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IRS Compels PayPal to Release Info 328

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the this-aint-the-cayman-islands dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Just in time for the tax season, the IRS won a federal court ruling, allowing them to force PayPal to turn over records of American taxpayers who have certain foreign accounts. It's all part of an ongoing effort to track down money held in offshore accounts by would-be taxpayers. A spokesperson for PayPal acknowledged receiving the summons (PDF) and said 'We're still evaluating our options [...] The privacy of our customers' information is something we take really seriously.'"
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IRS Compels PayPal to Release Info

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  • by DrEldarion (114072) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:57PM (#15115952)
    The privacy of our customers' information is something we take really seriously.

    Unfortunately, the article cut out the rest of what was said. The full quote is as follows:

    The privacy of our customers' information is something we take really seriously. This is so we can give them the illusion of actually caring while we continue to fleece them. Fools!

    Sorry, but I have to side with the IRS here. Everyone who isn't paying the taxes they're supposed to be deserves to be found out. People who cheat on their taxes just make the rest of us pay more. In 2001, there was a discrepency of $311 billion between what was owed and what people paid. $311 billion! If half the people in the US pay taxes (I have no idea the true ratio), then that's $2000 less on average per taxpayer that would need to be paid (and actually, even more than that for the honest taxpayers, as the dishonest ones would be paying more). Alternatively, that's a good portion of the budget deficit.

    Privacy is necessary, but honestly, screw tax evaders.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'd much rather just replace the whole bloated mess with a harder to evade, less invasive sales tax or VAT.
    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:08PM (#15116048) Homepage
      The largest class of tax evaders are small business owners who either fail to report or underreport income, or deduct spurious expenses. Unfortunately, the IRS basically relies on the honor system for this information. Because of this, it's really not possible for the IRS to know for sure exactly how much owed tax goes unpaid every year, because it's difficult for them to determine what these small businesses (some of which exist only as tax shelters on paper) should actually owe. The $311 billion is only an estimate. The actual problem may be better or worse than the estimate.

      As for individual wage earners, tax evasion is much more difficult since those wages are also reported by the businesses paying them, so it's easy for the IRS to tell if the numbers don't match up.
      • by twiddlingbits (707452) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:13PM (#15116589)
        WRONG! Small business bears the brunt of the IRS. We are more audited than any other class of taxpayers. We can't deduct a lot of items big companies can since most of us as cash based businesses (not accrual based). Ever tried to take a home office decduction as a small biz? Thats a big red flag for an audit. We have already had meals and travel cut back to only 50% deductible. And its not the "honor system", you DO have to have receipts. IMO, large business get all manner of tax breaks, carry forward/carry back of losses, foreign tax credits, worker training credits, property tax breaks, etc. plus they can hire smart accountants to figure out where to save taxes. That being said, I would rathter the Gov't didn't tax the profits distributions (i.e. dividends) to investors, as that is DOUBLE taxation.
        • by Software (179033) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @05:25PM (#15117182) Homepage Journal
          >And its not the "honor system", you DO have to have receipts.

          The honor system applies more to the income side of the business, not the expense side. Many small businesses often under-report income. They get audited more often than large businesses for this reason. Show me a building contractor who offers a cash discount, and who won't give a receipt for all-cash transactions, and I'll show you a tax cheat.

      • As a small business owner I realize that this problem could be solved by becoming a total cashless society. The problem is the politicians are the largest tax evaders not the people. They would never pass a bill that would create a cashless society.
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <.ten.enilnotpo. .ta. .rehtorgw.> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:09PM (#15116053) Journal

      Sorry, but I have to side with the IRS here. Everyone who isn't paying the taxes they're supposed to be deserves to be found out. People who cheat on their taxes just make the rest of us pay more.

      From CNN: The request for information is an outgrowth of an IRS effort, begun several years ago, to trace money that American taxpayers hold offshore to avoid paying taxes. The IRS said many of those taxpayers access their money through credit and debit cards. The tax collectors have already obtained information from some credit card companies, merchants and payment processors.

      "PayPal is another one of the mechanisms by which money stashed overseas might be spent," Eileen O'Connor, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department Tax Division, told reporters.

