Revennoer Rants: The IRS is getting tougher on tax cheaters

Jeff Quinn
Jeff Quinn

The Revenooers are really getting their back up when it comes to apparently suspicious overseas dealings by taxpayers.

A U.S. District Court has enabled the IRS to summon eight entities in the shipping and financial services industries to assist them in identifying perceived U.S. tax cheats who used the services of an entity known as Sovereign Management & Legal Ltd. (Sovereign) in order to establish, maintain and/or conceal foreign financial transactions.

Among others, the target of these summonses includes Federal Express Corporation, DHL Express and United Parcel Service Inc.

Uncle Sam thinks these high-end mailmen helped Sovereign offer its menu of services to its clients including, for example, the formation and administration of anonymous corporations and foundations in Panama, mail forwarding, and availability of virtual offices.

So much for taxpayers’ privacy.

And from our “can you imagine that?” department comes word, this week, from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center that the hallowed mortgage interest deduction favors higher income taxpayers.

Really? So does every other deduction that you might name. But we digress.

The Center pontificates that, “Tax expenditures for homeownership are regressive, providing larger subsidies for higher-income homeowners and larger houses, neither of which correlates with spillover effects for the rest of society. Homeownership tax expenditures also lead to substantial lost revenue, with the mortgage interest deduction costing $69.7 billion in 2013 alone.”

Drips with a condescending tone, doesn’t it — at the very least, due to the insistence that the government is expending the so-called “cost” of foregone revenue.

As if the dough in question is all theirs, and not money coming from thee and we.

The Center came to these earth-shattering (in their view) conclusions by analyzing the zip codes from which mortgage interest deduction claims emanate.

Give ‘em this much for recognizing that “Not surprisingly, therefore, high-income taxpayers in richer zip codes are more likely to claim the mortgage interest deduction, while taxpayers in low-and middle-income zip codes frequently have relatively low claiming rates.”

How edifying. Now that we know this, with $2 we can buy a cup of coffee at the 7-Eleven.

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at

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