Two more Obama nominees have backed out of their Washington jobs, after getting caught up in the didn’t-pay-taxes crowd. It took former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle a long time to take the hint, but he recognized today the Health and Human Services secretary nomination was going nowhere. Nancy Killefer also withdrew her nomination as President Barack Obama’s deputy White House budget director. She allegedly didn’t pay her nanny tax.
How can these people not pay their taxes? The same way tens of thousands of other Americans don’t.
Did you really make all the charitable contributions you wrote down on Schedule A? Have you occasionally gotten a few dollars and decided not to claim it as income? If some bank interest paperwork showed up the day after you finished your taxes, would you do them over or file an amended return? How many of you are deducting that new iPhone as a business expense when it’s really not?
Nearly one in every 5 of us thinks it’s morally acceptable to cheat on taxes, according to a Pew survey several years ago. Yesterday, an IRS survey said 89 percent of those responding say it’s unacceptable to cheat on taxes. What can we deduce from this? (A) 11 percent of those responding are (fill in your own well-considered adjective here) enough to tell the IRS they cheated and (B) at least a portion of the 89% were smart enough to lie about it.
The New York Times looked at tax cheating in 2006 and found no specific breakdown of who’s likely to cheat on taxes, although it did say that women with college educations are more likely to cheat than those with less education.
Tax cheating is estimated to cost the government about $350 billion a year. That’s almost half of the cost of the controversial economic stimulus package.