What Tax Mistakes Can Get You Into Trouble?

Filing for returns or looking for IRS tax relief program may not be so difficult, but people still need to pay attention to some details that may only cause rejection. On the other hand, these mistakes can slow down the process, especially when the taxpayer needs the help more than ever. It may sound silly, but people mostly make mistakes when they enter their social security numbers. This cannot only slow down the process, but it will make the IRS reject deductions. Everyone knows that one must verify the income during this process, but still many people forget to do so. Calculating the taxes on your own may be a brave move, but it can be a disaster if one does not know how to do that.

Wrong numbers can lead to paying too much or too little for taxes, and the second one can get the taxpayer in serious trouble. Even when it is about claiming credits and deductions, the taxpayer may miss the chance, or he may claim for something he does not deserve. The most serious mistake is probably being late with the payments, and that can only cause penalties in the future. Looking for an IRS tax relief does not have a deadline, but it must be quick in order to get quick answer.

Facts On Income Tax Relief

There are many types of taxes, and they all should be paid regularly. However, due to economic uncertainty, many people cannot get enough money in order to pay taxes, or they just need that money for other things. The good thing is that everyone can file for IRS tax relief when the right time comes, and here are some important facts that must be considered. Using internet for this purpose can be more than beneficial, and a person will find free consultations on various websites. On the other hand, this is also a good way to find attorneys who have enough knowledge and experience to work on a particular case. Dealing with the tax company can be difficult, especially because many of them will ask for upfront payments, but will only give false promises. That is why review can be very helpful and tell exactly what companies to avoid. Seeking for IRS tax relief requires the research, and every taxpayer should know all the pros and cons of some moves. In addition, the IRS must be informed about all decisions the taxpayer makes, so he can get the best help. The success usually depends on someone’s dedication to the problem, and that is a case here, as well.

IRS Tax Help To Provide Sufficient Assistance To Taxpayers

One of the best ways to know any information about your tax is to seek IRS tax help. This kind of assistance can be availed in many ways. The Internal Revenue Service made an effort to provide tax help through their government office or their official website. They have their own agents who can assist the individuals who are facing tax issues. The good thing about this kind of help is its convenience and efficiency. There is no need to dwell on several tax issues because the IRS tax help can do a lot (a company like this is especially good). However, for people who are having a hard time settling their tax debts, they have to seek an attorney. The attorney will help the individual find ways on how to alleviate his/her tax penalties. It can be an additional financial burden however, this can do a big help because this law practitioner knows everything. The attorney will give advices and will defend the individual in court when there is a need. The office of the Internal Revenue Service does their best to let everyone pay their taxes but if you failed to perform your responsibility, they will give notice or penalty. Thus, you have to seek IRS tax help to know more about this.

Customer Service Software Need Not Be Impersonal

One would think that customer service software would make it highly impersonal. Gone are the days when we could walk into an office and hang around there in a queue until we find someone that can address our concern. Now, with more and more companies using customer service software quite efficiently, going in person is no longer necessary. Calling a particular toll free number and hitting various numbers until you reach the department you need or connect with a customer service representative has become the norm. In a way, this does solve a lot of problems.

You do not have to beat the crowd or stand in line. You call in and mention your query and it gets registered in the system. There may be a queue there also; however, there will be no conflict. The customer service software ensures that the list of complaints is followed in the order in which they were registered. Moreover, it is extremely process oriented and until the final feedback is received from the customer, the system keeps track of the problem. The added touch is when the customer service representative calls you to confirm that your problem has been solved and makes a note of that as well.

How Can IT Asset Management Software Help?

One of the key components in using genuine software across the company is the licensing aspect. While it is true that many small to mid-sized companies have come to use pirated software and in general, do not comply with the rules and regulations of software installations, it is equally true that companies that are in compliance tend to always buy original software. This may require regular tracking as to when the license expires or when it needs to be renewed. A solid IT asset management software can help with this. When at first, you purchase software for the company’s use you pay the licensing fee. This comes with its own terms and conditions and it may need to be renewed with each upgrade in the form of a newer version.

