups will continue to receive their universal health care.

          The trick seems to be 1) don't deregulate the financial system, because greedy bastards will rob you blind if given a free hand. 2) turf out politicians who take too much pork (a little pork fat does keep the wheels turning), because the greedy bastards will rob you blind if they can and 3) turf out politicians who threaten to take away your most cherished social programs, because the greedy bastards would rather spend the money on pork (see 2).

          Of course I'm being too glib, but if your basic requirements are social spending and no deficit (I suspect you'd rather see no social spending, given some of your sources), then it's been done, and done consistently (if not always done well).

          • Possibly there is an apples/oranges comparison at work here.
            The US has close to 10 times the population of Canada. California alone has more people than Canada.
            Nothing in my argument precludes a Canada-style system in any one of our 57 states. Citizens should have the right to vote as they see fit. Just ask Mitt Romney, and he'll tout his Massachusetts work.
            The entire sub-prime crisis ought to have been precluded a priori by a simple reading of Amendment 10 [usconstitution.net]. You don't need chemotherapy to contain a c
            • The US has close to 10 times the population of Canada. California alone has more people than Canada.

              Um, what? How is this relevant?

              Nothing in my argument precludes a Canada-style system in any one of our 57 states

              We have 50 states and a couple territories.

              The US has plenty of room for socialism. I'm arguing that implementing it federally must be opposed.

              You realise that this would limit people from moving across state lines due to the different state health insurance plans, right? We already have socialism, we just don't get our money's worth wrt health care. Regarding mortgage underwriting, regulation of the industry is absolutely not socialism and is arguably a federal matter.

              • You realise that this would limit people from moving across state lines due to the different state health insurance plans, right?

                Possibly it could, but this is by no means an explicit requirement. As with an interface requirement in a modern programming language, you have the federal government set a standard, and allow the states to implement it.

                Regarding mortgage underwriting, regulation of the industry is absolutely not socialism and is arguably a federal matter.

                I can buy off that the Veterans Administration might sweeten the deal for military servicemembers.
                The attendant moral hazard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, irrespective of whether you want to slap the 'S' word on it, is an obvious 10th Amendment violation. Why you wouldn't want the states

                • Possibly it could, but this is by no means an explicit requirement.

                  That makes it fall under the interstate commerce clause, so congress can get their fingers in it.

                  Why you wouldn't want the states to figure things out for themselves, and have the federal government acting as a check on abuses escapes me.

                  Fair enough, but I really don't think anyone in congress remembers the 10th.

                  • interstate commerce clause

                    if "We the People" allow it. True, WtP have been asleep at the switch since Woodrow Wilson, but I think that these here tubey-webs are bringing about a shocking level of general consciousness.

          • by denobug (753200)

            The trick seems to be 1) don't deregulate the financial system, because greedy bastards will rob you blind if given a free hand. 2) turf out politicians who take too much pork (a little pork fat does keep the wheels turning), because the greedy bastards will rob you blind if they can and 3) turf out politicians who threaten to take away your most cherished social programs, because the greedy bastards would rather spend the money on pork (see 2).

            Good point. Easier said then done.

      • Once unaccounted money gets decent buying power, then corruption sets in

        Yeah, because there's no corruption in Obama's government now (cough Geithner [wikipedia.org]) (cough Daschle [wikipedia.org]) (cough brewing AmeriCorps scandal [wsj.com]). Thanks for figuring it all out for the rest of us dummies, liberal elite!

        • You have absolutely no idea of what corruption is till you see how things get done in Pakistan and Bangladesh. High sales/consumption taxes and no record keeping of income and wealth will lead to that scenario.

          I am not arguing there is no corruption in Obama's administration or Bush's. But this pales in comparison to what happens in a cash economy. But go ahead drink your cool aid. The one positive thing about USA is that the demographic shift is taking power away from the people who feed cool aid to peo

      • by russotto (537200)

        Have you lived in economies that tax goods and services at more than 10%?

