Jeff Quinn
Special to the Bonanza

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July 22, 2009
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Tax Tips: what's good for the goose...

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The people presently in charge of the government are very good at taking shots at the practices employed by privately-managed businesses. But we guess there must be different rules applicable to those in control.

So will somebody kindly enlighten the citizenry as to some of the recent shenanigans employed by the Social Security Administration, whose “motivational management conference” held recently at a high class Arizona resort managed to consume some $700,000 of taxpayer funds?

Phoenix local TV (ABC-15) raised a number of pertinent questions last week, not to mention some hackles among SSA pooh-bahs. Needless to say, not a lot of answers were forthcoming. Consider a few of the seminars available to Social Security management, to enable them to better serve you:

• Mentoring the Generations — will help you engage effectively across all dimensions of diverse thoughts, ideas, attitudes, beliefs, behavior and values of all generations.

• Improving Organizational Performance Through Employee Engagement — the effectiveness of engagement in improving organizational operations as well as the supervisory behaviors which foster greater engagement.

• Interest Based Bargaining — learn a collaborative process used for contract negotiations and daily problem solving that will benefit the organization as a whole.

Sounds like a lot of bafflegab to us. How about a workshop or two which deal with some basics — like actually answering the phone when a beneficiary calls, and actually answering a simple question about how to sign up for benefits, or providing simple information about income tax consequences of benefits collections?

Seems that a spokesperson from the SSA’s regional office said the conference was essential, that teleconferencing was not an option (why not?) and that all 675 managers needed to meet in person.

To “network,” no doubt. Especially during the after hours casino trip, we assume.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we wonder when the IRS will get a little more on the ball — a recent Treasury Department audit suggests the revenooers have failed to collect taxes from 18 percent of those who owe more than $1 million. Bloomberg reports that due to “computer glitches,” 448 of the 2,454 individual taxpayers who owed $1 million or more as of December, 2007 were “waiting to be processed or had been assigned a lower priority than other cases.”

Nice — maybe the IRS collection people need a touchy-feely seminar in Arizona to enable them to do their jobs. Perhaps a little more employee engagement is called for.

Bloomberg goes no to note that in fiscal 2007, IRS’ total unpaid assessments exceeded $290 billion, of which $105.3 billion was considered “potentially collectible.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as Charlie Rangel and the rest of the powers that be want another 5.4 percent of your hard-earned dough to pay for their latest pet scheme.

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, the author if this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at (775) 831-7288, and welcomes comments at

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 22, 2009 11:02AM Published Jul 22, 2009 11:01AM Copyright 2009 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.