It took some time and an issue as seemingly innocuous as Katrina tax relief for the Internal Revenue Service to get dragged into a public relations skirmish this election season.The trouble start a couple of weeks ago, when Commissioner Mark Everson made an announcement that the IRS will postpone collection activities against taxpayers in the hardest-hit areas struck by Hurricane Katrina until 2007. That’s essentially buys those taxpayers a couple more months -- through the holidays -- after a one-year filing extension expired Oct. 16.

About 1.2 million taxpayers lived in the seven Louisiana parishes and three Mississippi counties where the agency had allowed people to delay payment of 2005 income taxes. Everson made his announcement during an Oct. 10 conference call, according to a New York Times article that ran Oct. 27, with the paper noting that while it’s far from unusual for the agency to postpone collection activities around the holidays, Everson made mention of the upcoming election in delivering his decision.

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