Obama’s Treasury Secretary Nominee Dodged His Taxes

Regular Picket Line readers will know that for the last few years I’ve been neglecting to pay my self-employment taxes (I haven’t owed any federal income tax since ).

Unfortunately the IRS has noticed my delinquency, and on a few occasions has seized what money they’ve been able to locate.

Some people, however, have more luck than I have. One of them, Barack Obama’s nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury (and thus, überczar of the IRS) Timothy Geithner, failed to pay $34,000 worth of self-employment tax . And in his case, apparently, the IRS mostly looked the other way. He probably would have gotten away with it, were it not for the extra scrutiny brought to bear after his nomination.

The IRS discovered the missing self-employment taxes for two years, but waived the penalties (anyone you know get such nice treatment?). But apparently this didn’t make Geithner or anyone else curious about the other two years in which he didn’t pay self-employment taxes.

So a few days before his nomination was announced he finally got around to paying off the rest (no penalties, natch), and all the folks in the halls of power are murmuring “honest mistake” and waving questions aside.

I’m sure they’d do the same for you or me.


There’s some commentary on-line about the proposal to let the IRS tax people for transactions they engage in during networked gaming. In other words, if you are playing the role of Mandar the Magician in an on-line role playing game and you sell some magic incantation to Gronan the Barbarous for 40 pieces of gold, the IRS may want some of those pieces.

Why? Well, it’s economic activity, and they can’t bear to let it go untaxed. Plus, it does have a measurable real-world value, at least in the many cases in which virtual goods are exchanged for real-world cash on sites like eBay.

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