Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Or The IRS Could Provide Emergency Tax Advisors And They Could Quickly Extend Filing Deadlines

It's a shame when Katrina victims get used as bait for advancing other political agendas. Did anyone really expect that working through the tax filing process in a hurricane-ravaged area would be any easier than working through any other challenge? Did anyone realistically expect that hurricane victims would not need some sort of federal help with tax preparation this time around? It's not clear to me that the professor addresses the real cause of the problem in the article he links, which is:
After Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana, Congress responded in September by passing the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act, which included a batch of tax provisions designed to help victims of the storm. The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act, which offers up tax incentives specifically geared toward businesses, was passed in December .... But for taxpayers who have never claimed more than the standard deduction, the hurricane losses they'll be entitled to will likely create a steep learning curve.
So, congressional relief is more of a candidate for blame than the federal tax code, but in my opinion Dr. Cornwall went after the tax code to score some points for his conservative-minded wing of the business community.

But I do not think that congressional relief is blameworthy, either. The relief is needed. That's the whole point. If the administration fails to provide beaucoup help to gulf coast taxpayers who were the victims of natural disaster, then it would amount to the continuing inept response of the Bush White House to people in dire need; it would just be the extension of FEMA by other means.

Jackson Miller warned us locally a long time ago that solving Katrina victims' problems had more to do with available revenues to pay for solutions than anything else. Relief costs money; long-term relief costs more money. Yet, as Jackson pointed out, the costs of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts would have paid for congressional relief for Katrina victims. You can reform the tax code all you want, but "fiscal stupidity" continues to fail victims who need strategic federal help in navigating the tax relief already put in place by Congress. But FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have demonstrated over and over that the executive branch's political will to aid the region is lacking. Why should we expect anything different from the IRS?

No comments:

Post a Comment