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Old 04-21-2009, 08:12 PM   #331
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Bablefish is what the Bush people used to verify the WMDs.


well played.
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:36 AM   #332
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See how that worked.
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:09 AM   #333
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INSIDE WASHINGTON: Taxpayers to get rude surprise


By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Writer – Thu Apr 30, 8:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Millions of Americans enjoying their small windfall from President Barack Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit are in for an unpleasant surprise next spring.

The government is going to want some of that money back.

The tax credit is supposed to provide up to $400 to individuals and $800 to married couples as part of the massive economic recovery package enacted in February. Most workers started receiving the credit through small increases in their paychecks in the past month.

But new tax withholding tables issued by the IRS could cause millions of taxpayers to get hundreds of dollars more than they are entitled to under the credit, money that will have to be repaid at tax time.

At-risk taxpayers include a broad swath of the public: married couples in which both spouses work; workers with more than one job; retirees who have federal income taxes withheld from their pension payments and Social Security recipients with jobs that provide taxable income.

The Internal Revenue Service acknowledges problems with the withholding tables but has done little to warn average taxpayers.

"They need to get the Goodyear blimp out there on this," said Tom Ochsenschlager, vice president of taxation for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

For many, the new tax tables will simply mean smaller-than-expected tax refunds next year, IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said. The average refund was nearly $2,700 this year.

But taxpayers who calculate their withholding so they get only small refunds could face an unwelcome tax bill next April, said Jackie Perlman, an analyst with the Tax Institute at H&R Block.

"They are going to get a surprise," she said.

Perlman's advice: check your federal withholding to make sure sufficient taxes are being taken out of your pay. If you are married and both spouses work, you might consider having taxes withheld at the higher rate for single filers. If you have multiple jobs, you might consider having extra taxes withheld by one of your employers. You can make that request with a Form W-4.

The IRS has a calculator on its Web site to help taxpayers figure withholding. So do many private tax preparers.

Obama has touted the tax credit as one of the big achievements of his first 100 days in office, boasting that 95 percent of working families will qualify in 2009 and 2010.

The credit pays workers 6.2 percent of their earned income, up to a maximum of $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples who file jointly. Individuals making more $95,000 and couples making more than $190,000 are ineligible.

The tax credit was designed to help boost the economy by getting more money to consumers in their regular paychecks. Employers were required to start using the new withholding tables by April 1.

The tables, however, don't take into account several common categories of taxpayers, experts said.

For example:

_A single worker with two jobs making $20,000 a year at each job will get a $400 boost in take-home pay at each of them, for a total of $800. That worker, however, is eligible for a maximum credit of $400, so the remaining $400 will have to be paid back at tax time — either through a smaller refund or a payment to the IRS.

The IRS recognized there could be a similar problem for married couples if both spouses work, so it adjusted the withholding tables. The fix, however, was imperfect.

• A married couple with a combined income of $50,000 is eligible for an $800 credit. However, if both spouses work and make more than $13,000, the new withholding tables give them each a $600 boost — for a total of $1,200.

There were 33 million married couples in 2008 in which both spouses worked. That's 55 percent of all married couples, according to the Census Bureau.

• A single college student with a part-time job making $10,000 would get a $400 boost in pay. However, if that student is claimed as a dependent on a parent's tax return, she doesn't qualify for the credit and would have to repay it when she files next year.

Some retirees face even bigger headaches.

The Social Security Administration is sending out $250 payments to more than 50 million retirees in May as part of the economic stimulus package. The payments will go to people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, railroad retirement benefits or veteran's disability benefits.

The payments are meant to provide a boost for people who don't qualify for the tax credit. However, they will go to retirees even if they have earned income and receive the credit. Those retirees will have the $250 payment deducted from their tax credit — but not until they file their tax returns next year, long after the money may have been spent.

Retirees who have federal income taxes withheld from pension benefits also are getting an income boost as a result of the new withholding tables. However, pension benefits are not earned income, so they don't qualify for the tax credit. That money will have to paid back next year when tax returns are filed.

More than 20 million retirees and survivors receive payments from defined benefit pension plans, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. However, it is unclear how many have federal taxes withheld from their payments.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union raised concerns about the effect of the tax credit on pension payments in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in March.

Geithner responded that Treasury and IRS understood the concerns and were "exploring ways to mitigate that effect."

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said Geithner has yet to respond to concerns raised by committee members.

