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Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006 09:37 pm

IRS goes after poor folks

With Bush & Co., them that’s got is them that gets

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You’ve gotta love the consistency of the Bushites. When they ram through their multibillion-dollar tax giveaways, it’s the super-rich and corporations that gain. And when they unleash their IRS to look into tax cheating, they don’t probe the tax shelters of millionaires or the multibillion-dollar offshore tax havens of corporate finaglers — instead, they go after the working poor who are entitled to tax credits of only a few hundred bucks each. With Bush & Co., them that’s got is them that gets — and everybody else should watch out! That’s the hard lesson learned by some 1.6 million low-income workers who have not only had their tax refunds frozen in the past five years but also have had their tax filings officially labeled fraudulent by the IRS. This crackdown on the poor has allowed Bush to claim that, by gollies, he’s tough on tax fraud. But the IRS’s own in-house taxpayer advocate, Nina Olson, and her staff analyzed the returns of these accused poor folks and found that two-thirds of them were actually entitled to the tax credits they sought or entitled to even more money. Another 14 percent were due at least a partial refund, and, of the remaining 20 percent, almost none had committed fraud but instead had simply been confused by the complicated tax forms and made honest errors. By the way, the average income of these supposed tax deadbeats was only $13,000. The great majority were working parents who were using the earned-income tax credit. But now these good folks are being browbeat for crass political gain. If you’re a corporate tax cheat, the Bushites and their congressional henchmen look the other way — but if you’re a working stiff, you’re presumed to be a fraud and the IRS comes down on you.
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