You are bound legally to pay for this upgrade each time even though you can download it from the Internet. You would be wise to make sure that this is done before the deadline. For this, IT asset management software can be very helpful. Your IT assets may include hardware as well as software. It might be hard to remember when some software is due for renewal. With the help of IT asset management software, you get reminders and advance notification as well. This will keep you on your toes so that you are always legally covered because you pay the fee on time. In one sense, this makes you a more serious contender in the business world.

The Immigration Debate: Neverending Idiocy

What do conservatives think about immigration? In particular, what do conservative intellectuals think about immigration? At the Philadelphia Society’s meeting in Chicago on April 22-24 – it’s thirtieth-anniversary meeting, as it happens – the group explored the theme: “The USA: An Idea or a People?”

The conservative proposition is that the United States is not an ideological abstraction but a nation, a people, a culture – like other nations in some respects but unique, as John O’Sullivan pointed out, in one vital particular: “American national identity remains at the moment more cultural than ethnic,” and for that reason “this identity is inclusive. It is possible to become an American,” no matter what one’s genetic roots, “in a way it is not possible to become a Slovak or a Pole.” Liberals, by contrast, along with some conservatives, believe that America began with certain ideas about liberty and equality, “outlined in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution,” and that those ideas continue to define America.


The implications of the two views are profoundly different. Culture, organically transmitted “by dint of common history, habits, tastes, shared experiences, tales, songs, memories, familiarity, and intermarriage,” is richer, more real, and truer than any philosophy. Most importantly, the conservative view “offers a protection against the virus of multiculturalism, which the liberal theory cannot offer.” Indeed, open immigration in a context of the welfare state and multiculturalism gives a boost to liberal statists, who have an interest in fragmenting the country into many nationalisms in order to dominate them.

Of course, the American people, while more unified in times past, were never strictly speaking homogeneous. I began the morning panel the next day by tracing colonial immigration patterns – predominantly from the British Isles, but divided between hill people and valley people, herders and farmers – and concluded that, well before the Declaration, America had the makings of national unity and a national character as well as the seeds of disunion, regional characters, and civil war. Bernard Sheehan analyzed the disagreements among historians over when and why America changed from a largely communal and hierarchical society into an atomistic agglomerate of acquisitive individuals. It is easy, at the end of the twentieth century, to blame much of America’s decline on LBJ or FDR, or on the Progressives who preceded them. But, as I replied to a questioner following the presentations, the process really began almost as soon as the ink was dry on the Founding documents, as those in power in each succeeding generation extended the franchise to maintain that power – much as some liberals today want to extend it not only to non-citizens but even to illegal aliens.

John Willson, drawing on his forthcoming work on Timothy Dwight, focused on the New England character – derived from the settled, valley-dwelling strain of immigrants. Dwight believed that “society preceded government” and that “the character of the citizens determined the character of the government.” It was on the “spiritual and cultural strength and moral continuities” of the local community that all else depended. These were attitudes and beliefs that Americans shared – whatever they thought about natural rights to liberty and equality – and that laid the foundations for the evolving American culture of which O’Sullivan had spoken.

The first afternoon session, entitled “What They Saw in America,” was devoted to the United States as seen by three foreign visitors and one quintessential American. Christopher Wolfe summarized Tocqueville’s belief that America’s genius was in its sense of community, but that its democratic political system was inimical to excellence. Lord Bryce, according to James McClellan, described Americans as “good-natured, optimistic, intelligent, practical, conservative, religious without being superstitious, tolerant, industrious, and hard-working” – traits that have since “gone the way of the bison.” On the negative side, Bryce cited as American faults “a tendency to level down intelligence, laxity in the enforcement of the law, the low moral level of our politics, and the concomitant mediocrity of political and professional life” – nothing changed there, McClellan quipped. Robert Royal quoted a number of Chesterton’s epigrams, among them, “America is a melting pot, but the melting pot itself must not melt.” Chesterton grew almost poetic in describing parts of America, notably in his portrait of an idyllic small-town and rural Middle West, where he saw the same virtues that Timothy Dwight had seen earlier in New England. And it was from that small-town Middle West, Edwin Meese pointed out, that Ronald Reagan derived his compelling vision of America.