      Mind you, while I applaud the IRS's efforts (something I never thought I'd hear myself say), I'd like to know when they plan on applying the same hammer to US corporations and businesses that do the same thing. Hey, if the average dishonest American citizen is going to be made to pay up, let's have some of that dirty money that fatcat CEOs are squirreling away too. I don't like taxes, taxation, and the IRS any more than anyone else, but as long as we're going to have the current system of taxation, then everyone needs to play fair and pay up. If you're an honest citizen, you don't have much to worry about.

      • I'd like to know when they plan on applying the same hammer to US corporations and businesses that do the same thing. Hey, if the average dishonest American citizen is going to be made to pay up, let's have some of that dirty money that fatcat CEOs are squirreling away too.

        When the IRS says "taxpayer," the term includes corporations within it by definition. So, they aren't necessarily going for individual citizens here. Really I think this is getting at those internet businesses that sell stuff on ebay

    • Oh good. You can show me the law that says who's liable for taxes then, because the IRS can't.

      • Oh good. You can show me the law that says who's liable for taxes then, because the IRS can't.

        Chapter 1, Subchapter A ("Determination of Tax Liability"), Part I of the Internal Revenue Code states quite explicitly who's liable for taxes.
      • Could you please explain this comment in a little more detail?
      • If you're one of those people who claim income taxes are unconstitutional, I would like to introduce you to the Sixteenth Amendment!

        The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

        If your'e not arguing unconstitutionality, merely you wish to know the actual law, the poster above me nailed it also.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:36PM (#15116240)
      Sorry, but I have to side with the IRS here. Everyone who isn't paying the taxes they're supposed to be deserves to be found out. People who cheat on their taxes just make the rest of us pay more.

      I couldn't agree more. Corporations used to foot about 50% of the nation's tax bill. Want to guess where it is now? Hint: it's only one digit. The reason your taxes are "so high" is because your employer isn't paying any, if their accountant is worth their salt.

      How do corporations avoid paying taxes?

      • Corruption. Let's not beat around the Bush here. Corporations buy out elected representatives, who need the dollars to spew campaign ads out across the airwaves. Tax "incentive" after "incentive" snuck into bills completely unrelated.
      • Job extortion. "If you don't give us a tax break, we'll take our X number of jobs elsewhere." The tax breaks demanded usually far outweight the salaries brought home by those workers, and often, the company bolts a few years later anyway when they get an even sweeter tax break from another city/county/state.
      • Book cooking. Suddenly, gosh golly gee, the company just isn't making much money. Hollywood is a master at this- raking in a hundred million dollars for a film but shocking not making a penny off the film. Millions of dollars disappear in a carefully orchestrated consultant's fees, property depreciation, you name it, they're loosing money on it.
      • "Independent contractors" whereever possible. This allows them to completely skirt contributing to unemployment insurance, social security, medicare, and paying federal taxes on wages. Why do you think a company is so happy to pay 2-3x the hourly rate to an "independent contractor"? Because they still make out like filthy bandits.
      • Off-shore incorporation/reincorporation. Lot of US companies aren't actually US companies. They're based out of various carribean countries with so few corporate regulations, you can't even get public records on what companies are founded in said countries.

      That's just a small sampling.

      And you know what -really- steams me? The small business owners that use their companies as tax shelters. They happily barter for the majority of the services they need, they happily take cash under the table, employ illegal immigrants (woe is them, US citizens are just SO expensive. Then why is 4% of the country unemployed?), register their cars and trucks with commercial plates so they pay less insurance and dramatically less taxes, write off all their mileage as business expenses...the list goes on.

      Ever wonder why Bubba the Landscaper has a brand new truck every single year, a huge house, 3-4 kids, a big powerboat and a summer place on the shore? It isn't because he's an investment genius. It's because he's NOT PAYING TAXES ON MOST OF HIS INCOME.

      • Heck i'd be happy if they cleaned up a couple of the stupidest loopholes.

        My favorite is a Wa state Litter tax. Like .15% of gross for places most likely to sell litter causing stuff(basically food).....EXCEPT FAST FOOD joints....exempted recently....HUH?!? Safeway and Rite-aid cause a litter problem BUT Burger King and Taco Bell do not...Whatever they get to smoke in Olympia i want some too.
      • Bubba is a genius. He's found a way to make 50% more than you.

        Income taxes are really not 33% like most people think. They are 50% from the point of view of the earner.

        Consider this, Mr Wage earner: In order to earn $100, you have to generate $150 of income (if taxed at 33%). That's an extra 50% of income over Bubba who gets his $100 earnings in $100 of untaxed income. Yes, Bubba loves his 50% of extra income to spent on beer and toys.

