Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee that writes the tax law, wants the IRS to get tough on taxpayers even if they make unintentional mistakes.
Yes THAT Charlie Rangel. The one who is constantly getting caught “forgetting” about his income.
- In September he admitted a failure to report $75 thousand in taxes.
- He was discovered taking a tax break for people whose primary residence was in Washington DC, but if his primary residence was in DC he couldn’t be congressman representing NYC. And besides, he was occupying four rent controlled controlled apartments in New York, the rule is you don’t qualify for rent control unless the apartment is your primary residence. That is why he got in trouble for using one of the apartments as his office.
- In May, the House Ways and Means Chair found himself in a new ethics investigation, this time “pay-for-play”. The allegation is that Rangel helped preserve a lucrative tax loophole for an Oil Company, and in turn the Oil Company donated a Million Dollars to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. Maybe it was for research on how people in Congress find way to service themselves.
- The end of June saw a new scandal as the Ethics Committee launched an investigation of the NY Congressman, this one revolving around a Caribbean boondoggle.
Then there is the matter of his financial disclosure form. Lets just say it had some mistakes also:
When Rangel’s errors have tax implications, he gets the “easy street” treatment from the IRS.
It’s gotten so bad that Texas Congressman John Carter has introduced H.R. 735, the “Rangel Rule Act of 2009.” H.R. 735 would require the IRS to give everyone the same kid-glove treatment it gave Rangel.
Under H.R. 735, if you’re caught cheating on your taxes, you would pay what you owe, then write “Rangel Rule” at the top of your return, and you wouldn’t be charged any penalty or interest. Carter feels that what is good for the guy righting the tax laws should be good for the rest of the American Public.
As the Ultimate Congressional Hypocrite Rangel disagrees. He slipped new rules into the Obamacare bill to require the IRS to get TOUGHER on the American Public. The NY Post is reporting that:
Rep. Charles Rangel had quietly slipped into the health-care bill broad new provisions cracking down on taxpayers in proceedings with the IRS, The Post has learned.
The changes approved by the House Ways and Means Committee that Rangel chairs would strip away legal defenses and pile higher penalties on corporate and individual taxpayers facing IRS proceedings for what they claim are unintentional mistakes, experts said.
Rangel’s bill would:
* Punish those who fail to alert the IRS to potentially questionable tax exemptions.
* Bar the IRS from waiving penalties against taxpayers who clearly erred in good faith.
* Double fines in certain circumstances.
“The bill raises penalties and eliminates many of the reasonable defenses that taxpayers have always been able to use when honest mistakes are uncovered,” one lawyer told The Post.
In fact, the bill increases fines “in some cases even for honest mistakes,” the expert added.
Under another provision, the IRS would require that taxpayers self-report areas where they may have gone over the line seeking tax advantages. If they fail to self-report and problems are found, tax penalties skyrocket.
In one provision, the measure doubles the fine against the taxpayer from 20 percent of the underpayment to 40 percent.
As with many of the complex tax provisions buried in the 1,018-page bill, the severity of the self-reporting language is a matter of debate.
Advocates argue that the provision is intended only to go after flagrant tax cheats, but that’s not clearly spelled out.
This is exactly the type of arrogance that created the public sentiment that leads to the tea party protests. Its no wonder that almost 60% of Americans want to replace all of congress. A good place to start would be NY Congressman, Charlie Rangel.