By this point in the proceedings a disquieting undercurrent was beginning to emerge. The consensus was that America had once been a wonderful place and that the American culture had been strong enough to survive wars, constitutional amendments, technological revolutions, territorial expansion, and wave after wave of immigration – until some time in the recent past. But a concurrent consensus was developing: America had lost or was losing the qualities that had made it great, and whether those qualities could be regained was uncertain.

During the next session, this other consensus swelled to the surface. Arnold Beichman declared that “for a society to be at peace with itself, there must be a minimal set of values that a population reveres and is determined to protect.” These values we no longer have.

Christian Kopff cast a wider net. He pointed out that American society, like Western Civilization itself, rests upon ideas coined during the fifth century B.C., when the Greeks invented history, science, and the concept of self-rule or citizenship. Those ways of looking at things are not “natural” to man; they must be taught and learned, generation by generation; and they are not being taught and learned today. Dependent as we are on science, we are not training our children in its fundamentals. Dependent as we are on citizenship, our government has made a conscious decision to purge its study from the curriculum.

Even more outrageous than our government’s failures and refusals to pass along Western civilization are its choices of what it does promote. The meeting’s most outspoken doomsayer, Thomas Landess, addressed himself to the doings of the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA grants are based upon two assumptions, both false and both pernicious. The first is that all art is equal and equally deserving of respect – the music, for example, “of Austria and New Guinea.” That assumption derives from our fear to make judgments; we have become moral cowards, afraid to criticize lest we offend. Secondly, the NEA assumes that restrictions are bad for artists, who need absolute freedom. “Stuff and nonsense,” said Landess: formal limits and strictures have always challenged the creative mind. For example, the social ban on obscenity forced Shakespeare to find infinitely richer expressions than, say, 2 Live Crew – as when Iago tells Brabantio, “your daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two backs.” Our general failure of taste, Landess concluded, and our rejection of God to worship the false gods of absolute equality and absolute freedom have destroyed the pietas necessary to civilized behavior. When the barbarians come, as they always do upon the collapse of a civilization, they will find that we have already sacked ourselves.

At the Sunday breakfast session, immigration policy was at last explicitly the focus. Opinions ranged from that of Stephen Moore, who absolutely opposed any restrictions on immigration and declared that multiculturalism is not the choice of immigrants but of egghead elites, to that of Peter Brimelow,who stood by the powerful argument for immigration restriction that he made in the magazine, declaring that only by restricting immigration sharply could we permit the last three decades’ immigrants to assimilate – to become Americans.

Occupying the middle ground, Tom Fleming said he would concentrate less upon restriction than upon setting high qualifications for citizenship. He would deny any handouts to non-citizens and to those, such as criminals and congressmen, who do not contribute to society what citizens should contribute. Tim Ferguson, a longtime champion of open immigration, said his return to California from New York had sensitized him to the merits of restriction, but on balance he preferred strict qualifications for citizenship. Michael Vlahos expanded on Fleming’s observation that when republics grow too large – as Rome did and as the United States has now done – they broaden and dilute their citizenship, which makes it easier for tyrants to rule.

Congress And Chaos – Great Bedfellows, For Sure

Chaos Theory says that the order one perceives is not the true order. Originally developed to attack forecast models for the weather, and later extended to the economy, chaos theory would apply nicely to the federal budget, where nothing ever turns out as advertised. Take the Clinton Administration’s constant boasting that next year’s budget deficit (FY 1995) will fall to $170 billion as a result of the budget cuts and tax increases in last year’s “deal of the century.” In fact, the only real budget cuts came in defense, where spending as a share of GDP will soon drop to 3.5 per cent, its lowest level in over forty years, a fact duly noted by North Korea’s Kim Il Sung and other rogues around the world.

