Bill in Congress Boosts Penalties for Tax Noncompliance

A word of warning to those of you who like to tweak the noses of the IRS with the forms you file, or by not filing at all. The latest Highway bill going through Congress may increase the “frivolous filing penalty” ten-fold and increase the penalties for failure to file as well:

B. Frivolous tax submissions. The provision increases the penalty for filing frivolous tax returns or for filing frivolous tax submissions from $500 to $5,000 and expands the penalty to apply to all taxpayers and all types of Federal taxes. This provision applies to submissions for collection due process, installment agreements, offers-in-compromise and taxpayer assistance orders. This provision becomes effective for all submissions and issues raised after the date on which the Secretary first prescribes the required list of frivolous positions. Raises $30 million over ten years.

C. Increased criminal fines and penalties. The provision increases criminal fines and prison sentences for the three most common offenses: failure to file, filing a false or fraudulent return and tax evasion. These proposed changes are substantially similar to increased criminal penalty provisions passed by the Senate in last year’s JOBS Act. One notable change is the creation of a new aggravated failure to file offense. While retaining the current misdemeanor penalty for non-filers needed to address simple violations, the new provision creates an aggravated offense to address more serious noncompliant behavior (“aggravated” means failing to file for 3 or more years with an aggregate tax liability of $100,000 or more). Raises $5 million over ten years.

Efforts to impede military recruitment are already having some success. The recruiters themselves, under increasing pressure to meet their quotas, are increasingly cutting corners. And this is happening at the same time as muckrakers in the media are turning a spotlight on recruiting techniques:

In , Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Kelt left a voice mail message on the cell phone of Christopher Monarch, 20, of Spring, telling him to show up at the Greenspoint recruiting office by 2 p.m. or a warrant would be issued for his arrest, according to Monarch and an Army official.

Monarch said he didn’t receive the message until after the designated time. “I was scared,” he said.

He said he had not made an appointment to meet the recruiter and was not interested in joining the military.

Monarch said he called Kelt the next day to clear up the matter. Kelt told him threatening to issue an arrest warrant was a “marketing technique,” according to Monarch, a version of the story the Army confirmed.

As a result of stories like this, the Army is going to hold a one-day “values stand down” in which recruiters put their normal recruiting activities on hold for a day for a remedial lesson in whatever passes for ethics in Army recruiting land.

Isn’t it cute when Democratic legislators get all gussied up in their best rhetoric and go out on the town? Witness Representative Ellen Tauscher:

Republicans in Congress have stacked the deck on today’s fiscally irresponsible supplemental spending bill: forcing members to either appear unpatriotic or support a cash-cow bill stuffed with pork projects that fail to either help our troops or meet any “emergency” need.

The Majority leadership is engaging in a heinous trend: using America’s fighting men and women as human shields to pass this pork-laden legislation.

Gotta like that. Of course, when it came time to put her vote where her mouth was, Representative Tauscher joined 142 of her Democrat colleagues in the House and voted for the pork and the war that comes with it.