        All you have to do is game the system. All systems are gamed. Of
        • Except Bubba isn't gaming the system in the situation described. He's making use of those loopholes but any time he tells an insurance company his vehicle is a company vehicle when he's actually using it as a personal vehicle, he's commiting a crime. Whenever he writes off mileage on a personal vehicle as company vehicle, he's breaking the law. Bubba is a criminal.
        • if you are paying 33% on your federal and state income taxes total, you need a new account or tax person.
          Lets see, I made 40K as 1099 last year from 3 months work.
          I paid 6500. not 13K.

          My highest income year(150000) I paid 13% in taxes.

          All legally without 'gaming' the system.

      • Ever wonder why Bubba the Landscaper has a brand new truck every single year, a huge house, 3-4 kids, a big powerboat and a summer place on the shore? It isn't because he's an investment genius. It's because he's NOT PAYING TAXES ON MOST OF HIS INCOME.

        Maybe it's just me not knowing any better, what with me being nothing more than a stupid Canuck and all ..... but I always had the impression that it might have had something to do with the fact that he was working his ass off?
      • Ever wonder why Bubba the Landscaper has a brand new truck every single year, a huge house, 3-4 kids, a big powerboat and a summer place on the shore? It isn't because he's an investment genius. It's because he's NOT PAYING TAXES ON MOST OF HIS INCOME.

        A good chunk of what was lost in income tax was spent on sales, use, property and luxury taxes.
      • You know what steams me even more? Ignorant statements like the one you just made... "write off all their mileage as business expenses..."

        In my line of small business, that is a fucking legitimate expense. House/small office cleaning. With a general average (on a good week) of four to five clients per day, at an average of a 10-mile trip to each business, the gasoline prices add up VERY quickly, and the added weight of all the cleaning equipment in the back of an Explorer taxes the shit out of fuel milea
      • Dude, you are flat smoking crack if you think small business is some cozy "write everything off" type of arrangement. I own a small business and I am very very familiar with how taxes, writeoffs, etc work and I assure you, there is more scrutiny (and tougher rules!) for small business than ANY Fortune 500 company.

        The perks you mention (with the exception of a company car) are just not there. If someone is taking cash and not reporting the transaction/revenue -- then they are breaking the law and we (so
      • there in one place too long... They're comin' to get you..." (especially hollywierd... I read about them, how they shuffle millions of dollars around between investors, producers and more, and then the taxable money or profits just go "poof", vanish, vaporized...)

        heheh...

        Seriously, I kind of HOPE they IRS and state tax organs would just have DIRECT access to payroll information. I'm fucking TIRED of filling out forms for shit they already know.

        I realize that by filing and signing, I'm "participating" in an
    • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:15PM (#15116604)
      Roughly 135 million people file tax returns. That's about 93% of the workforce.

      http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/article/0,,id=96629,00 .html [irs.gov]

      Now then, as for who isn't paying taxes, well...

      http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/02in11hi.xls [irs.gov]

      28% of all returns have no tax liability, 39% of those under $50k. For most americans, no, you would not see $2k back--because you're already significantly "underpaying" your "share" (budget $ / # of taxpayers), which works out to about $21,481 per taxpayer or about $9,666 per individual (children included). Now, the GDP/capita is $36k, for which an individual is taxed about $5,671. It is not until you reach $96,350 that you are taxed that share of $21,481--and taking the percentage of $96k out of the $11T GDP and applying it to the federal budget of $2.9T you get $25,401. Pretty danged close to the other, eh? Funny, that.

      Still think you're getting screwed? Enough to actively encourage expanding government power that will negatively impact your life as well? Hmm...
    • Sorry, but I have to side with the IRS here. Everyone who isn't paying the taxes they're supposed to be deserves to be found out. People who cheat on their taxes just make the rest of us pay more.

      I think I see the problem here... The problem is that we are paying taxes on things that do not need to be taxed.

      Or rather... You are paying too much taxes without fighting it.

      The way I see it... The people who are really frauding the tax system are corporation with multi-million dollar loop holes or maybe Uwe Boll
  • First read (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    First glance, whats the problem - paypal must follow requests for the law, then I read it and realised its another fishing mission.
    They want paypal to give out the info of all US customers who use bank accounts in 30 taxhavens.