Meanwhile, domestic spending, which has increased 9 per cent annually over the past five years, is projected to rise by another 6 per cent per year, or twice the projected inflation rate, over the next five years. Hardly budget-cutting. What is more, the Clintonites have come up with massive new entitlement proposals for health care and welfare reform. These measures may be defeated this year, to be revisited by a more conservative Congress in 1995. But should they pass in this session, universally mandated health care and unlimited training and government jobs for welfare recipients would soon raise entitlement spending to double-digit growth rates. So much for future restraint.

As matters now stand, means-tested entitlements (e.g., Medicaid, food stamps, supplemental security income, AFDC, veterans’ pensions, student loans) are expected to grow at a 9 per cent annual rate, or three times predicted inflation, over the next five years. Non-means-tested entitlements (mostly Social Security and Medicare, but also unemployment compensation, farm price supports, and others) are projected to rise 6 per cent per year. So, if all this spending is rising, why does Washington keep telling us about huge reductions in the deficit, not only from last year’s deal, but also from George Bush’s Presidency-ending deal in 1990? The answer is chaos theory: What is supposed to be is not.

There’s even more of this on the revenue side. Remember the tax hike of 1990, when Bush moved his lips? It was supposed to raise $158 billion over five years. The latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show a $486-billion shortfall from the initial baseline projection. Just a slight miss, really. So why should anyone believe that last year’s tax hike will produce the projected $241-billion rise in revenues?

Indeed, revenue is already slipping. Congress expected income-tax receipts to grow by 7.2 per cent as a result of its ‘tax-the-rich” hike in the top individual-income-tax rate from 31 per cent to 40 per cent. For the first seven months (October through April) of FY 1994, these receipts have grown by only 6.2 per cent.

If this trend continues, Uncle Sam will come up $5 billion short by the end of the fiscal year. If individual income-tax receipts fall 1 percentage point below projections for five years, then the government will cumulatively fall $90 billion short, just in this one area. No one listened last year to Harvard economist Martin Feldstein and others who argued that higher tax rates on upper-income earners would lead to greater tax avoidance and reduced workforce participation, especially by spouses and other part-time earners. But that is exactly what seems to be happening.

One additional deception, back in the spending area. In 1990, much noise was made over the so-called tight-as-a-drum caps on discretionary (read: non-entitlement) spending. But the drum’s canvas cover has badly sagged. The level of defense spending has declined by $24 billion since 1990. However, these savings” were simply re-channeled into domestic discretionary spending; they were not used to reduce the deficit. During the past six years “government investment” (in transportation, community development, education, training, employment, and the environment) increased by $45 billion, or roughly 8 per cent a year.

More recently, Congress and the White House have colluded to break the spending caps by using emergencies such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes to lard supplemental appropriations bills with sizable pork. Of the $11 billion expended for the L.A. earthquake, for example, $3.2 billion was clearly non-emergency funding. In fact, domestic emergency” authorizations in recent years have totaled nearly $40 billion, completely busting the spending caps.

Looking at this Alice-in-Wonderland fiscal fairy tale, where tax hikes do not generate higher revenues, and spending cuts turn into increases, one might reasonably ask: How is it that the deficit has still come down below $200 billion? There are two answers. First, the gradual recovery of the nation’s banking system has lowered government outlays for deposit insurance by $74 billion in the past two years, as the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) is now collecting money from the sale of assets, rather than spending money to purchase them. But this has nothing to do with ongoing program spending.

Second, Congress and the Administration continue to count Social Security and other retirement trust-fund surpluses – averaging roughly $135 billion a year over the next five years – as part of the overall deficit total, despite a truth-in-budgeting bill a few years ago that explicitly put such surpluses off-budget.

To identify the actual on-budget or cash deficit, the budget totals must be adjusted first to exclude the one-time S&L bail-out transactions and then to exclude the raid on retirement trust funds improperly used to finance ongoing programs. When this is done, a truer picture appears: $267 billion in 1994, $250 billion in 1995. Now, these are numbers we never hear from President Clinton, or OMB Director Panetta, or anyone else in official Washington; they consistently use figures of under $200 billion. Even more staggering, after two budget “deals of the century,” if we exclude the civilian and military retirement trust-fund surpluses, then the estimated deficit rises to $331 billion for 1994, hovers around $300 billion in 1995, and moves up to $353 billion by 1999. $353 billion? Hardly worth the two largest tax increases in peacetime history, which have produced the weakest recovery in forty years.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that younger congressmen in both parties are pressing for tough budget reforms to enforce rules strictly, do more to control spending, and obviate the need for additional tax increases. GOP budget expert John Kasich (R., Ohio) believes that the budget arteries are still severed and will again start gushing new blood” unless his proposal is passed in this session.