        Doesn't that cover most of Europe and Canada?

        How many people you know who evade the simple 5% or 6% local sales tax on the services by the landscaper or the handy man? That is the tax that goes to pay for your own local neighbourhood schools and snow removal.

        First of all, the collection and payment of sales tax is up to the landscaper or handyman, not the person paying them, at least in my state. Second, that tax goes to the state and

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Now imagine how willing they will be to pay a 17% or 22% tax to distant Washington DC?

          That's a feature, not a bug.

          So you are advocating for an intentionally crippled system and would cheer on wide spread tax evasion. You are not fit to live in a Democracy. Do you know how Democracy will die? Not with bullets and guns. It will die because of people like you who keep granting themselves benefits of Democracy without the willingness to pay for them.

          I am a rugged independent fella living out in Arizona and I want the federal government off my back. Just go build Hoover Dam and give me my electricity. Just regulate the ut

          • by russotto (537200)

            So you are advocating for an intentionally crippled system and would cheer on wide spread tax evasion. You are not fit to live in a Democracy. Do you know how Democracy will die? Not with bullets and guns. It will die because of people like you who keep granting themselves benefits of Democracy without the willingness to pay for them.

            As I recall, the traditional death of democracy is when the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. Or, classicly, when they vote for those

        • by ScentCone (795499)
          the collection and payment of sales tax is up to the landscaper or handyman, not the person paying them

          Actually, in most states, is IS up to the person buying the goods or services to pay the taxes if the service provider or vendor doesn't collect and remit those taxes. It's usually called a "use" tax, etc. So, if you're in California for example, and have a product shipped to you from South Dakota... you're supposed to write a check to your state government in the amount that the sales tax would have be
      • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @09:59AM (#28360983)

        Cool down buddy. Consumption tax flat tax etc are all stupid ideas sold to people like you who are easily persuaded that the grass is greener on the other side. Have you lived in economies that tax goods and services at more than 10%? Can you imagine the kind of tax evasion that goes on, and the parallel cash economy that springs up immediately? How many people you know who evade the simple 5% or 6% local sales tax on the services by the landscaper or the handy man? That is the tax that goes to pay for your own local neighbourhood schools and snow removal. Now imagine how willing they will be to pay a 17% or 22% tax to distant Washington DC? Can you imagine the kind of intrusive systems needed to catch the scofflaws? If you think IRS is intrusive looking at your pay slip, wait till you get IRS demanding you show documentation for having paid tax on your wrist watch and shaving blades.

        Do these right wing nutties have any idea of the dangers of a cash economy? Today, in USA, 1$ in cash is worth 1$ in bank. But 1 million dollars in cash is worth lot less than 1 million dollars properly accounted for in the bank. Black money is worth lot less in USA than white money. That is not the case in Mexico, Phillipines, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Once unaccounted money gets decent buying power, then corruption sets in. We are paying pittance for our judges, police chiefs,
        auditors and law enforcers in general. Once cash economy takes root, corrupt people will work their way into every crevice of power and it would exceedingly difficult to get rid of them.
        The source of cash economy is tax evasion. Purely on that account, we should stop drinking the cool aid about consumption tax and such stupid ideas.

        All of Europe lives with a VAT, which is a consumption tax. The rates are usually around 20%. Citizens aren't ever asked to show they paid tax - that's put on the businesses. I've seen more under the table money in the US than in Europe, perhaps because the VAT is so much simpler to enforce across the board. Prices in Europe always include tax - no one shakes their fists at the tax markup, and those who have a problem with it don't seem as upset as the typical American who is upset with the income tax.

        • You do hear about Europeans coming to the US to buy stuff. Part of that is the exchange rate, but 10% less tax helps. I also think some of the eco-consciousness of Europe is a result of the fact that everything is so expensive
      • by Cyberax (705495)

        I live in a country with 18% VAT (which for consumers is pretty much equivalent to "sales tax").

        There's not that much VAT tax evasion.

