I take considerable issue with your view (“I volunteer — not,” Accounting Today, Sept. 10-23, 2007, page 6) that voluntary compliance is not part of “the equation.” Certainly more and improved enforcement has been lacking and is much needed. However, the voluntary aspect of our tax system has always been a key element of the United States’ approach to its system of finance. I also strongly feel that it is a key element of citizenship.It has become more and more frustrating to see the rationalization by much of the taxpayer community that non-compliance is not breaking the law, or unethical. Taxpayers are always very willing to avail themselves of aspects of the tax laws that benefit them, yet many routinely flout the simple and common-sense tax laws (this is not an issue of too much complexity of the tax laws), i.e., reporting of all income and deducting only proper expenses, as if just a little bit of non-reporting or a little bit of deduction “fluff” is okay. Apparently, to these taxpayers, “under penalties of perjury” — under which they sign their names — is just a meaningless string of words.
It is a slippery slope that grows steeper and longer with each additional rationalization.
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