Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kardashians of Tax Returns


“If you had to boil this book down to a single phrase, it would be “It’s complicated.”  Nothing seems to cause anything, instead everything just modulates everything else."





Honest people pay more taxes than they should have to because of those who don’t pay their share, it's a dangerous dynamic. It’s not fair that those doing the right thing end up having to pay for those who cheat the system.”Mr Michael Andrew Chair of the Black Economy Taskforce via CL




Private Investigator’s Attempt To Obtain Donald Trump’s Tax Return Led IRS To Shut Down FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool; Who Hired Him? “The person accused of a 2016 attempt to use a web-based federal student-aid tool to illegally obtain taxpayer information is a Louisiana-based private investigator who used the tool to target then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, court records obtained by Diverse show. The records allege that when Jordan Hamlett, 31, met FBI agents in the atrium of the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge, he ‘immediately volunteered that he had committed the crime and he even sounded proud of what he had done.'”



We still don’t have a crime in this case, but there is an awful lot of coverup.







TaxProf, Private Investigator’s Attempt To Obtain Donald Trump’s Tax Return Led IRS To Shut Down FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool; Who Hired Him?. The TaxProf quotes from a story in the Diverse education blog:
 


The person accused of a 2016 attempt to use a web-based federal student-aid tool to illegally obtain taxpayer information is a Louisiana-based private investigator who used the tool to target then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, court records obtained by Diverse show.
The records allege that when Jordan Hamlett, 31, met FBI agents in the atrium of the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge, he “immediately volunteered that he had committed the crime and he even sounded proud of what he had done.”
The Treasury Inspector General’s report on the hack said:

In September 2016, TIGTA detected an attempted access to the AGI of a prominent individual. When we investigated the attempted access, we determined that the FAFSA application and the DRT were used in this attempt. Since FAFSA is a Department of Education application, we notified the Education OIG and we notified the IRS Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD) program office. We initiated a joint investigation with the Education OIG that included the Cyber Crimes Task Force. The investigation identified the individual responsible for the attempted access and he was arrested. This case is still proceeding through the court system. In November 2016, we noticed another attempted access of the same prominent individual’s AGI through the FAFSA and the DRT, this time, from an entirely different location. 
A prominent individual, indeed.
Prior coverage: FAFSA IRS data hack used already stolen info


For four days at a sold-out, $1,250-per-ticket conference at a Boston hotel, content marketers offered a vision of the future of media. It's terrifying  MEdia Dragons 

 Holy smokes! What subject just led the en banc Eleventh Circuit to issue almost 300 pages worth of opinions? [How Appealing]





Jay A. Soled (Rutgers) & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas (North Carolina), Regulating Tax Return Preparation, 58 B.C. L. Rev. 151 (2017):

Every year the U.S. government collects nearly $3 trillion of income and employment taxes, a large share of which is used to deliver social welfare benefits to the poor. With respect to these collections and deliveries, the Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) seeks to ensure taxpayer accuracy. In the twenty-first century, there are two sets of key players that dominate the Form 1040 preparation and submission process, namely, tax return preparers and tax return preparation software companies. The former hand-hold taxpayers through the entire tax return preparation and submission process while the latter provide taxpayers with the necessary tools to complete and submit tax returns on their own. These two groups – tax return preparers and tax software companies – thus stand as vital intermediaries between the government and taxpayers, assisting in the preparation of over 90 percent of all individual tax returns.






Payroll clients and staff fell for plausible business model fairy tales



Leslie Book, Legal Practice and Mental Health (Procedurally Taxing). “As someone who has over the years benefitted from confronting mental health issues with the care of professionals, and who lost a dear friend to suicide, I believe that tax professionals and the organizations where they work should have at their disposal resources to help through inevitable tough times that are part of life.”


 



Monday, May 29, 2017

What Will happen Kill Neoliberalism ...

