Apparently, it’s pretty simple and low-risk to file fraudulent tax returns
claiming that you qualify for thousands of dollars in refunds. The
cut you a check, then maaaaaybe somewhere down the road they’ll
notice something fishy, then maaaaaaybe they’ll catch you, then
maaaaaaaaybe they’ll try to get the money back.
story about one of the ones they caught up with. He took in half a million
dollars over three years this way — and all he had to do was just to pull the
numbers out of his butt. Nothing fancy. It was only accidentally, “after
federal agents learned that Fisher had cheated a local car dealer out of $1.2
million and used that money to buy gold bars and silver coins,” that the tax
fraud was uncovered incidentally to that investigation.
A recent TIGTA audit found out that this sort of fraud is
a billion-dollar problem for the
“This problem is becoming unmanageable,” the audit said.
The agency issued an estimated $1 billion in potentially fraudulent refunds,
four times what it originally estimated, and then didn’t bother to further
investigate half a million of the returns with discrepancies. Their Criminal
Investigation division tracked down about $189 million of that billion,
but left $894 million on
From time to time I’ve read what I thought of as sort of interesting thought
experiments about how massively-multiplayer video game universes have started
to develop impressively large economies, with measurable exchange rates with
the real world, and about whether real-world governments would eventually try
to dip their taxing fingers into this revenue stream.
Turns out it was less of a sci-fi thought experiment than I thought. The
China are already implementing virtual currency taxation schemes.
It’s a strange new world. Did you ever think when you were playing “Monopoly”
as a kid that one day it would come to this?
This looks like it could be a useful part of the solidarity economy:
TeachMate.org is a service that helps people who
wish to learn things find others who wish to teach them. You may think of it
as of a dating service in education. We are also very fond of the idea of
teaching for teaching: you can find people who’d love to teach you
something in return for you teaching him another thing.
The essence of this service is simple: whoever teaches — learns. There are
few simple things we wish our user could find out:
- You don’t need to be a professional to teach. Instead, you have to teach
to become a professional.
- You don’t need to pay money for learning or ask for money when you teach
- Learning is not about the degrees, it’s about the process and what you
can do with your knowledge.