      • If you think IRS is intrusive looking at your pay slip, wait till you get IRS demanding you show documentation for having paid tax on your wrist watch and shaving blades.

        I'm going to be nice and not insult you, but you really shouldn't have a +5 Insightful with such an ignorant comment. The point of a consumption tax is to keep the IRS from ever coming after an individual. Only people with a business license would be paying taxes. So the IRS would never go after the individual for a watch he bought. Instead when the landscaper applied for his business license and filed the taxes for his business that is where the IRS would come in. The consumers have no legal responsib

        • Well, then unregistered fly-by-night operators will undercut legitimate tax paying businesses by 20%. Consumers with no legal responsibility to pay the tax are now saddled with the responsibility of verifying the authenticity of businesses for the privilege of paying 20% extra. It will be a race to the bottom and next to no time you will have a cash economy.

          Communism does not work because it is assumes an ideal behavior of the workers and the government. Your flat tax, sales tax, consumption tax, simplif

      • by b4upoo (166390)

        You can bet that both state and federal tax authorities will be intruding more than ever trying to find funds during these economic hard times.
        As for remarks about public employees being paid low wages I suggest to you that in fact they are vastly over paid compared to non government workers in many areas of the US. For example many jobs have no benefits at all in the private sector. No retirement, no vacations, no medical care

      • by sjames (1099)

        That's why you make the seller responsible rather than the buyer and you exempt personal sales based on volume such that you can sell your car house without paying, but if you sell enough cars or houses to make a living, the tax is due. Exempt food and the tax becomes progressive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by EtherMonkey (705611)

        Can you imagine the kind of tax evasion that goes on, and the parallel cash economy that springs up immediately?

        Is this so much worse than the current situation, where many just charge and pay 15% or higher interest to those wonderful financial institutions responsible for our current economic crisis?

        How many people you know who evade the simple 5% or 6% local sales tax on the services by the landscaper or the handy man? That is the tax that goes to pay for your own local neighbourhood schools and snow removal

        Not in my state. School budgets, county and local services come out of property taxes. State Sales Tax and State Income Tax goes to big feeding troth in Trenton.

        Now imagine how willing they will be to pay a 17% or 22% tax to distant Washington DC?

        I already pay that amount. If it comes out as a sales tax then I'm better off because a) I don't have to deal with filing returns and the associated costs, an

        • Not in my state. School budgets, county and local services come out of property taxes. State Sales Tax and State Income Tax goes to big feeding troth in Trenton.

          You don't get it, do you? Even if the sales tax goes to the state rather than the city, it is still a government closer than Washington DC. And people evade that tax. The piano teacher, the landscaper, the handy man, the mechanic... how many people you know who work for cash only? Have you helped anyone evade taxes by paying in cash because you get a 5% discount? How many people you know routinely buy cigarettes and liquor from out of state to evade sales taxes? Now imaging how many more people will evade t

    • Wrong, the SUPREME COURT JESTERS have RULED that the 16th amendment "gives no new power to tax"

      Thus, the Sixteenth Amendment gives no new power to tax incomes, because that power always existed, but it relieves the pre-existing power from the requirement of apportionment. Income taxes are now constitutional because they are no longer subject to the apportionment requirement.

      http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/16thb.htm [gwu.edu]
      They myght be lying YmmV.

      • I'm unsure that your link refutes my general point that we need to start with Amendment 16, overhaul the system, and blow away the IRS, but I thank you for it nonetheless.
        • by mrmeval (662166)

          No it doesn't refute your general point. But the IRS existed before the 16 Amendment and will exist after you repeal it. You can get them OUT of our affairs by supporting use, sales or other anonymous taxes. We don't need the invasive income tax.

          And apportionment would be fantastic.

  • Because it's worked so well in other countries who tried to have service providers enforce copyright laws at their own expense, just so the RIAA can make more money.
    • okay, that one was meant for the UK internet tax article. I'm already applying my forehead to my desk for posting it here by error. That's what happens when you try to post while a coworker is bugging you about something blatantly obvious he's simply not getting.
      • If you are like me you should probably give more attention to your job and less to /.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          I probably should.