"So far we've got the, 'If we don't address this maybe it will go away' approach," Camp said.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:27 PM   #334
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abcnews.com

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

President Obama announced this morning steps to deal with “the most egregious examples” of problems in the country’s tax code, and to crack down on Americans who are “bending or breaking the rules.”

Touting a plan which aims to save American taxpayers $210 billion over the next ten years, the president, flanked by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman, outlined how he will strengthen the tax code to end abuses.

“Nobody likes paying taxes, particularly in times of economic stress,” The president said in the Grand Foyer of the White House. “But most Americans meet their responsibilities because they understand that it's an obligation of citizenship, necessary to pay the costs of our common defense and our mutual well-being. And yet, even as most American citizens and businesses meet these responsibilities, there are others who are shirking theirs. And many are aided and abetted by a broken tax system, written by well-connected lobbyists on behalf of well-heeled interests and individuals.”

The administration's two-part plan targets not only that "broken tax system" as a whole, but specifically the well-connected who are benefiting from loopholes in the system, and aims to make it more profitable for companies to create jobs in the U.S.

The president called for the making good of his campaign promise to end the practice of rewarding companies who ship jobs overseas or transfer profits to overseas tax havens.

“The way we make our businesses competitive is not to reward American companies operating overseas with a roughly 2 percent tax rate on foreign profit, a rate that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year. The way to make American businesses competitive is not to let some citizens and businesses dodge their responsibility, while ordinary Americans pick up the slack,” he said.

The president said the budget, which the administration will release in more detail this week, will finally give tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the U.S, which will create savings to be invested back into the country.

“We will stop letting American companies that create jobs overseas take deductions on their expenses when they do not pay any American taxes on their profits, and we will use the savings to give tax cuts to companies that are investing in research and development here at home so that we can jumpstart job creation, foster innovation and enhance America's competitiveness.”

The president called for shutting down of overseas tax havens that let companies set up operations to avoid paying taxes in America –- which he called a “tax scam” that needs to come to an end.

“That's why we're closing one of our biggest tax loopholes. It's a loophole that lets subsidiaries of some of our largest companies tell the IRS that they're paying taxes abroad, tell foreign governments that they're paying taxes elsewhere, and avoid paying taxes anywhere.”

Obama -- working with the Treasury Department and the IRS -- called on Congress to pass some “common–sense measures” to ward against these “tax cheats.”

“One of these measures would let the IRS know how much income Americans are generating in overseas accounts by requiring overseas banks to provide 1099s for their American clients, just like Americans have to do for their bank accounts here in this country. If financial institutions won't cooperate with us, we will assume that they are sheltering money in tax havens and act accordingly.”

The president announced that he is seeking to hire nearly 800 more IRS agents to detect and pursue American tax evaders abroad.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:29 PM   #335
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This tax change would be huge

I think it will be a bruising battle in congress to get these changes passed.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:32 PM   #336
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This tax change would be huge

I think it will be a bruising battle in congress to get these changes passed.


what's your sense -- a good idea or a not good idea?

my concern is that corporations can easily pass this burden on to the consumer.

but i don't know nearly enough about these things to have a solid opinion.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:17 PM   #337
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what's your sense -- a good idea or a not good idea?

my concern is that corporations can easily pass this burden on to the consumer.

but i don't know nearly enough about these things to have a solid opinion.
I wrote a paper that dealt with this in passing once.

It was more about whether the US method of citizenship-based taxation (which is found nowhere else in the world aside from such bastions of capitalism as Eritrea and North Korea) is still justified in this day and age. But I did do quite a bit of research on enforcement of taxation on overseas income of citizens. Particularly sticky are cases of individuals that no longer reside in the US.

If you are going to maintain your taxation system, then it should be enforced, but I am not really seeing practical solutions to these matters as there may be little incentive for foreign financial institutions to submit to what would amount to full compliance.

Besides, having full disclosure of overseas bank accounts does not necessarily correlate to an individual's or a corporation's actual income (whether active or passive), and it's a bit misleading since there have been some banks in the last decade which have voluntarily provided this sort of information and as far as I know, this hasn't resulted in significant compliance increases.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:46 PM   #338
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what's your sense -- a good idea or a not good idea?
I know this question wasn't directed at me, but I'd like to have a go at it anyway

I think there is something to be said to try and collect the taxes that are actually due instead of changing existing tax laws

however, I think this is going to be quite ineffective
I seriously think that big companies will outsmart governments on issues like these each and every time
Obama can't honestly believe they will just cough up
so I doubt the really big companies will end up paying much more and I don't think it's effective putting 800 IRS people to work on getting money from the smaller fish
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:37 PM   #339
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what's your sense -- a good idea or a not good idea?

my concern is that corporations can easily pass this burden on to the consumer.

but i don't know nearly enough about these things to have a solid opinion.