Known as the Common Cents Budget Reform Act of 1994, and cosponsored by Charles Stenholm (D., Tex.) and Tim Penny (D., Minn.), this bill’s principal contribution would be to put an end to the “current services baseline,” whereby each new budget is based not on the actual level of last year’s budget spending, but instead on that spending adjusted upward by forecasts of future inflation, population growth, and various fudge factors. Not only does baseline budgeting ensure constant overspending, it permits congressmen to he to their constituents about budget cuts.

Imagine a family that initially decides to buy a $30,000 car, then opts instead for one that costs $20,000. The family is still out 20 large ones. In Congress, however, that would be scored as a $10,000 budget cut”! In practice, if a program like welfare is projected to rise by 10 per cent, and instead increases by 9 per cent, congressmen go home and tell their constituents they have “painfully cut” welfare. Kasich-Penny-Stenholm would put a stop to this, by requiring the White House and Congress to compare new budgets to the amount actually spent in the prior year, without any automatic increases.

Another bill, proposed by Representative Chris Cox (R., Calif.) and cosponsored in the Senate by Trent Lott (R., Miss.), Richard Shelby (D., Ala.), Bob Dole (R., Kan.), and Phil Gramm (R., Tex.), would require a two-thirds super-majority for any waivers related to budget rule-making. This would apply to spending increases above the level set in the joint budget resolution, including entitlements (other than Social Security) and all supplemental appropriations, including emergency spending measures.

Mental Vs. Physical Health – Battle To The Death?

“Mental Health May Be Stormiest Battle of Clinton Plan,” read a headline on a November 5, 1993, story in the Wall Street Journal. And indeed it is becoming so. Led by Tipper Gore, the Mental Health Task Force proposed “parity” between mental-health problems and physical illnesses under Clinton’s health reform. However, when the actuaries calculated the costs of “parity,” they recognized it as a fiscal space odyssey and, appropriately, delayed its full implementation until 2001.

This induced outrage among many mental-health organizations. Former First Ladies Rosalynn Carter and Betty Ford were brought to Washington to defend parity, and the National Institute of Mental Health dusted off its studies demonstrating the widespread prevalence of mental disorders. Meanwhile, the American Association of Manufacturers was suggesting that the benefits be scaled back radically.

The main source of contention is that “mental health problems” include an extraordinary melange of conditions which can be categorized into four groups. The first group includes conditions such as schizophrenia, manic-depressive illness, severe recurrent depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is now strong evidence that conditions such as these are brain diseases in the same way as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s are. But the Clinton health proposal includes limits of sixty hospital days and thirty outpatient visits per year plus higher co-payments for the brain diseases of schizophrenia, et al., but no such limits for brain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, et al. The Clinton plan has thus established a hierarchy of brain diseases, claiming that some are more worthy of coverage than others.

If Clinton’s proposal had established a similar hierarchy for heart diseases or liver diseases, there would be public and professional outrage. The additional costs of covering brain diseases such as schizophrenia at parity with other brain diseases would be modest, especially since considerable Medicaid and state mental-health funds are already being spent on them. The Equitable Health Care for Severe Mental Illnesses Act, introduced by Senator Pete Domenici (R., N.M.), proposes such coverage with no discrimination against any brain disease. Appropriate treatment for schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness would substantially reduce the number of mentally ill homeless persons on the streets and in jails.

The second group includes mental conditions that probably aren’t brain diseases but are officially classified as mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This group includes addictions to alcohol or drugs, personality disorders, the condition previously called “neurosis,” and other conditions ranging from “nicotine dependence” to “post-traumatic stress disorder” to “adjustment disorder with work inhibition.” The official definitions of many such conditions are so broad and vague that almost anyone can be fitted into one condition or another.