          *shakes Magic 8-Ball* "Don't Count On It."

          Hmmm, this thing is pretty accurate. I wonder if it can help me with my office's email software problems?

          *shaks again* "Outlook Not No Good."

          Wow, this thing DOES know a few things about computers!

  • by Manuka (4415) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:12AM (#28360003)

    The IRS wants to get RID of a tax?

    Why am I deeply suspicious of this?

    What's really going on here? What am I quietly going to get nailed on instead?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      The IRS wants to get RID of a tax?

      Why am I deeply suspicious of this?

      What's really going on here? What am I quietly going to get nailed on instead?

      I read another article by Reuters [reuters.com] about this that is entitled:

      Obama backs repeal of tax on personal cellphones

      Very little mention of the IRS in that article. They make it sound like Treasury Secretary (Timothy) Geithner got together with Douglas Shulman, the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, and convinced him to ask Congress to repeal this. Together.

      You know, I don't know where the initiative came from, it doesn't really matter. But I found it amusing that a lot of news outlets probably thought "IRS to Repeal Tax"? That cannot sell and soun

      • Obama Cabinet Moves to Repeal Tax

        That would probably make even more people go "huh?" than the "IRS Wants to Repeal Tax".

        Besides, this is really just a simplification of tax rules which are already not enforced as it is. It's just common sense. In the days when cell phones were luxury items that few could afford, maybe it made more sense, but in these days where you can literally pick up a cell phone at your local convenience store for a few bucks, it's just stupid.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Y2KDragon (525979)
      I can understand your suspicion. But now, more than ever, people are getting lawyers to force the IRS to accept less than what they claim is owed. It's actually cheaper for the IRS to simplify matters, and even collect less in taxes, than to try to force tax laws that do not properly reflect current technology. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but perhaps this is part of the change the IRS is trying to show.
    • by tatman (1076111)
      They wouldn't be asking for comments for purpose of clarification if there was any intent of repealing the law. They are looking to see if it will be easier to enforce the law and nab a smidgen more tax from working Americans that happen to follow the law. Lawbreakers (illegals, those who don't file or cheat on their filings etc...) will be exempt of course.
      • by Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @09:49AM (#28360861)

        There are many situations where a request for comments is mandatory.

        Your right winger knee jerk reaction is utterly without a basis in the facts of this particular situation.

        The irs actually does a pretty fair job of making some sort of sense - twisted though it occasionally may be - out of the spaghetti legislation handed to it by congress.

        It's hardly surprising that they would ask congress to ditch a law with which maybe a half dozen people on the planet comply.

        The cost of maintaining the documentation, training it's agents, publishing forms no one uses - what's the point?

        It's typical that even when an agency steps up and says "um...we've looked at what we're doing and there are some practices that don't make sense, and don't serve anyone, and we'd like to change them - anyone else have any input first?" - some troll crawls out of Limbaugh's jock to piss and whine.

        Get a life.

        • I know Obama's America is supposed to be a different place, but I don't know if I'm prepared to go as far as "trust the IRS".
    • by Shivetya (243324)

      see that Blackberry the Prez carries... found out he was calling the wife.

      well, one thing led to another and...

      Most likely, the IRS seriously fumbled the handling of the issue and instead of getting ahead of it they got caught with their pants down. Since about everyone likes to hate to the IRS and it makes great talk radio ratings they really didn't have much of a choice. Best of all its not a loss either, they were not collecting it so they can't lose money they didn't collect. Everyone wins, the pund

      • Anything and everything POTUS does is business, not pleasure.
        • I'm sure that was what Clinton was thinking when Monica was on her knees.
          • That was clearly a taxable benefit for the POTUS.

