Wednesday, January 5, 2011

High profile taxpayers, efiling, tax history, and progressivity

My students have been working hard to prepare for the IRS VITA certification exams so they will be ready to prepare tax returns for low-income working families and senior citizens who use our VITA site.

It's interesting to consider how the tax system affects other members of society who don't qualify for VITA.

According to the archived returns released to the public by recent presidential and vice presidential candidates in recent decades, it appears that only one major party candidate efiled his or her tax return. Any guesses who it was? The answer is here.

Looking at presidential tax returns provides a fascinating window into tax history. For more on this, see Joseph Thorndike's Private Returns, Public Rewards: The Politics of Tax Records here .

Finally, for some serious economic theory, check out my post on

A game theorist takes on Mankiw, Joe the Plumber, Obama, Buffett, Atlas Shrugged.

One of the folks who agrees with Warren Buffett that the rich should pay more tax is Bill Gates' dad, who has been lobbying hard for a more progressive tax system.

An entertaining note comes from Bill Gates, who said--a few years ago that IRS computers can't handle his taxes .That article about is four years old, but apparently the problem was the large number of digits required in some of the income fields in his tax return. I wonder if the new modernized efile system my former student, Dave Williams, is bringing on-line can handle Bill Gates tax return.

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