by Donna on December 22, 2022 12:09 pm
From today's NYTimes:
I.R.S. Routinely Audited Obama and Biden, Raising Questions Over Delays for Trump
The revelation that the agency had not audited Donald J. Trump during his first two years in office despite a mandatory presidential audit program raised concerns about potential politicization.
...Late Tuesday, a House committee revealed that the I.R.S. failed to audit Mr. Trump during his first two years in office despite a rule that states that “the individual tax returns for the president and the vice president are subject to mandatory review.” But its report left unclear whether that lapse reflected general dysfunction or whether Mr. Trump received special treatment.
The disclosure of routine audits of Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden during their time in office suggested that the agency’s treatment of Mr. Trump was an aberration...
Reports issued by the Ways and Means Committee, which obtained Mr. Trump’s tax data last month after a yearslong legal battle, said the I.R.S. had initiated its first audit of one of his filings as president in April 2019, the same day that Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and the committee’s chairman, had inquired about the matter.
The I.R.S. has yet to complete that audit, the report added, and the agency started auditing filings covering Mr. Trump’s income while president only after he left office. Even after the agency belatedly started looking, it assigned only a single agent to examine Mr. Trump’s returns, going up against a large team of lawyers and accountants who objected when the I.R.S. added two more people to help.
The committee’s discovery that the I.R.S. flouted its rules is bringing new scrutiny to concerns about potential politicization at the I.R.S. during the Trump administration and spurring calls for the inspector general that oversees the agency to investigate what went wrong. It has also raised questions about why the I.R.S. devoted so few resources to auditing Mr. Trump, who, as a business mogul, had far more complicated tax filings than any previous president.
Under Mr. Trump, the I.R.S. was run for most of 2017 by a commissioner appointed by Mr. Obama, John Koskinen, and — after about 11 months being overseen by an acting head, David J. Kautter — a successor appointed by Mr. Trump, Charles P. Rettig. None ensured that the agency followed its rules requiring presidential audits.
Mr. Rettig, who left in October, said in an email on Wednesday evening that he did not attempt to intervene in Mr. Trump’s audit.
“I am not aware of any taxpayer receiving special treatment at any time, before or during my term as commissioner,” he said. “Further, at no time did I make, nor am I aware that anyone else made, any decision to somehow limit resources available to conduct examinations under the mandatory examination process.”
He added: “I had no involvement in the process of selecting for examination or the conduct of an examination of any return regarding any taxpayer.”
Mr. Koskinen said that his only involvement in Mr. Trump’s tax returns was working to ensure that they were kept in a secure location.
The good thing about being commissioner is that you never know who is being audited,” Mr. Koskinen said, adding that it would have been inappropriate to ask about the status of any examination.
[Wow. none of the guys in charge at the IRS knew what was going on regarding auditing Trump's tax returns. I think another investigation is in order. - Donna]
The Internal Revenue Service has already been the subject of repeated controversy.
[The following is particularly, ehem, interesting. - Donna]
The New York Times reported this year that the I.R.S. had initiated particularly invasive audits of two of Mr. Trump’s perceived enemies, the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. Mr. Trump also repeatedly told his chief of staff that he wanted his perceived rivals, including those two, to face tax investigations.
Despite the low odds of both being singled out, an inspector general’s report concluded that both had been randomly selected for the initial pools from which the agency drew to carry out the examinations. But it is unclear how the I.R.S. made final selections from those pools.
In 2019, Mr. Trump raised eyebrows by telling Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to prioritize a confirmation vote for a longtime associate, Michael J. Desmond, as general counsel of the I.R.S. over the nomination of William P. Barr as attorney general. Mr. Desmond had advised a subsidiary of the Trump Organization and worked with two of its tax lawyers.
And in 2018, Mr. Trump appointed as commissioner Mr. Rettig, who had written a Forbes column in 2016 defending Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his taxes as a candidate and portrayed the I.R.S. as fully engaged in auditing very wealthy people.
“Teams of sophisticated tax advisers were likely engaged throughout Trump’s career to assure the absence of any ‘bombshell’ within the returns,” Mr. Rettig wrote. “His returns might actually be somewhat unremarkable but for the fact they are the returns of Donald Trump.”
In fact, the few glimpses of Mr. Trump’s taxes have shown much to talk about. The Trump Organization was convicted of a tax fraud scheme this month. The New York attorney general has sued Mr. Trump and three of his children, accusing them of fraudulently overvaluing his assets.
The Times gained access to years of his tax information and published a report in September 2020 that raised numerous questions about the legality of write-offs and deductions he had used to avoid paying any taxes most years. The article prompted the I.R.S. to consider looking at Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax returns, the committee report said.
The I.R.S. has had scant resources for years because Republicans have sought to cut its funding. The report highlighted the agency’s broader struggles in dealing with complicated tax returns filed by wealthy people and criticized its willingness to trust that returns filed by big accounting firms contained accurate information.
[Not only do we have two court systems, one for the wealthy and connected and the other for the rest of us, but now it appears that we also have two Internal revenue Services divided along the same lines. - Donna]
Congress has approved an $80 billion overhaul of the I.R.S. intended in part to hire more specialists capable of auditing high-income filers.
Rest at link.
by Ponderer on December 22, 2022 3:13 pm
"It's a matter intellectual integrity...which, apparently, you don't care about." -Hate
Rather, which you are absolutely in no position whatsoever to be judging anyone on, Bill.
You have no idea what intellectual integrity... or integrity of any kind even actually means. Your entire being contains not a single molecule of it apparently.
For you to be as willfully blind to blatant reality on so many levels as you are, and to actually put yourself out there like some deacon of intellectual integrity justified in passing judgement of others' integrity is a demonstration of hypocritical gall of the most vile and disgusting kind I've about ever seen.
I in no way exaggerate when I often speak of the despicably vile excuse for a human being you present yourself to be in here, Bill.