Golf and Tax — Part I

What do golf and tax have in common?  As the colorful and wise Will Rogers said, “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.”

It was reported this spring that the IRS paid out upwards of $513 million (that’s $513,000,000 of real money!) in fraudulent claims for the home buyer tax credit.  This is just ONE tax credit; it doesn’t include the notorious earned income credit which is known to be widely abused.  They (US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.) reported that 1,295 prisoners (including 241 serving life sentences!) received $9.1 million.  10,282 taxpayers received credits for homes already claimed by someone else.  If you can imagine, 67 taxpayers claimed the SAME home.  13,448 taxpayers claimed a credit for a home that they “promised” to buy in the future.  This was so easy that even 100 IRS employees received the credit from  fraudulent claims.  I was irate when I read this.  How could the IRS hand out so much money with absolutely no oversight!

I mentioned this to a friend, and he said, “I can’t believe that people would do that.”  People?  People?  What was he talking about?  It had not once occurred to me to blame the people filing the fraudulent claims.  All of my anger was directed at the IRS for being so stupid as to hand out chunks of $8,000 a whack without requiring some serious documentation and a way of policing the procedure.  But who is to blame?  The IRS for offering the easily obtained $8,000?  Or the taxpayer for filing a fraudulent return?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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