IRS data could have been better protected. White House cybersecurity official Ari Schwartz says, “The recent IRS fraud case may have been limited or…even…prevented” if the IRS were using multi-factor authentication of its digital accounts. Under an executive order signed by President Obama last October, all federal agencies must use digital accounts by April, 2016. The improvement would require a password and one other form of identification, like a fingerprint or time-sensitive PIN sent to a smartphone or email account.
How can research-driven efficiencies improve IRS tax administration? Find out at a joint TPC and IRS conference on June 18. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will deliver opening remarks. Non-IRS employees can register to attend here. The conference will also be webcast.
Does the “no climate-tax” pledge have any teeth? TPC’s Howard Gleckman considers the vow, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, and wonders why GOP presidential hopefuls might have signed it. “Do they think climate change is a fraud? Do they prefer regulatory solutions? Or do they merely oppose tax increases? If it is the latter, maybe a carbon tax isn’t quite as much of a non-starter as the pledge would suggest.”
It’s “the year the credits went out in Georgia.” For some: Over 800 state taxpayers who owned a zero-emission vehicle filed for a $5,000 tax credit for 2014, but the database housing their information lacked a key field so the state denied the credits. The Department of Revenue caught the error and is manually processing the subsidy. But they won’t be fixing the database: State lawmakers eliminated the credits for both low- and zero-emissions vehicles as of June 30. The state would use $125 million in annual savings to fix Georgia’s roads and bridges.
Should individual taxpayers control tax dollars raised for a common good? The Tax Hound wonders what happens when parents “take the money and run” under school voucher programs. Student outcomes don’t necessarily improve, and competition for students (and funding) between voucher schools and public schools doesn’t assure fairness.
Need an overview of federal rules for charitable income tax deductions? The Urban Institute makes available a new research report published by the American Bar Association, an update encouraged and supported by UI's Tax Policy and Charities Project. The paper, by Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law professor Roger Colinvaux and New York University School of Law professor Harvey Dale, also touches on the estate and gift tax charitable deduction.
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