Kansas holding onto refunds, too
Final stimulus bill now law

Most Senators don't want to talk taxes

Most U.S. Senators don't want to talk about taxes, at least not about their own.

Politicians are quick to pounce on tax topics when they're on the campaign trail or debating stimulus bills, However, Politico.com found that such verbosity doesn't extend to personal filings.

Income_tax_frustrastion (2) That's understandable. Taxes are a very private affair ... unless you're running for president or appointed to a Cabinet position.

But it also is useful to know that our leaders understand the practical implications of the tax laws they ultimately approve; that they actually know what they are asking each of their taxpaying constituents to do each filing season.

That's part of what Politico was trying to determine when it asked all 99 sitting Senators (the Norm Coleman/Al Franken seat in Minnesota is still open) who prepares their taxes, whether they or the IRS has ever discovered an error on their returns and whether they have ever had to pay back taxes.

Of the 57 Senators who responded to the survey, Politico reports that:

  • Nine said mistakes had been made on their tax returns,

  • Seven said they have paid back taxes, and

  • 31 said that no mistakes have been discovered on their returns and that they’ve never paid back taxes, at least to the best of their recollection.

Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to answer the survey questions.

Forty-one others -- 17 Republicans, 23 Democrats and Connecticut Independent Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- didn't respond at all.

Time to file: The Politico inquiry lends support to a Congressional rule I'd like to see implemented: All Representatives and Senators must complete their taxes themselves at least once during each term they serve.

They can use tax software if they like. Heck, I'll even let them call in a tax professional, as long as they sit there and pay attention while the accountant fills out the 1040.

But they must, to some degree, fully feel the pain that 150 million of us taxpayers, and voters, go through each year.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Perhaps we could just audit them all (http://www.taxrascal.com/audit-them-all/319/). Same effect -- I bet they'd at least review their taxes more carefully -- but not such a problem if they are already working with tax professionals they trust.

Actually, that could also be a boon to the tax preparers themselves: imagine being able to say that someone trusted your work even though they were guaranteed to be audited, and could lose their jobs if the audit turned up anything suspicious.

Jan Dillaha

I think we should lock them in a room with the IRC they created, blank forms and pencils. No computers, no calculators and no help except the IRS phone number.

You get your next paycheck when you turn in your work.

This would be an annual assignment which would be graded and published by the IRS.

Maybe we would see some simplification in the tax code.

The comments to this entry are closed.