Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Geithner's "Innocent" Mistakes

Maybe as part of his new Administration, Mr. Obama can work to get a tax code simple enough that even his new Ivy League-educated Treasury Secretary can understand it.

“In his appearance yesterday, Geithner told the committee that he had failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes because he mistakenly believed that his employer at the time, the International Monetary Fund, was deducting those taxes from his paycheck.” Treasury Nominee Accounts for Own Tax Errors

Mistake? As the accompanying Geithner Tax Documents clearly outline, Mr. Geithner received W-2s that clearly showed NO taxes of any kind being withheld. He knew they were not being withheld because he correctly paid in quarterly estimates for his Federal and Maryland income taxes. It also notes that as he used tax software to prepare his tax returns, he willfully ignored the part of the W-2 input section that references FICA taxes. [My experience with such tax software is that when you input the wages from a W-2, it automatically calculates what the Social Security and Medicare payments were (or should have been).]

Most damaging though is that he applied to the IMF for a tax allowance specifically to pay for the FICA taxes. He did this on an annual basis. Meaning each year, he received an extra bump in his paycheck so he could pay a tax that he continually “forgot” about.

Our tax code is a horrendous piece of literature and mistakes do happen in the application of it. But Social Security is a fairly basic, easy-to-calculate tax; esp. with a tax software program. Used correctly, mistakes like this just don’t/won’t happen. That Senators are falling over themselves to describe these episodes of incompetence as innocent mistakes means that they acknowledge that their handiwork can be incomprehensible gibberish and that they probably don’t prepare their own tax returns.

Read these tax documents pertaining to this matter. It is not a flattering picture of the proposed new Treasury Secretary.

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