Tax Break

Taxes not just certain, they’re right thing to do-survey

Internal Revenue Service office near Times Square in New York.

Most Americans believe strongly that it’s a civic duty to pay their “fair share” in taxes, that cheating on taxes is wrong and that cheaters should be held accountable, said a survey from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s Oversight Board released on Monday.

Created by Congress in 1998 to keep an eye on the IRS, the oversight board does its survey annually. This year’s is consistent with past results showing strong support for the tax obligations of citizenship and low tolerance for those who shirk it.

Despite chatter on the political fringes about taxes being a form of theft, 96 percent of those surveyed said they completely or mostly agreed that  ”it is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes.”

Only 8 percent gave the answer “as much as possible” to the question, “How much, if any, do you think is an acceptable amount to cheat on your income taxes?” That’s a contrast to attitudes in places like Italy and Greece where tax dodging is endemic.

 More than 60 percent said the IRS should get more funding to do a better job at enforcement.

What Mitt missed on his tax forms, and why?

Romney tax return 

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign acknowledged to Reuters and others that his campaign is revising his federal ethics forms. They will now report more than a half-dozen offshore holdings, including income from a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, that was not disclosed last year.

The Romney campaign has described the issue as a minor discrepancy, and noted that all taxes owed on the overseas accounts were paid. But given the political football that overseas assets and tax disclosure have become –with the Internal Revenue Service cracking down on those who have assets abroad — that acknowledgment raises important questions.

First, why did the Romneys choose to hold assets overseas, particularly in places that have been targeted in the IRS’s ongoing crackdown? In addition to Switzerland, the Romneys held assets in the Cayman Islands, the Bermudas and Ireland, all countries that have lower tax rates than the U.S. Things can be perfectly legal, yet look terrible for someone with political ambitions, especially a presidential candidate.