Potential appointee advice: Take tax care!
Got all your tax statements?

Nominate everyone & close the tax gap

I see what Obama is doing. This is all part of his secret plan to pump money into the Treasury.

He's going to nominate every single taxpayer in America to a Cabinet post in an effort to bring in millions in unpaid taxes. Apparently that's all it takes for tax debts to be revealed.

If only that were true. Sadly, it just seems that political wannabees are at best the world's sloppiest tax filers and at worst, just plan old tax cheats.

Hilda Solis The latest Obama Administration appointee to have tax troubles bared is Hilda Solis. Currently the U.S. Representative for California's 32nd Congressional district, Solis has been tapped to take over the Labor Department.

Confirmation hearing halted: Today, however, a Senate hearing on Solis' qualifications was abruptly canceled after it was learned that her husband yesterday paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business. The liens, according to a USA Today report, had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

The White House is standing by Solis' nomination.

Uh oh. Presidential support didn't do Tom Daschle any good. But it does look like that Solis might have a legitimate argument.

"Obviously we know about the story," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. "We reviewed her tax returns and her tax returns are in order. Her husband had an issue. She's not a partner in that business. We're not going to penalize her for her husband's business mistakes."

Los Angeles County records, says the newspaper, show that all the state and county tax liens were addressed to Solis' husband, Sam Sayyad, at his auto repair business address. According the paper, Sayyad was unaware of the overdue taxes until asked about them by USA Today. He then went to the county tax office and settled the bill.

Tax_tip_icon_pencil_point Today's Tax Tip: The Solis tax snafu brings up a topic we touched on less than a month ago when discussing the Bernard and Ruth Madoff situation. Sometimes, regardless of how much you love your spouse, you might want to consider filing tax separate returns.

Although most couples come out better when they file a joint return, if you have questions about some tax strategies your spouse is using, don't put your name and signature on his or her Form 1040.

When both of you sign a joint return, you're both responsible for whatever is on there. And if there are questions later, you both are expected to answer them.

There also are less sinister reasons for filing separately. Sometimes you actually can save some tax money. For example, if your husband or wife has a lot of medical expenses, it might be easier for him or her to meet the 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income deduction threshold by filing alone.

The bottom line is don't automatically think you have to file a joint return. Look at your personal tax circumstances and, if appropriate, run the numbers for both joint and separate filings. Then use the method that saves you the most tax money.

And, of course, if you have any question about some tax tactic employed by your spouse, be safe rather than sorry. Send Uncle Sam your own 1040 solo.


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I hope that after all of these tax problems with potential nominees, a lightbulb goes off somewhere in Washington and major changes are made to make filing taxes easier for the average person. If all of these incredibly qualified people are having trouble (and I sincerely think that some of these people are making genuine mistakes that can happen to all of us [maybe I'm just a pollyanna but I really believe that people are good at heart]) it should be a major signal that it's time for a review. It's so odd to me that April 15th has become this national nightmare that everyone dreads all year long. It really shouldn't be that way.

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