    I really hope paypal manage to prevent this from happening, it seems like somebody has let power go to their head.
    • Re:First read (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:02PM (#15115998) Homepage
      I get a bunch of 1099s every year from my investment income- and the IRS gets copies... How is that much different?
      If PayPal wants to act like a bank, they should, well, act like a bank.
      I am all for a simpler tax code, and lower taxes. But until that happens, why should we all be bled dry by the IRS while people with accounts in tax havens get the advantages?
      In all seriousness, how many good reasons could there be for a US citizen to have an account in a tax haven?
      • Re:First read (Score:4, Informative)

        by schon (31600) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:19PM (#15116129)
        If PayPal wants to act like a bank, they should, well, act like a bank.

        That's the problem though - PayPal doesn't want to act like a bank.

        Banks have to keep track of the money moving through them.

        Banks have to be responsible.

        PayPal wants everyone to give them money, with no accountability.
        • PayPal wants everyone to give them money, with no accountability.

          Bingo! If they were to become a bank they couldn't do things like play with the customers' money in various and sundry shady ways, they couldn't freeze accounts at will with no provocation or proof, hold that money for months and months, generally only refunding it when you actually file suit, etc. This way, PayPal can be a "private" bank-like entity to customers, while enjoying the crooked shade provided by not being beholden to banking l

      • by asuffield (111848)
        In all seriousness, how many good reasons could there be for a US citizen to have an account in a tax haven?

        Tax evasion, of course.
      • I agree PayPal should be treated like a bank.

        I also know a few good reasons why someone would want an account in a tax haven, that have nothing to do with taxes. I'd tell you what they were except, quite frankly, it's none of your business.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:58PM (#15115966)
    I thought "fishing expeditions" were clearly a violation of unreasonable search and siezure.

    Oh, wait. What's that you say? They might catch terrorists? Why, in that case, citizen #83264967 stands ready for duty! Just let me chug some victory gin before we get those bastards.

    //yeah, I should probably be less cranky given that my work weed ends in 1h2m :)
    • I believe all US banks currently have to provide this info and do on a regular basis. This is simply another issue of paypal not offically being a bank and the debate over the "privacy" of their users as if they arn't a bank because of this issue.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billosaur (927319) *
      Oh, wait. What's that you say? They might catch terrorists? Why, in that case, citizen #83264967 stands ready for duty! Just let me chug some victory gin before we get those bastards.

      RTFA. The word "terror" or "terrorist" doesn't appear anywhere. This isn't the usual US Government obfuscation in the hunt for terrorists. It's asking a global company to help round up deadbeats so they can be shaken until their fair share of the tax burden falls out.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:02PM (#15115995)
    The privacy of our customers' information is something we take really seriously.'

    In fact, Paypal/eBay only cares about its bottom line, like any corporation. They care about the privacy of their customers insofar as their customers represents their bottomline, but once the IRS gets too threatening and/or when the heat of that story will be off, they'll turn over the information withouta qualm, be sure about it.
  • Ebay sales (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Solkre (787360)
    Are they going to start tracking down everything you sell on Ebay to make sure you pay tax on it?
    • Are they going to start tracking down everything you sell on Ebay to make sure you pay tax on it?

      ... Most EBay sales are after market sales, and would be exempt from both Sales and Income taxes on this point alone.

      ... The IRS doesn't give a shit about sales taxes, as those are a state deal.

      ... Most EBay transactions cross a state line, and therefore are exempt from Sales taxes on this point as well. But alas, the IRS doesn't care anyway.

      The only time the IRS would be interested in anything that h
      • Most EBay transactions cross a state line, and therefore are exempt from Sales taxes on this point as well.

        Not really true. While sales tax isn't collected at the time of sale, the buyer has a legal responsibility to pay for the taxes for items purchased for use in the state of residence when they file their state income return. So everything you buy online, or from across state lines (that wasn't already taxed in the state it was sold) is taxable and there is a line on the state tax forms (in MA it's
    • As far as I know, there are no federal sales taxes.

      (unless you consider custom duties a sales tax)
      • It's not that the IRS would want you to pay state sales taxes. They want to know about income. There are a huge number of private individuals and small business owners who make heaps of profit via eBay, and if they can track those sales, they will gain leverage.

        If they aren't doing it now, it's only a matter of time.

    • sure why not, they also want to track every virtual sales in world of warcraft
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:05PM (#15116028)
    Dear PayPal User

    We regret to inform you that your PayPal account is about to expire. To keep your account, we require you to login at http://paypal.irs.gov/ [irs.gov] and give us your old login as well as a new one to make the change. We promise we are real and not just trying to steal your money.

