I have been in private law practice for 24 years. I am also a Certified Public Accountant. My practice is focused on solving tax and debt problems. I intend to be the Senate’s expert on the tax code. My experience working with businesses and families trying to comply with tax law gives me the real-world expertise the Senate needs to write the revenue code that is fair to all taxpayers, is simple to understand, and generates the funds necessary to run the government without deficits.
The many cases I have handled have shown me the government, the Internal Revenue Service in particular, is not properly staffed for its revenue collection mission. I am the first candidate to tell voters that, contrary to recent public discussion, the IRS has a culture of integrity and is committed to excellence in customer service.
I will advocate for three immediate changes. The first is to adequately fund the Treasury Department with a focus on the IRS. The second is to emphasize prevention of running up balances due rather than collection of past due taxes. The third is to remove the subsidy code from the tax code.
To fulfill its mission, the agency must have more Revenue Officers (collectors) and Tax Compliance Officers (auditors). This requires putting money into recruiting, training, and technology. I believe the professionals that work for the IRS are committed public servants who will produce exceptional services. They need the means and authority to collect the taxes Congress has imposed on the economy. Putting adequate resources to facilitate tax compliance will be a good investment for our country.
The United States has many residents who have run up huge tax balances. Most have no capability to pay in full. Billions of dollars are owed by employers who don’t pay over their employees’ withholding taxes. Most people don’t realize this, but our government guarantees and honors the withholding of taxes shown on W2s even when the employer uses the money for other things.
Collecting money owed is always a challenge. It is futile when the person that owes can’t afford to pay. This is true for both public and private sectors. The IRS presently is no better than average at collecting. Many of the uncollected taxes are five years old and more. My solution is preventing the run-up of delinquent taxes in the first place.
At the business level, Congress must give the IRS the tools to intervene early before employers are allowed to leave unpaid, for month after month and then year after year, payroll tax withholdings that should go to the government. This current circumstance is unfair to both the country and to businesses that do pay. It’s unfair to the country as we are denied funds to pay for necessary government services and, thus, requiring more and more borrowing. It’s unfair to taxpaying employers who have to compete for workers against companies whose labor costs are lower because they don’t pay the withholding taxes.
As a tax attorney, I have met with hundreds whose lives have been impaired and sometimes wrecked because of unmanageable tax debt and unfiled returns. From my experience, I know that at least 80 percent of taxes owed on late filed returns are never paid. In the Senate, I will be the voice leading that chamber to enact policy preventing debilitating run-up of impossible to pay tax bills.
The third change needed is to remove government subsidies out of the tax code. Washington incumbents and lobbyists prefer tax subsidies because these costs don’t show up as expenditures in appropriations bills. Stopping this accounting gimmick will end the politicians’ avoidance of accountability for these special interest favors. Further subsidies, such as tax credits for wind energy, railroad track maintenance, and agri-biodiesel fuels credit, as now written, are beyond the necessary expertise of both Congress and the Treasury to determine compliance. The better policy is when a business or industry wants a federal subsidy, the House and Senate must publically approve by vote of an appropriation.