            As a side note, the cum stained dress was clearly a taxable benefit to Monica as well. Hmmmm

            If we taxed sex, all of our country's financial problems would disappear over night. The film industry in San Fernando Valley was unavailable for comment.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      They (apparently) want to get rid of this tax.

      So far, so good, but what if "simplifying" the tax regime means "Oh, but we'd like a flat tax on all cell sales / contracts / minutes / SMSs, since that's simpler than trying to identify and tax personal use of business phones."

    • by lorenlal (164133)

      This is a truly strange day.

      The IRS wants to simplify a code? The Obama administration is looking at reducing taxation?

      /me turns around and looks up, and sees a number of strange people in wet suits, with a wheel on a stick. They keep saying "Bizzaro! Bizzaro! BIZZARO!"

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      This tax is probably getting evaded constantly (intentionally or not), and brings in comparatively little revenue... It probably costs more to police it than it actually brings in.

      • by hurfy (735314)

        I would imagine so

        And how much is the tax on the free minutes the employee used for personal reasons? Only one of the 8 or so cell phones uses all the minutes on business, everyone else has minutes to spare that are already paid for. Now let's try calculating the taxes when all those phones can share minutes.....

    • The IRS wants to get RID of a tax? Why am I deeply suspicious of this?

      <a few months later> Now that we eliminated that confusing tax, we need to create a new tax for business cell phone users, one that is simpler and brings in more money than the old one. Ummm, ignore that last part; I didn't mean to verbalize it.

    • The IRS wants to get RID of a tax? Why am I deeply suspicious of this? What's really going on here? What am I quietly going to get nailed on instead?

      Step 1: Repeal tax that has produced nearly zero revenue since its inception.
      Step 2: "Hey look! I'm cutting taxes!!"
      Step 3: Get re-elected.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:14AM (#28360015)

    The IRS wants to repeal a tax law?

    Who are you people, and what have you done with our Internal Revenue Service?

    • by DruidFyr (24430)

      And what can we do to keep you!?!

    • We are your Imaginary Rescue Squad.

      The "Internal Revenue Service" Is in the cinema. Watching Hanna Montana, the movie. We tried to send him to hell, but God told us we should not be that cruel on the devil. (Who already had installed his first break-in protection system, when he heard about it. He also was the one, who recommended the movie. It's nice to see Satan still being able to be that cruel, after all those years and the broken marriage with Saddam.

    • by selven (1556643)
      No, the Internal Revenue Service is doing fine. It's the Infernal Revenue Service I'm wondering about.
  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:14AM (#28360021)
    Sorry. What? The IRS is being logical? They want to repeal an outdated law? Who is this new IRS?
    • by hansraj (458504) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:20AM (#28360071)

      Not only that, kdawson posted a feel-good story instead of a world-is-coming-to-an-end story! Something is seriously wrong around here.

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      Why is it outdated, just because it has never been enforced?

      It makes sense that employee perks are taxed the same as income, otherwise incoming is just replaced with perks. How many really need a phone paid for by the company or are you just evading taxes? If you use it many for personal purposes I would count it tax-evasion.

      • Really? It's a cell phone, not a condo in Cancoon. Seems it would be hard for the IRS to Audit every business cellphone plan looking for Personal Phone calls that were not reported. A lot of time and money to regulate a very small "perk". My company provides free Coffee every morning and free Cokes in the fridge. I have not been reporting those on my taxes either, should I? ~$0.50 every time I reach into the fridge for a coke?
  • Don't worry . . . (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652)

    . . . it is sure to be replaced by a new tax which generates more revenue than the never-used cell phone tax. In fact, that's how they'll justify the new tax ("well, we did get rid of this obsolete tax no one ever paid, so this is more than fair"). At the current rate of spend of this administration, we'll soon be taxed by the breath.

    It's time to be patriotic, after all.

  • Just earlier... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pHus10n (1443071)
    I was reading an article on Slashdot, not even two hours ago, where a poster begged for someone to post an example of a tax being repealed.