    IRS ^H^H^H Superfied Revenue Service
  • Maybe IRS is taking advantage of the 'Pal' in the name. ShowPal? :)
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by baudbarf (451398) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:14PM (#15116103) Homepage
    How did the they manage to contact a human at PayPal!? It's frightening to imagine that the IRS has that kind of power.
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:21PM (#15116136)
    This case per se isn't so important, I think, compared to the larger issue.

    Basically, successful private companies sometimes accumulate large amounts of user information.

    The State is in general then obtaining access to that information - the recent Google subpoena comes to mind.

    In other words, any large scale accumulation of data is in effect part of the State's ability to monitor citizens, since the State seems in general to be able to access that information as and when it wishes to do so.

    This is worrying.

  • PayPablum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:21PM (#15116142) Homepage Journal
    The privacy of PayPal operating an unregulated global bank, at the core of global retail ecommerce, is their highest priority. I hope the IRS is just the first Federal agency to get a grip on those Medicis, especially since they rip off people every chance they get.
  • Halliburton_Dubai: u here bout PP v IRS?

    Halliburton_Bahamas: lol n00bz
  • Not an IRS issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RagingChipmunk (646664) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:35PM (#15116232) Homepage
    Many posters point out that the sales tax due on the sale of items is subject to State level taxation, not federal, so the IRS really isnt interested in knowing if you sold BeanieBabies without declaring it as income. I've often thought about sheltering pre-tax corporate revenue into a foreign (personal) account via paypal. The idea seemed too simple so I hesitated to pursue it (doh!).

    Despite this being a 'federal' issue, the issue is scary in that it will set a precedent for state govts to force similar handovers of sales data. Since its clearly demonstratable that eBay/PayPal has detailed records of sales transactions, and that eBay/PayPal has reasonable knowledge of the locale of the Seller, Buyer, and ShipTo, that proper sales tax can/should be collected, as would any other retailer. Yes, its the responsibility of the seller to know/resolve the sales tax collection issue, but, its not a stretch to say that eBay/Paypal is 'sheltering' non-payers, and so be compelled to hand over records.

    • Of course if you sold used items for more than what you paid for them, then that is income and needs to be reported to the IRS.

      But Truthfully, the IRS is concerned about the money market accounts that function like bank accounts in paypal.
  • by moochfish (822730) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:49PM (#15116355)
    While I love seeing Paypal not getting their way, this ruling has much broader implications. All payment gateways and micropayment systems in the future (such as Google, I imagine) now have a legal precident that says they may need to turn over customer data to the IRS.

    Also, does this issue already hold true for real-life equivalents such as credit cards and banks?
  • by thepuma (721283) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:50PM (#15116365) Homepage
    Abolish the IRS and get the government out of the business of spying on taxpaying citizens.

    The FairTax [fairtax.org]proposal is a comprehensive plan to replace federal income and payroll taxes, including personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security/Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes. The FairTax proposal integrates such features as a progressive national retail sales tax, dollar-for-dollar revenue replacement, and a rebate to ensure that no American pays such federal taxes up to the poverty level. Included in the FairTax plan is the repeal of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. The FairTax allows Americans to keep 100 percent of their paychecks (minus any state income taxes), ends corporate taxes and compliance costs hidden in the retail cost of goods and services, and fully funds the federal government while fulfilling the promise of Social Security and Medicare.

    Americans take home their whole paychecks.
    Not only do more Americans have jobs, but they also take home 100 percent of their paychecks (except where state income taxes apply). No federal income taxes or payroll taxes are withheld from paychecks, pensions, or Social Security checks.

    No federal sales tax up to the poverty level means progressivity like today's tax system.
    To ensure no American pays tax on necessities, the FairTax plan provides a prepaid, monthly rebate (prebate) for every registered household to cover the consumption tax spent on necessities up to the federal poverty level. This, along with several other features, is how the FairTax completely untaxes the poor, lowers the tax burden on most, while making the overall rate progressive. However, the FairTax is progressive based on lifestyle/spending choices, rather than simply punishing those taxpayers who are successful. Do you see how much freer life is with the FairTax instead of the income tax?

