July 23, 2006
-- by Dave Johnson
Congress won't completely kill the "Estate Tax" -- taxes on income from money that is inherited. So what do the Republicans do? They get rid of the tax auditors, giving a green light to just skip paying the tax.
The federal government is moving to eliminate the jobs of nearly half of the lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who audit tax returns of some of the wealthiest Americans, specifically those who are subject to gift and estate taxes when they transfer parts of their fortunes to their children and others.Are these auditors necessary?
The administration plans to cut the jobs of 157 of the agency’s 345 estate tax lawyers, plus 17 support personnel, in less than 70 days. Kevin Brown, an I.R.S. deputy commissioner, confirmed the cuts after The New York Times was given internal documents by people inside the I.R.S. who oppose them.
Over the last five years, officials at both the I.R.S. and the Treasury have told Congress that cheating among the highest-income Americans is a major and growing problem.Taxes - and laws - are for the "little people".
The six I.R.S. tax lawyers, some of whom were willing to be named, all said that clear evidence of fraud was pursued vigorously by the agency, but that when audits showed the use of complicated schemes to understate the value of assets, the I.R.S. had become increasingly reluctant to pursue cases.
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