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Taxes & Budget

Coverage of the national budget and your taxes.

While the average taxpayer faced a less than 1 percent chance of an IRS audit in the 2014 fiscal year, those making $200,000 had twice that rate, and the higher the income, the more likely the auditors were to take a look. (Associated Press)

IRS auditors target wealthy taxpayers to get best return on investment

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

Tea party targeting may be out, but wealth targeting is still very much in vogue at the IRS, where auditors target the wealthy and those with high incomes at much higher rates than other taxpayers. Published November 23, 2015

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"It's the best we can do with what we have," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. (Associated Press)

House approves debt deal, spending hikes

- The Washington Times

With Democrats leading the way, the House passed a budget agreement Wednesday to boost spending in 2016 and 2017 and grant a debt holiday allowing for unlimited federal borrowing into the next president's term -- but not before conservatives mounted one last vote of defiance against outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo. Lawmakers are pushing to finalize a sweeping deal to fund the federal government before Boehner leaves Congress at the end of this week. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

John Boehner pushes for budget deal before leaving House

- Associated Press

Speaker John Boehner is pushing to finalize the outlines of a deal to fund the federal government before he leaves Congress this week and hands the top House job over to Paul Ryan, congressional officials said Monday.

An analysis by The Wall Street Journal found that if Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders is elected president in 2016 and gets all of his wishes for free college and health care and more social programs, the costs would be in the trillions. (Associated Press)

Bernie Sanders' socialist agenda carries price tag in the trillions

- The Washington Times

Sen. Bernard Sanders' socialist views have made him a colorful and enticing presence in the Democratic presidential race, but he's under increasing pressure to explain his political philosophy as his plans for massive social programs and huge tax increases start to sink in with voters.

The Golden Hammer

IRS spends millions to upgrade to outdated version of Windows

- The Washington Times

If you were a half-dozen years behind on your taxes, Uncle Sam would almost certainly be knocking at the door. But at the Internal Revenue Service, millions of dollars are still being spent to upgrade computers to the 6-year-old Windows 7 operating system, which is two generations outdated.

President Barack Obama gives remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. The President used the speech to announce a set of executive actions and private sector commitments to accelerate America’s transition to cleaner sources of energy and ways to cut energy waste. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fed spending soars in 2015; taxes spike

- The Washington Times

After several years of GOP-imposed constraints the federal government opened the spending floodgates again in 2015, setting a new record with outlays of $3.688 trillion in the just-ended fiscal year.

This Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013, photo, shows a 2013 1040-ES IRS Estimated Tax form at H&R Block tax preparation office in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ** FILE **

Billions in income leaving D.C. region for low-tax states

- The Washington Times

Billions of dollars worth of income once destined for tax collectors in Virginia, Maryland and the greater District of Columbia has instead bankrolled official government business elsewhere as new statistics highlight migration patterns among money-makers out of the mid-Atlantic.

Social Security Victims Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Flat disability insurance benefit would save Social Security fund and anti-poverty goal

The trust fund that helps pay for disability insurance under Social Security is on track to run out of money next year, a shortfall that would trigger a 19 percent cut in benefits. To avert these painful cuts, policymakers should overhaul the program by dropping the progressive benefit structure and replacing it with a flat benefit that will keep recipients out of poverty.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 29, 2015, prior to testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Planned Parenthood's Taxpayer Funding." (Associated Press)

Planned Parenthood president says videos were entrapment

- The Washington Times

Planned Parenthood insisted it didn't break any laws and was the subject of an effort to "entrap" it, but the organization's president, Cecile Richards, struggled Tuesday to defend the need for hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding every year.

Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during an education summit Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) ** FILE **

Jeb Bush rolls out tax reform plan

- The Washington Times

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is rolling out a tax plan that he says would reduce tax rates for individuals and corporations and help foment growth in the nation's economy.


Lois Lerner had another private email!

- The Washington Times

Lois G. Lerner used yet another private email account to do government business, the IRS revealed in a court filing late Monday that tries to clear up confusion over the former agency executive's email practices.

Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks in Derry, N.H., in this Aug. 19, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)

Donald Trump: 'I'm the king of the tax code'

- The Washington Times

Businessman Donald Trump says he's going to come out with a tax plan in the coming weeks that people at hedge funds will not like but that "pretty much everybody else" will love, declaring Friday that he's "the king of the tax code."

Lois Lerner's emails became an issue after she was singled out as a key figure in the IRS's treatment of tea party and conservative groups who sought tax-exempt status. The IRS improperly delayed hundreds of applications and sent out intrusive questionnaires asking what the agency now says were inappropriate inquiries. (Associated Press)

IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account

- The Washington Times

Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration's efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner's actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

Citizens for Self-Governance leader Mark Meckler said a number of GOP 2016 presidential candidates back a balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Associated Press)

Backers of constitutional convention stepping up campaign

- The Washington Times

Supporters of convening a new convention to amend the Constitution are determined to make it an issue in the 2016 campaigns, saying slow progress in the state-by-state fight hasn't discouraged them, and they will begin a major advertising push later this month to force the topic into the GOP presidential conversation.

The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington is seen here on March 22, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

10 tea party groups still awaiting approval from IRS

- The Washington Times

Ten tea party groups are still awaiting approval by the IRS years after they applied for tax-exempt status, Senate investigators revealed Wednesday in a report that recommends the tax agency issue a ban preventing employees who work on nonprofit applications from engaging in political activity.

Republicans demand Obama fire IRS chief John Koskinen

- The Washington Times

Republicans on House Oversight Committee on Monday called on President Obama to oust Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen for obstructing the committees investigation into the tax agency's targeting of conservative groups.

Recent Opinion Columns

In this Oct. 20, 2014, file photo, Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Baltimore. Gov.-elect Hogan says he remains committed to pursuing tax relief in his first year as governor, despite a projected budget shortfall of more than a half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A bad tax law puts the government in the preaching business

Flawed and cumbersome tax laws afflict taxpayers everywhere, but few are as irksome, as silly and as constitutionally dangerous as Maryland's "stormwater remediation fee," also known as "the rain tax," including whatever penumbras and emanations that followed. Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, a Republican, vowed during his campaign to free taxpayers from the overreaching state law that claims to protect the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways from polluted runoff, flooding and erosion. Together with others, he argues persuasively that it amounts to little more than a weather levy, with accompanying clouds.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Lame-duck Congress may lay golden eggs for crony capitalists

The lame-duck Congress that will meet after the Nov. 4 election could lay a few golden eggs that will hatch into a new flock of crony capitalist ducklings. The gold would actually come from taxpayers. The politically well-connected are especially eager about an $18 billion giveaway to wind farms, a tax credit that benefits mostly millionaires and billionaires.

DUBAY: How to make a promising tax reform even better

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida recently laid out their vision of tax reform. They are right to push for reform. Our burdensome tax code is one of the major obstacles holding the economy back from reaching its potential. In the process, it is denying countless American families the opportunities they deserve.