    Your move :)
    • by El Torico (732160)

      It hasn't happened yet.

      It's still your move.

      • by pHus10n (1443071)
        24th Amendment, United States Constitution:

        Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

        Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

        Passed August 27, 1962. Ratified J
        • by El Torico (732160)

          I'm glad to see a precedent for a tax repeal. Now, if that would happen more often, I'd be even more pleased.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:34AM (#28360175)
    How about while were at it we repeal any tax that the government didn't deserve in the first place (that they did nothing more than basic safety/defense). Perhaps then we can see lower taxes, more sane taxes, and a general economic boom.
    • by denobug (753200)

      How about while were at it we repeal any tax that the government didn't deserve in the first place (that they did nothing more than basic safety/defense).

      In theory, governments deserves none of our taxes. But since government cannot function without resources and we need the government in real life, we pay taxes to the government.

  • by MikeRT (947531)

    'To the contrary, the IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.'

    If that were the case, then the IRS would be lobbying Congress for a flat corporate tax, and either a flat income tax for individuals that applies to all income or replacing the income tax with excise taxes. The income tax is now useful to the feds mainly as a form of social control. If you become too much of a thorn in the President's side, he can just have the IRS audit you and those ass

    • The feds could also levy a 20% luxury tax on any house that costs more than $1.5M.

      We've got something very much like that where I live. It's a county tax based on value of home that progresses upward as the value of the home increases.

      I have an uncle (he's a gun maker and photographer [I'm sure that's enough to get a Google hit]) that avoids the tax by buying several smaller houses close together and the land between them. Tears down the houses that he won't use and renovates the one that he will live in. Where the torn down houses were, He'll build a greenhouse, pool house, stable

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sapphon (214287)

      A 2.5% flat income tax? 2.5%?? My dear friend, I don't even need the back of an envelope to tell you that you'll never take in enough tax with that to cover even the most basic of public services. Making up the shortfall with a tax on luxury goods won't work because, well, they're luxury goods! Per definition people are willing to forgo their purchase. And, even if they weren't, I highly doubt the turnover on luxury goods is high enough that even a 100% tax would fill the Government's coffers much.

      Further,

      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Further, your flat income tax suggestion ignores the ability-to-pay-principle: those who can afford to pay more, should (i.e. progressive taxation). Otherwise you are expecting the weak to carry the same burden as the strong, when the weak should be supported by the strong. Because the weak (poor) spend a greater proportion of their income on the necessities of life than their strong (rich), a flat tax hits them proportionally harder - though it seems counter-intuitive, a flat tax discriminates against low-
        • Bravo!

          Everyone should pay something in taxes, only then will they care how it is used. People who don't pay ANY taxes don't care how it is used.

          You want to fix government? Fix the tax code so people care about what the government does. And you won't have anyone running around saying "Obama's going to pay for my gas and mortgage" [youtube.com]

          There is no such thing as someting for nothing. And the rich cannot pay for everyone else.

          What ever happened to self sufficiency?

        • by slamb (119285) *

          I have moderation points, but unfortunately, there's no option for "Fallacies - Straw Man [wikipedia.org]". The closest is "Troll" but I'd like to be more specific. I mean, really:

          a tax-free threshold that would allow everyone to purchase the necessities of life, then taxing flatly from then on

          So, is a fat person allowed to purchase more "necessities of life" than a skinny person? Is the person who decides to live in an area where houses are routinely destroyed by hurricanes allowed to get more tax-free "necessities of l

        • No. It hits each of their dollars in exactly the same way.

          the marginal utility of income goes down the more you make, so that makes this tax regressive.

          How? It's utterly blind to how a given dollar is made. A progressive tax, on the other hand, actually does, actively and by design, discriminate against those that produce more, or work harder. Your low-wage-earning guy that has it in him to work two jobs so that he can bring up his family's standard of living? That guy, through progressive taxes, is punished for having the energy and dedication to work harder and take risks. That is discrimination.

