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Friday, March 25, 2011

If you did stuff like this, you'd go to jail

When Congress jerks around with the tax laws, bad things happen. Generous wealthy people who have to deal with federal gift taxes for 2010 are supposed to file their gift tax returns by April 18 -- the same deadline as for their income tax returns. But because Congress took until December of 2010 to figure out what the law was going to be for 2010, the IRS couldn't get the gift tax return form instructions generated until last Friday, only a month before the filing deadline.

It gets worse: The rules that Congress finally passed are so screwy that even the IRS couldn't get them straight. The form instructions that the agency published were wrong, and the IRS was forced to take them down on Wednesday of this week. Maybe the IRS should send all the rich folks a request for an extension.

Comments (1)

For reasons I won't get into, I have my taxes done by a professional all the time now. However, last weekend, I helped a young friend with her taxes (EZ/short forms). The federal form and instructions were no hassle but the the Oregon instructions were some of the worst documentation that I have ever read in my life. And I've read some bad technical documentation over the last 35 years.

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