IRS Commissioners Should Have to Do Their Own Taxes
The Drudge Report linked to a story from The Hill about the not-surprising admission that the new IRS commissioner does not do his own taxes. I think the law should require whoever holds that job to do their own taxes. It would be like how the Federal Reserve has restrictions on stock ownership for certain board members — just a side rule that people have to abide by if they choose to accept serving in that position position. Maybe whoever heads the IRS would fight harder for tax simplification if they had to deal with their own rules.
I have always done my own taxes, even when I had a small business in the ’90s, but that will end in 2010 because my wife and I decided to go with an accountant for the first time. Our taxes are not particularly complicated, but they are not particularly easy, either, and that is as much detail as I’ll bore you with. I always liked fighting through the details as a matter of pride, but now the benefits of that hard work are losing out to the time costs as the returns get more complicated.
More disturbing in the article is this ugly nugget:
The IRS this month announced it will be scrutinizing the tax preparer industry. Shulman said the IRS is looking to set “a minimal level of competence in the preparer community.”
Terrific. Now we get federal licensing rules for one more profession. That will raise the costs of using H & R Block, etc. I’ll admit that this is one field where more people doing their own work (as in their own tax preparation) might bring the great side benefit of leading more people to be upset about the tax code, but I still don’t want that benefit caused by higher costs imposed by the IRS.
The simple fact is that a lot of people can and should be doing their own taxes. If you have one job where taxes are withheld, you can work through it without too many headaches. The head of the IRS should be one of those people.