Thursday, July 09, 2015

Tax collection outsourced to private sector

INK BOTTLE“When it comes to regret, everyone’s a winner! It’s the jackpot you are guaranteed to win.”

Geoff Dyer, “Over and Out”
Steven Rosenthal, The Rich get Richer, with a Little Tax Help (TaxVox)

Wall Street Journal, Top Republican Sides With Microsoft in IRS Offshore-Profits Scuffle:
A top Republican lawmaker is siding with Microsoft Corp. in its legal scuffle with the Internal Revenue Service involving profits the firm has parked offshore.
In a letter on Wednesday, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) questioned the IRS’s unusual decision last year to hire a private law firm to help it go after the high-tech giant

Can the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service hire private lawyers to advise the government on big-dollar corporate tax audits that may result in litigation? On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez of Seattle agreed to take up that question, granting Microsoft’s motion for an evidentiary hearing into the government’s $2.2 million contract with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which is serving as a litigation consultant in the IRS’s audit of Microsoft’s cost-sharing arrangements with affiliates in Puerto Rico and Asia.
Why would the IRS be outsourcing tax audits- to a private Law firm

Guardian, 28/6/15. Adviser on ‘Google tax’ says international competition and offshore tax arrangements lead government to provide policies attractive to corporations. 

Has outsourcing gone too far?
 Managers become too afraid to create, innovate, build teams and lead – so they outsource everything that moves. They'd rather pay more in the long run for contractors than risk having another full-time employee on the books and irking the accountants.
Socialist Seattle councilor “allegedly structured her employees …to avoid payroll taxes, overtime, and insurance.” [Jason Rantz, MyNorthwest]
Robert D. Flach brings his Tuesday Buzz, along with the less cheerful news that his Gmail account has been compromised. He ponders whether IRS Commissioner Koskinen is worse than his predecessor, Worst Commissioner Ever Shulman. I still give the prize to Shulman, but Koskinen is making a heck of a case for the honor.

Another California homeowner, this time in Santa Cruz, discovers how hard the state’s law can make it to oust AirBnB guests who overstay [ABC Radio; earlier here (relatives and family members), here (homeless guest), here (nanny), and here (earlier AirBnB)

Joni Larson, Failing to Prove the Attorney-Client Privilege Applies (Procedurally Taxing). Some conversations you’d rather not share with the IRS.

Christopher Bergin, Why We Just Sued the IRS – Again (Tax Analysts Blog):
For more than two years the IRS has played its old game of hide the ball regarding requests to release Lois Lerner’s e-mails — e-mails that would teach us a lot about what actually went on during the exempt organization scandal. Many of those requests came from the United States Congress: the elected officials who control the IRS budget. The IRS’s stalling tactics have run the gamut from eye-rollingly comical to downright disturbing.
Through this and and other worrisome developments, one thing is clear: the IRS is now in desperate trouble. Most of that trouble it created itself. It would be unfair to call them the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, because when it comes to shooting itself in the foot the IRS is an expert marksman. The IRS is an agency whose initial reaction to almost anything is secrecy.

UK’s Shetler to be Canberra’s new digital chief
The Mandarin - The Federal Government has snared the director of the UK Government Digital Service (GDS), Paul Shetler, to lead its $250 million digital change program, appointing the former tech entrepreneur to be the inaugural CEO of the new Digital Transformation Office (DTO).

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd sends public servants to private sector
Canberra Times, 2/7/15. Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd is reforming the Commonwealth bureaucracy by formulating a plan to send elite executives to private companies such as Woolworths and McDonald's and introducing private sector-style talent spotting.
APSC News – July 2015

 CCAB, the forum of accountancy bodies, has set up an anti-money laundering taskforce and published guidance which stresses accountants’ ‘professional scepticism’ as the first line of defence in tackling money laundering and terrorist financing.

SHRM Research Overview: Workforce Readiness and Skills Shortages
  SHRM research suggests that many HR professionals are having trouble finding applicants with the right skills and qualifications for a substantial number of jobs.
s new organisational forms emerge, much managerial administration undertaken by large organisations is being shown to be a waste of time and money. Generally, networked computers can do these tasks far more effectively, fairly and consistently than human managers.