          Simple - low wage earners are 2 steps from starvation already. It makes sense to shift their burden up the food chain to the guy who makes a lot more and most likely has a lot more to protect. When poor joe improves his station, he pays more taxes, but the low taxes on the poor are what enables him to do it at all.

          So, is a fat person allowed to purchase more "necessities of life" than a skinny person?

          Well obviously they have, now haven't they? The point here is that nobody starves. We don't need to ge

        • by Sapphon (214287)

          Several [slashdot.org] other [slashdot.org] posters [slashdot.org] have eloquently pointed out and responded to your fallacious arguments regarding.. well, pretty much everything you wrote is fallacious, actually. But the point I want to address (for the general public more so than for you) is the following:

          simply give everyone a basic income (say, US$11000 - the US Poverty Threshold in 2008) and then tax every dollar of income.

          Ah, a sort of fiscal perpetual motion machine, then? Why not simply redistribute less of someone else's income to the people

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            Which is more social?

            That isn't even a coherent question. You need to ask, "Which serves the idealogical goal of redistribution of someone else's work?" or "Which provides guaranteed cash for people that are not working?" or "Which method entrenches the Nanny State more effectively?" or "Which approach provides a dis-incentive to be productive?"

            By "more social" do you mean "more in keeping with what is currently understood to be a Socialist approach to running a society?"
    • by selven (1556643)
      I would prefer combining a steeply progressive income tax (say, 6% up to 100k, 18% beyond it) with taxes based on what services you use (with the exception of those that everyone benefits from or those that are too hard to calculate, which the income tax pays for). Own a car? You pay for the roads, not the person who only rides a bicycle and therefore might as well not be on the road with the insignificant damage he is causing. Smoke, drink, drive without a seatbelt? Pay for your own health care then. Leave
  • The link posted by the submitter is too annoying to read (who uses over content ads?) Here is a link to a much less ad encumbered article on the same subject: http://www.physorg.com/news164424219.html [physorg.com]
  • My employer pays for my broadband at home and have provided me with a cell phone that I can use for personal calls as well as business calls. For this I must pay an extra 2-3000 NOK (3-400 USD) in taxes per year.
  • Isn't it a little late for April Fool's?

    And, in true IRS-like demanding fashion...

    I'll expect all of my paid-in cell tax for the past 15 years to be paid back with interest compounded at %12 per annum.

  • Gee, it sure is swell that we have found yet another way to reduce the amount taxes corporations have to pay (since they can claim all of this personal usage as a business expense), not to mention giving these individuals a tax break the rest of us are NOT entitled to. What a great country.

  • by bhmit1 (2270) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:00PM (#28366185) Homepage

    This isn't some "cell phone tax" that companies are charged for owning cell phones. When you buy any equipment to run a business, and that equipment is expected to last more than a year, you have to depreciate it. There's a particular part of the depreciation schedule that you have to fill in for various pieces of technology, like cell phones, where you have to provide a percentage of usage that is personal rather than business. And you're only able to depreciate business use of the phone over a 5 year period.

    What the IRS is saying is that the effort to calculate this percentage with itemized statements, and identifying every person called, is usually greater than the extra few dollars of tax they may collect. Contrary to popular belief, the IRS doesn't want your money, Congress does. The IRS is just making sure you've paid the right amount. If you want to be upset at someone for taking your money, be upset at your representatives in the Capital.

    Food for thought, if the phone is destroyed or trashed before 5 years are up, I've yet to find a place in the tax code where you can write off the remaining value, and you're no longer allowed to depreciate a destroyed item. Another thought, if you start a company that earns $500k in its first year, but requires $400k in equipment, if depreciation lets you write off $100k, you'll be taxed on $300k of income that first year, or about $100k, the entire amount of profit for that year. The depreciation portion of the tax code is pretty messed up. And what the IRS gives back in business write offs, local governments take away in business taxes based on how much equipment your business has. For everyone that's against business people and their write offs, try running a business yourself before knocking it next time.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

Working...