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Of tax protests and lunatics

In tax circles, the discussion following the plane crash into an Austin office building that housed an IRS office has centered on two topics.

First, there's Section 1706, the part of the Internal Revenue Code that deals with independent contractors, specifically those in high tech fields. That law was changed in 1986 as part of the major tax code overhaul.

The TaxProf has a good roundup of articles discussing the tax components of the heinous act, but two in particular stand out. The Tax Foundation's Joseph Henchman examines that law, as does David Cay Johnston in an article for the New York Times.

And as the misguided pilot of the private plane was in Austin skies Thursday morning, the Times was unfolded on my kitchen table, the headline A Crackdown on Contractors as a Tax Dodge catching my eye.

Contractor tax dodge NYT headline 021810

The story examines how companies intentionally misclassify employees as contractors and Obama's 2010 budget that calls for a federal crackdown on those firms.

But when Joe Stack's plane hit the building in Northwest Austin, reading of newspapers and most other activity for the day came to a halt.

Protester or lunatic? Beyond the intricacies of the tax code, the next crash-related topic soon became the parsing of the description of a tax protester.

Forbes looks at 10 tax protest claims to avoid. FINS cites other extreme anti-IRS efforts.

But The Tax Lawyer's Blog nailed it in Austin Bomber Blamed Everyone But Himself.

In that post, Tax Lawyer decries the way the criminal act was immediately used by everyone along the political spectrum. I totally agree. The effort to use this tragedy for any cause is reprehensible. This was one man's insanity, not any political agenda.

The day of the crash, because it was obvious people had died and the details around the situation were still evolving, I tried to be restrained in my blogging.

But as things became clearer and I watched online discussions unfold, I felt compelled to add my voice to those outraged at not only the act, but the aftermath. You can read my thoughts in today's Eye on the IRS blog item, Tax tragedy in Texas.

And with that, folks, I'm through with this lunatic.

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Robby Ecnd

Amen. I am shocked to see so many people on the internet claim this guy had a "right" to do what he did. Others claim the IRS deserved it, etc....I mean, what?

If these people (who say this) had something like this happen to people THEY KNEW...do we think they would accept it? Of course not

It's terrorism...plain and simple

Mrs. Micah

Neither protester, nor lunatic. Terrorist. At least that's what intentionally flying a plane into a building is called when other people do it. Lunatic too.

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