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Ear to the Ground

Another Nominee in Tax Trouble

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Posted on Mar 31, 2009
Kathleen Sebelius
AP photo / Susan Walsh

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

This has gone from coincidence to self-parody to alarming. Another of Barack Obama’s nominees has had to apologize for not paying her full taxes. Kathleen Sebelius, the president’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department, has now paid off $7,918, a paltry debt compared with Tom Daschle’s $140,000.

We don’t mean to pile on the Kansas governor. Her mistakes appear honest and minor next to those of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who didn’t bother to pay $34,000, despite warnings from the IRS (which he now oversees).

How many Americans this year will find themselves receiving that dreaded notice from the IRS and wondering what Cabinet post they might have filled?

Reuters:

Kathleen Sebelius, named as U.S. health secretary by President Barack Obama, became his latest nominee to reveal income tax issues, saying on Tuesday she paid nearly $8,000 to settle errors over three years.

Sebelius, the governor of Kansas, must pass a confirmation process in Congress before she can lead Obama’s overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare sector to cut costs and provide coverage to an estimated 46 million uninsured Americans.

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By samosamo, April 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

New requirement for being elected or appointed to ‘represent’ the people, cheat on your income taxes because you are now in the ‘club’ and you don’t have to worry about being responsible or accountable.

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By keepyourheaddown, April 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CROOKS AND LIARS ALL OF THEM!!!!!

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By Sue Cook, April 1, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

In light of this seemingly endless tax evasion debacle, I think congress should demand a tax audit on all government officials. That no doubt will be a good start in puting a dent in the national debt.

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By felicity, April 1, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Many years ago (before the electorate went brain-dead) there was dinner-table-type-talk that Congress purposely designed the tax code with enough loop holes and obfuscation so that ‘cheating’ (by them too, of course) here and there on tax returns could go undetected.

Carried to what we thought was pure conjecture on our part, we decided that Congress’s (unexpressed but clear) purpose was so when Congressmen did their cheating (not only on taxes, but whenever the opportunity arose) the public, because it could and also did cheat the government would shrug Congress’s behavior off as just business-as-usual.  (Just one big den of thieves?)

Somebody observed that one really has to know the tax code inside and out to pull off an under-the-table tax cheat so the ‘honest mistakes’ or ‘unintentional mistakes’ argued by these pols in their so-called defense are impossible to swallow.

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By NYCartist, April 1, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Need to write/talk about who IRS targets:folks at the bottom.  Source: DemocracyNow, guest, David Cay Johnston, longtime tax writer. http://www.democracynow.org Folks at the top have lots of lawyers.  How many haven’t paid taxes, from corporations to many rich?

Why didn’t “W” Bush nominees have this kind of problem? Did any?

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By dihey, April 1, 2009 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Sorry G.A., I made a filing mistake in my 2008 return and the IRS refunded me an additional (approximately) 500 dollars.

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By artie, April 1, 2009 at 7:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More evidence of the higher immorality of the power elite, as elaborated on in “The Power Elite”, by Mills, written 50 years ago but still up to date.

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By Retiring Guy, April 1, 2009 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you stacked everyone who has received a notice from the IRS for not paying full taxes, you’d have a tower at least 689 miles high.  I’d be in that pile.  But I made up the difference plus the interest. Sebelius’ situation is not self-parody; it’s not alarming.  The goofiness is in the silly media & blogo coverage, focusing on the easy story and not caring to shine the light where it needs to be directed.  (On our excruciatingly cumbersome tax system.  What happened to that story?)

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By G.Anderson, March 31, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

So my question is who doesn’t have tax problems? Doesn’t everyone have them?

The tax laws are complicated, even after you file there will be computer programs going through every dot of your return to see if it can increase the government’s take.  These automatic programs will send out letters increasing the amount of taxes you owe, even if you don’t actually owe them. Because they know that people will pay just because they are intimidated by getting the letter. It’ actually a significant amount of what the IRS gets.

Atlanta, Kansas City and Fresno seem in competition for this money. Sometimes people can get many letters all from different offices asking for different things. I

t’s sad when you pay your taxes, thinking you’ve done the right thing, and they turn around and demand more, using some obscure regulation, that only an attorney could understand.

I’ve even gotten demands for copies of my children’s birth certificates after, claiming them as dependent deductions every year since they were born for over a decade.

The state and IRS work together so if one opens a case on you the other will follow suit.

After years of this, you begin to develop a phobia of getting your mail out of the mail box. Which at times can interfere with getting the other mail you should read.

Taxes are a problem for everyone, so it doesn’t surprise me when this happens, its part of the plan to make everyone afraid, to make them feel little small and powerless.

We the people pay way too much in taxes, and everyday they find ways of getting more and more money from us.

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