What Will happen Kill Neoliberalism The Nation. From early May, still interesting. William Darity, Jr.:
Suppose, however, that Marx was correct in his expectation that capitalism, like other social modes of production before it, will wind down gradually, but wrong in his expectation that it would be succeeded by a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” a civilization without class stratification. Suppose, indeed, that the age of capitalism is actually reaching its conclusion—but one that doesn’t involve the ascension of the working class. Suppose, instead, that we consider the existence of a third great social class vying with the other two for social dominance: what was seen in the work of such disparate thinkers as James Burnham, Alvin Gouldner, Barbara Ehrenreich, and John Ehrenreich as the managerial class.
Dovetails rather neatly both with Robert Frank’s Listen, Liberal and Glennon’s views on “institutionalized bureaucratic autocracy” (one aspect of which would be The Blob) in Links yesterday.
[A] Swedish-Swiss industrial engineering company, ABB, says it has a solution: It has given some of its employees a kind of automated “do not disturb” sign: custom-designed traffic lights for their desks.
The FlowLight system evaluates how busy someone is by measuring their combined mouse and keyboard activity against that person’s baseline average. When activity is in the top 9% of their typical range, the light turns red, letting colleagues know that it’s the wrong time to amble over with a funny anecdote or any question that’s not absolutely burning. Non-emergencies can wait until the light is green.
As the article points out: 
It’s easy to imagine this turning into an Orwellian nightmare: men and women planted at their desks, frantically typing and scrolling to keep their lights red, red, always red.
But it’s actually worse. The assumption is that when you’re typing, you’re working. When you’re sitting quietly and thinking, you’re not working. Remind me to short ABB.
World Bankspeak – how to hide the failure of a mission! Bill Mitchell. References this fascinating source: Bankspeak: The Language of World Bank Reports, 1946–2012 Stanford Literary Lab.

The vital role of government-collected data

 Labor shortages are weighing on overall economic growth, slowing the pace of expansion in northern Utah and other fast-growing regions even as unemployment remains stubbornly high in Rust Belt cities like Cleveland and in regions still recovering from the 2008 recession, like inland California…” Confessions of a confident mediocre (data) man


It was bound to happen: Amazon launches first grocery store






Lindt Cafe victim families scathing of top police and 'dangerous' psychiatrist






'My handshake wasn't innocent': Macron describes first meeting with Trump








Data Driven Journalism: “Journalists may wish to use data from social media platforms in order to provide greater insight and context to a news story. For example, journalists may wish to examine the contagion of hashtags and whether they are capable of achieving political or social change. Moreover, newsrooms may also wish to tap into social media posts during unfolding crisis events. For example, to find out who tweeted about a crisis event first, and to empirically examine the impact of social media. Furthermore, Twitter users and accounts such asWikiLeaks may operate outside the constraints of traditional journalism, and therefore it becomes important to have tools and mechanisms in place in order to examine these kinds of influential users. For example, it was found that those who were backing Marine Le Pen on Twitter could have been users who had an affinity to Donald Trump.  There remains a number of different methods for analysing social media data. Take text analytics, for example, which can include using sentiment analysis to place bulk social media posts into categories of a particular feeling, such as positive, negative, or neutral. Or machine learning, which can automatically assign social media posts to a number of different topics…”


“Apple is very seriously committed to protecting your data and we work hard to deliver the most secure hardware, software and services available. We believe our customers have a right to understand how their personal data is managed and protected. This report provides information regarding requests Apple received from government agencies and private parties from July 1 through December 31, 2016.”
  • This report documents a record high request by government agencies for data on customers who use a range of Apple products and services, including iPhone, iCloud, iTunes, photos, calendars, contacts and . The number of requests for data has doubled since the time of the last report, which covered the first quarter of 2017.

The modern economy has never been more reliant on data. Businesses, governments, and families must navigate the complexities of a world made possible by new technologies and innovative business practices.Without reliable information about the economic and social environment, it is impossible in many instances to make sensible choices. For example, when deciding where to locate distribution centers, stores, and warehouses, the American Community Survey’s (ACS’s) accurate local data have proven invaluable to retailers (Kleinhenz 2015). Researchers know significantly more about the impact of pro-work policy reforms in the 1990s due to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—and are better prepared to advise policy makers on future reforms. Addressing fundamental questions important to families, the ACS aids prospective students in making better college and career choices…

Beth Schwartzapfel – The Marshall Project – New Tool That Could Revolutionize How We Measure Justice: “The enormity of the country’s criminal justice system — 15,000 state and local courts, 18,000 local law enforcement agencies, more than two million prisoners — looks even more daunting when you consider how little we know about what is actually going on in there. Want to know who we prosecute and why? Good luck. Curious about how many people are charged with misdemeanors each year? Can’t tell you. How about how many people reoffend after prison? We don’t really know that, either. In an age when everything is measured — when data determines the television we watch, the clothes we buy and the posts we see on Facebook — the justice system is a disturbing exception