“State Senator Don Perata was carjacked less than two blocks away from our
store,” said Scott Silvera, who owns Scout Home Hardware at 51st and Telegraph in North Oakland.
Silvera is disturbed that merchants on the block have been robbed at gunpoint.
Last week when a 10-year-old boy was paralyzed during his piano lesson by a
stray bullet, the police pursuit ended in front of the hardware store.
In response, Silvera launched a tax protest. He’s not collecting city and
state sales taxes unless things change to address crime.
Silvera said he knows his defiance could land him in jail, but he hopes his
protest inspires others to do something to make a positive difference in
has just released its audit figures for .
Audits are up across-the-board. This in spite of not having significantly more
enforcement personnel or budget.
In the past, a closer look at the numbers has shown that they’ve accomplished
this miracle by emphasizing “correspondence” audits over “field” audits. It
looks like this is again the case. While about three-quarters of the total
conducts are correspondence audits, more than 90% of the increase in audits
this year comes from correspondence audits.
The agency also seems to be backing off on audits of large corporations. These
have the potential to be big-bucks items, but they also take a lot of time and
a lot of personnel — both of which can be redeployed to increase the numbers
elsewhere. Indeed, the larger the large corporation, the stronger the drop-off
in enforcement in recent years. Corporations in the $50–100 million asset
range have seen their likelihood of an audit drop from 16.4% to 11.4%; those
in the $100–250 million range have gone from 17.5% to 12.1%; those above $250
million have dropped from 44.1% to 27.2%.
The strategy may be a wise one. “Overall, enforcement revenue reached $59.2
billion, up from $48.7 billion in and nearly
$34.1 billion in .” On the other hand, this
increase could reflect increased tax evasion rather than more effective
enforcement — the same sized slice but of a larger pie.
Levies, liens, and seizures are all up over last year’s numbers. After last
year’s leap over the previous year from 2,743,577 levies to 3,742,276, this
year’s increase is much more modest: to 3,757,190.
If you want to start a discussion of budget priorities, this’ll do the trick.
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