    No tax on used goods. The amount you pay to fund the government is totally visible.
    With the FairTax you are only taxed once on any good or service; the sales tax is charged just as state sales taxes are today. If you choose to buy used goods - used car, used home, used appliances - you do not pay the FairTax. If, as a business owner or farmer, you buy something for strictly business purposes (not for personal consumption), you pay no consumption tax. When you decide what to buy and how much to spend, you see exactly how much you are contributing to the government with each purchase.

    Retail prices no longer hide corporate taxes or their compliance costs, which drive up costs for those who can least afford to pay.
    Did you know that hidden income taxes and the cost of complying with them currently make up 20 percent or more percent of all retail prices? It's true. According to Dr. Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University, hidden income taxes are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for everything you buy. If competition does not allow prices to rise, corporations lower labor costs, again hurting those who can least afford to lose their jobs. Finally, if prices are as high as competition allows and labor costs are as low as practical, profits/dividends to shareholders are driven down, thereby hurting retirement savings for moms-and-pops and pension funds invested in Corporate America. With the FairTax, the sham of corporate taxation ends, competition drives prices down, more people in America have jobs, and retirement/pension funds see improved performance.

    The income tax exports our jobs, rather than our products. The FairTax brings jobs home.
    Most importantly, the FairTax does not burden U.S. exports the way the current income tax system does. The FairTax removes the cost of corporate taxes and compliance costs from the cost of U.S. exports, putting U.S. exports on a level playing field with foreign competitors. Lower prices sharply increase demand for U.S. exports, thereby increasing job creation i
    • It still has some rough edges.

      To solve the problem of not being dicks to the poor, fairtax issues a stipend to every citizen in the country.

      This does kinda solve the problem, but it is inelegant, and, obviously, requires some interraction between the participants and the government to enact, removing some of the appeal and a good deal of the simplicity of a sales-style tax.

      Should we try it in its current state? sure. I can't really think of a more elegant way to solve the problem I've mentioned and there's
  • "Wouldn't-be" taxpayers?
  • Read the subpoena (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:05PM (#15116512) Homepage
    Read the subpoena. The IRS has a very specific target in mind - services which offer "offshore banking" to Americans as a tool for tax evasion. Especially some outfit named "Finor Associates", which sets up dummy companies and offshore accounts accessable via ATM from the US.

    Finor Associates has an entertaining product list. Highlights.

    • "Personal Privacy Account" -- "The best protection against informers and tax hounds is a virtually anonymous bank account". $1000 account setup fee, $500/year ongoing fee, 1.5% transaction fee. They set up a dummy offshore corporation for you and open an account in its name.
    • "Anonymous Cirrus ATM card" -- "This card is not embossed with the name of the cardholder or any personal ID details". "Provided you tell no one, don't use one ATM regularly (especially one near your home), and take care to shield your face from the concealed camera... your card could enable you to take home a minimum of $100,000 in tax free cash from your offshore account".
    • "Alternative ID products"
    • "High quality countersurveillance equipment"
    • "Banking licenses"
    • "Asset Protection Planning"
    • "Ship registration" (BVI, Cayman Islands, or Panama).

    It's a full-service money laundering operation. The IRS ought to be investigating those guys.

  • Wait a Minute (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Einstein_101 (966708)
    I think most of you are missing the big picture. Any of you seen the movie "Enemy of the State?" Will Smith was just like most of you.


    Yeah that's exactly how it always starts. All the "honest citizens" sign away all their rights in hopes of catching the criminals. However, in order to do that, you have to treat the "honest citizens" like criminals.

    I don't care who you are, there is something in your lifestyle or habits that resembles something a criminal would do. Where do you draw the line?

    Also, I thou
    • Yeah that's exactly how it always starts. All the "honest citizens" sign away all their rights in hopes of catching the criminals. However, in order to do that, you have to treat the "honest citizens" like criminals.

      I don't care who you are, there is something in your lifestyle or habits that resembles something a criminal would do. Where do you draw the line?


      Hear hear!

      Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty or security! (yeah, I know, I'm probably mis-q
  • Sorry About That (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Einstein_101 (966708)
    I think most of you are missing the big picture. Any of you seen the movie "Enemy of the State?" Will Smith was just like most of you.

    "Why do I care if they're invading my privacy? I'm not doing anything illegal!"

    Yeah that's exactly how it always starts. All the "honest citizens" sign away all their rights in hopes of catching the criminals. However, in order to do that, you have to treat the "honest citizens" like criminals. Before you know it, everything you buy or say over the phone gets you red flagge

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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