I have not studied it.

But, I do believe many individuals and corporations dodge any and almost all tax liabilities and put it on the back of working stiffs.


"my concern is that corporations can easily pass this burden on to the consumer"

that you a 'progressive' present the corporate, chamber of commerce, GOP argument just shows how well they have got this myth into the mainstream consciousness

I use to believe it, I no longer do.

Nike will use child labor to produce a pair of sneakers for $6 and sell them for $300, if they can get people to pay it.

what percent of companies want to only make a 'fair' profit?

In the 1980s record companies charged more for cds (about $15- $20) when they were offered at the same time as vinyl lps (about$8-$10). and the cds cost much less to make, about 1/3 of the cost of vinyl.


Corporations do not belong to the share-holders or the public, the CEOs and Boards always pay themselves handsomely before the shareholders.

Halliburton moved offshore from Texas so they could get taxpayer no-bid contracts and pay no taxes.

The oil companies charged us $4.50 a gallon awhile back for no other reason, than they could.
The Pharmaceuticals do the same - because they can.

This 'pass on the cost' is a myth, how is it working for the auto companies ?

Airlines pass on what they can, till the consumer refuses to pay.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:06 AM   #340
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This 'pass on the cost' is a myth
I agree
prices are based on what the customer is willing to pay
to reach certain margins companies will look at their costs, not at their income
and when they do look at their income they'll look at the tonnes they're able to sell, not the price

price increase because of increased costs would be the very last step, only taken when a company feels it's the only way to avoid financial turmoil
a company that makes a healthy profit (so the ones that actually owe taxes) won't even consider to pass on the cost
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:33 AM   #341
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I wrote a paper that dealt with this in passing once.

It was more about whether the US method of citizenship-based taxation (which is found nowhere else in the world aside from such bastions of capitalism as Eritrea and North Korea) is still justified in this day and age. But I did do quite a bit of research on enforcement of taxation on overseas income of citizens. Particularly sticky are cases of individuals that no longer reside in the US.
There's gotta be a comprehensive list of "things impoverished 3rd world countries, miserable dictatorships, and the United States" do, somewhere on the internet.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:41 AM   #342
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(without reading the other replies)

I don't quite know yet what to make of him.

It appears to me that he's trying to desparately to wipe out the past 8 years of the previous administration and he's not really thinking all of his new policies through to the end.

For instance, I can't understand why he would release top-secret memos that would ultimately endanger the lives of agents around the world, not to mention revealing interrogation techniques to America's enemies, and yet he won't release the pictures of the Air Force One flyover over Manhattan - an act which was truly a MORONIC thing to do.

I just don't know.......one can only hope that he knows what he's doing - for ALL of our sakes.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:39 AM   #343
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It appears to me that he's trying to desparately to wipe out the past 8 years of the previous administration
This would be a good thing

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and he's not really thinking all of his new policies through to the end.
You mean like starting two back to back wars without end at sight? Oh no, he wouldn't be that stupid. I don't think Bush supporters especially those as vocal as you have any room to talk about thinking things through to the end.

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For instance, I can't understand why he would release top-secret memos that would ultimately endanger the lives of agents around the world, not to mention revealing interrogation techniques to America's enemies, and yet he won't release the pictures of the Air Force One flyover over Manhattan - an act which was truly a MORONIC thing to do.
How exactly does it put agents in danger?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:29 AM   #344
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It's really a myth that the enemies of the US would need to turn to the memos to learn about torture techniques. There's really nothing they don't already know, or would not learn about if it wasn't for the memos.
And I doubt that the release of these memos puts these agents at any greater risk than they already are.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:29 AM   #345
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For instance, I can't understand why he would release top-secret memos that would ultimately endanger the lives of agents around the world, not to mention revealing interrogation techniques to America's enemies, and yet he won't release the pictures of the Air Force One flyover over Manhattan - an act which was truly a MORONIC thing to do.


other than the use of insects, every last "technique" in the torture memos was general knowledge to anyone who was paying attention to the issues -- i've been posting about waterboarding in here since 2007. so the idea that suddenly "they" know our "secrets" doesn't hold much water.

i do agree that the AFO flyover was stupid.
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