Tax pros gone bad
Rock on, baby

... and taxes for all

Interesting story in today's Wall Street Journal on undocumented workers and taxes. The headline: Even Workers In U.S. Illegally Pay Tax Man

That's no big surprise. The IRS has never cared who you are or how you got your money. I know, I know. Tax loopholes. Wealthy get away with tax murder. But that's primarily due to the ways laws are written on Capitol Hill. Once they're in place, the IRS just wants to use them to get its piece of your income pie, however you came into the cash.

Jigsaw_statue_of_liberty_2 "We want your money whether you are here legally or not and whether you earned it legally or not," IRS Commissioner Mark Everson is quoted as telling a gathering of the Washington, D.C., media.

Or to paraphrase, give us your tired, your poor, your taxable income.

Individuals who enter the United States without going through regular immigration channels, in this story's particular case, folks from Mexico and other Latin America countries, often use fake Social Security numbers at their workplaces. This means that tax money is withheld, but in many cases the workers will never collect those benefits, something I blogged about previously.

The Journal article looks at the efforts of one South Central Los Angeles tax preparer who's helping illegal immigrants get valid tax ID numbers and pay their taxes.

Advocates of stricter immigration controls say her efforts and the IRS issuance of individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) only encourage illegal immigration.

But it isn't the IRS's job to enforce immigration law. The IRS's job is to collect applicable taxes on money earned by U.S. residents, regardless of their status.

Immigration debate aside, we should be glad that our tax system is, at least in this regard, aspires to be egalitarian.

Speaking engagements: The newspaper says that Everson's comment on broad based tax collection efforts was before the National Press Club. By checking the group's Web site, you can see who else has spoken, is scheduled to speak or, in the case of Alberto Gonzalez, has postponed an appearance before the group.


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