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Congressional Tax Writers Use Accountants to Prepare Their Taxes

What wimps. They don't even have the nerve to attempt to fill out and file their own taxes.

When it comes to their own tax returns, many members of Congress who specialize in writing tax laws turn to professional preparers rather than completing the paperwork themselves.


"It's onerous and everybody knows it," said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass.

Three of the four top lawmakers on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, which are in charge of writing tax laws, pay a professional to file their annual tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

The exception is the Ways and Means chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas, R- Calif. The former college professor said he has prepared his own return "forever" and that he waits until close to the deadline to file. Monday is the filing deadline for most people.

"There's no reason for me to pay Uncle Sam _ pay, you heard that _ until I have to," he said.

How about one of the tax writers who could become chairman after Thomas retires at year's end?

"Absolutely not," said Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La. "I'm not an accountant. I'm a lawyer."

What a lousy excuse. My husband's a lawyer, but he does our taxes.


Comments (12)

Is there a point here?... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Is there a point here?

Doing one's own taxes is unpleasant--far worse than doing someone else's taxes. Why? Because it hurts.

Also, depending on the number and types of income sources, it can be tedious--but that doesn't apply to most people. Senators, however, with their multiple residencies, multiple residences (note the lack of a second "i"), and substantial business expenses (most of their daily life is deductible), face a far more tedious task than the typical taxpayer who files a simple joint 1040A covering single employment incomes from husband and wife, and deducting their two kids.

I could do my own lawn, but I don't. I could trim my own trees, but I don't. I could wash my own windows, but I don't. I could repair my own car, but I don't. I could shine my own shoes, but I don't. I could do my own taxes, but I don't wanna.

Is there a point here?</... (Below threshold)

Is there a point here?

The point is, the nimrods who write the tax code, always making it more complicated, don't even understand it themselves.

Duh.

That's ludicrous, JohnAnnAr... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

That's ludicrous, JohnAnnArbor.

People don't do their taxes for the same reasons they don't shine their own shoes or mow their lawns or wash their cars.

The tax code is not that complicated and, from a historical perspective, it's been far worse. In fact, tax preparation is far easier today with forms and instructions instantly available from the IRS website, and the advent of tax preparation software; both of which save lots of time and make answers readily available.

If you feel you can't do your own taxes, that's only because you're a moron, or you're one of the very very few whose income statement is so complicated you need to maintain an accountant on staff to manage your daily life.

I have no sympathy for the whiners.

Um, is that the same IRS th... (Below threshold)

Um, is that the same IRS that won't guarantee that tax advice given by IRS 'helpers' is actually accurate?

I'm just sayin' - it's obviously not 'simple' if the IRS won't guarantee their own advice.

J.

Starboard, Are ... (Below threshold)

Starboard,

Are you kidding? You get to choose whether you want your shoes shined or your bushed trimmed. I can cut my grass any way I want. If you can not see that our tax system is unnecessarily complicated you are either blind or a congressman who understands that congressional power is mainly derived from the various tax related behavioral modification schemes. Why is Congress opposed to a flat tax or a national sales tax? Because without our convoluted tax system there would be a lot less reason for lobbyists to pay their greens fees.

"...and the advent of tax p... (Below threshold)

"...and the advent of tax preparation software..."

LOL S.A., of course it's easy if you use TURBO TAX...that way you don't have to read the instructions....

"If you feel you can't do your own taxes, that's only because you're a moron..."

That's just a needlessly arrogant and presumptuous thing to say.

The tax code is n... (Below threshold)
MikeB:
The tax code is not that complicated and, from a historical perspective, it's been far worse. In fact, tax preparation is far easier today with forms and instructions instantly available from the IRS website, and the advent of tax preparation software; both of which save lots of time and make answers readily available.

If you feel you can't do your own taxes, that's only because you're a moron, or you're one of the very very few whose income statement is so complicated you need to maintain an accountant on staff to manage your daily life.

I have no sympathy for the whiners.

Actually, according to a recent study done by the GAO, all of the tax returns completed by "paid professionals" were completed incorrectly (2 had the refund amount correct, but contained other errros).

There was a similar study done before where over half of the returns completed with assistance from IRS employees at the Taxpayer Assistance Centers were filed incorrectly.

So, simple that even the IRS can't seem to get it right ? The point isn't whether it's simple or not (that's somewhat subjective), but that it's unecessarily complex.

- MikeB

Means nothing if you enact ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Means nothing if you enact legislation abolishing it with this: H.R. 25, The FairTax Act

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.25:

MikeB:People make ... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

MikeB:

People make errors on their job applications, on their credit card applications, on their medical histories. People make errors in their blog comments, in letters to their grand mothers, and even birth certificates. That doesn't mean any of those items are unnecessarily complex, it simply means people are sloppy and, sometimes, a little aggressive in seeking deductions or puffing their credentials.

As for the IRS getting it right, don't forget two things: (1) They are human and over worked just like you, and (2) they are your adversary. The directions and their publications are pretty straight forward and reliable. But don't bet on their personnel to care enough to give you the most favorable advice. Hell, 80 percent of the IRS or Franchise Tax Board people I've spoken with are as dense and unhelpful as DMV workers. Vehicle registration is not complex at all, but the workers behind the desk can make it that way sometimes.

LargeBill:I do tri... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

LargeBill:

I do trim my own bush, thank you. Some things I won't let out of my control--and that includes sharp objects in the nether regions.

As for the comments about flat taxes and national sales taxes, I hope your understanding goes a little deeper than the shallow cynicism you expressed.

Yes, the tax code is complex. However, I disagree that it is unnecessarily complicated--there is a reason behind all of it. But more importantly, I think the user interface is sufficiently simple that the vast majority of you can easily do your own in an hour or two--at most! An average IQ, the ability to read directions, and the abiliity to do simple arithmetic is all that is required.

Even Kim makes the point that her husband, a lawyer, can do their taxes. Since taxes for lawyers are more complicated than for most people, and since lawyers are notoriously bad with numbers and accounting, then she shows that even the handicapped can do returns with some complexity.

I do trim my own bush, t... (Below threshold)

I do trim my own bush, thank you.

Too much information.

Eh, he brought it up!... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Eh, he brought it up!




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