$400 Billion

The Internal Revenue Service is claiming that it is not collecting some $400 billion a year in income taxes, The Service blames a lot of this on the so-called underground economy. We believe it unfair to arbitrarily single out a certain group of people for this problem just because they ride the subway. As proof, we point out that tax revenues did not change during a recent subway strike.

Instead, we think the problem is the nine-digit social security number. Most of us in our Firm can write the number 1 through 9 in numerical sequence with a minimum of assistance. But what happens when you are assigned a social security number which (1) is out of sequence, (2) is missing a number and therefore has more than one of the same number and/or 0) has a digit that you didn’t use a lot when practicing your multiplication tables – a zero. We believe a substantial number of people are not filing because they would have to sign their returns, under penalty of perjury, knowing their social security number may not be correct.

While the government continues its review of the subway system, our firm has taken a proactive approach to reducing that $400 billion shortfall. We suggested that our clients do their civic duty by doubling the amount due on their 2005 tax returns. Our suggestion had less than the desired effect. The only clients who thought the idea had some merit were those getting refunds.

If you are now on extension to file your 2005 return and you need help getting your social security number in order, please feel free to call one of our professionals (preferably one comfortable with numbers).

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About Tom O'Brien

Thomas S. O'Brien, CPA, Of Counsel and now retired, is a co-founder of the Firm and served as Managing Partner for the first ten years of its existence. He specialized in the areas of retirement, estate planning, accounting, and tax areas of client service.

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