Mental-health advocates have argued that this group should be included at full parity with physical illnesses (it isn’t in the Clinton plan). Citing statistics from various studies, they even claim that such coverage would not be too expensive. But the credibility of these numbers is suspect: it was precisely such studies that predicted that Medicare would cost only $500 million – yet today it costs $150 billion. In fact, the National Comorbidity Survey, published in January 1994, reported that each year 30 per cent of all adults experience a psychiatric disorder. Multiply these 65 million people by their proposed annual eligibility for sixty hospital days and thirty outpatient visits, and the string of zeros stretches halfway around the Beltway and rapidly bankrupts the Treasury.

Many individuals in this group are unhappy and functioning at a lower level than they should. But there is no evidence that these conditions are brain diseases and no reason, therefore, to cover them under a health plan. Social services at the state or local level may elect to provide counseling for some of these individuals, but funding of such services should not be under a health budget.

A special word should be added concerning alcohol and drug abusers. Although it has become politically correct to say they have a mental illness, there is no evidence that they have a brain disease. There is evidence that they have a genetic predisposition to their addictions, but genetic predispositions are not diseases. There is also a volitional aspect to alcohol and drug addictions which distinguishes them from brain diseases – there is no addiction unless someone purchases and ingests or injects the addicting substance. The Clinton Administration could do more to combat alcohol and drug abuse by imposing conditions, such as sobriety and abstinence, on the more than 250,000 alcoholics and drug addicts who, according to the General Accounting Office, received $1.4 billion in cash payments from Social Security programs last year. Currently federal entitlement programs are supporting addicts.

The third group of “mental-health problems” includes problems inherent in the human condition and not officially classified as mental disorders” by the APA. These include problems with interpersonal relationships, low self-esteem, and mid-life crises. In the past these problems were handled by having a talk with your hairdresser, bartender, clergy-man, or friend, but now have been redefined as the result of co-dependency, victimhood, and dysfunctional families. In New York, Woody Allen has become a parody of his films after 33 years of psychotherapy. In Boston, Harvard psychoanalyst John Mack makes a career of treating individuals who have been “abducted” by “extra-terrestrials” – close encounters of the psychiatric kind.

Officially such activities would not be covered by the Clinton proposal, but unofficially many of them would be. Mental-health professionals are remarkably creative in redefining problems to fit reimbursable diagnostic categories. Surely, an encounter with E.T. qualifies a person for having a “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Almost all life’s crises can be viewed for reimbursement purposes as “adjustment disorders,” defined by the APA as “a maladaptive reaction to an identifiable psychosocial stressor, or stressors, that occurs within three months after onset of the stressor, and has persisted for no longer than six months.” If coverage of the second group of “mental-health problems” does not bankrupt the nation, redefining problems of the third group surely would.

Finally there is the fourth group of “mental-health problems.” These are social conditions such as poverty, racism, and sexism which are said to cause psychiatric disorders. The “prevention” of “mental-health problems” through social engineering lies just beneath the surface of Clinton’s proposals. Dr. Bryant Welch, former executive director of APA, argued that “you cannot treat an inner-city youth who has had multiple traumas” with only thirty outpatient visits per year. Therefore more visits should be covered. Rosalynn Carter, promoting “equitable mental-health benefits,” recommended that the Clinton plan “promote mental-health practices as well as provide for prevention.”

So, should the Mad Hatter’s madness be covered under the Clinton health plan? The answer is yes, because the “madness” of nineteenth-century hatters was caused by poisoning from the mercury used in the process of making hats. The Mad Hatter therefore had a brain disease which should qualify him for coverage. The March Hare, on the other hand, was merely neurotic, while the Dormouse came from a dysfunctional family. Neither should be covered. Finally Alice, well meaning and intently desirous of helping others, would try to solve the social problems of the world and “prevent” mental problems if given an opportunity under a health plan. The Clinton Administration should simply return her resume with a polite note of thanks.