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The Chairman's Report July 10 2020

The Chairman's Report July 10 2020
Photo Credit: Steve Hayes by is licensed under
Ordinary & Necessary; Language Only A Bureaucrat Can Love

As we've discussed in earlier reports, one of the principles of a good law is it must be clear and precise.  People must be able to understand clearly what is expected of them, and where the line is between lawful and unlawful actions.

However, all too often, Congress passes income tax laws written in a way only tax professionals can understand, or have terms in them so vague and general, two honest, well-intentioned people can interpret them quite differently.

An example of this is the phrase “ordinary and necessary”.  Ordinary is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as: something expected in the normal order of events.  Necessary is defined: absolutely needed: REQUIRED.

When people are operating a business, they calculate both their total income and all of their operating expenses.  The difference between these two numbers  is the amount on which they will pay income and self-employment taxes.

For an expense to be deductible and therefore lessen the amount of income subject to income and payroll taxes, it must be reasonable and necessary for the business.  In Publication 535, Business Expenses, the IRS says, "An ordinary expense is one common and accepted in your industry.  A necessary expense is one helpful and appropriate for your trade or business”.

Seems simple doesn’t it?  However, a lot of taxpayers, their tax advisors, the IRS and the courts daily disagree on whether or not something is ordinary (normal) and necessary (required).

One real example was a rancher who raised, sold and stabled horses.  He spent a large amount of money each year ensuring his fence was painted and maintained.  Rather than having a simple gate at the entrance, he installed one which was very elaborate and contained images of horses.  To complicate matters even more, the rancher spent a lot of money maintaining the road leading from the highway up to his barns and his home, where he had an office he used to work with buyers.

He was very careful to deduct only the percentage of the road maintenance costs corresponding with the percentage of his home used as an office.

An initial IRS audit found nothing wrong.  None of the deductions were questioned.  However, in a subsequent audit a few years later, a different agent denied most of the deductions saying they weren’t necessary (required) expenses.  The agent reasoned, since the rancher lived on the property, allowing the deductions would be like allowing a homeowner to deduct normal upkeep expenses on a personal residence.

The rancher tried to explain how having a well-kept property and road gave people confidence when they boarded their expensive horses with him and when they purchased expensive horses from him.  He said this “impression” made him many thousands of dollars a year on which he paid taxes.  The IRS agent listened, but in the end came to the same conclusion, the deductions weren’t for ordinary and necessary expenses.

After spending thousands of dollars for a tax professional to make his case to the IRS, the parties compromised and the rancher agreed to pay $25,000 because of the disallowed deductions and to deduct only 25% of these costs going forward.

Did the rancher believe he was wrong?  No, and his tax professional showed evidence the expenses in question were important in persuading customers to do business with him.  However, the tax professional realized challenging the IRS in court might not be a good idea.  It was entirely possible a court would see things the same way the IRS agent did, and there was no assurance a judge would side with the rancher.  In the end, it was just less expensive to settle and forego the deductions.

This “ordinary and necessary” time bomb is ticking for almost every small business.  The IRS can come in at any time and say, even though you take calls day and night for your business, you can only deduct a portion of the cost of the cell phone because you also call and text your family from the same phone.

Is it worth fighting?  Probably not, and most people find it easier and less expensive to just pay the back taxes and either carry both a business phone and a personal phone to avoid the problem, or just not deduct the cost of their cell phone at all.

This type of “difference of opinion” can apply to a car used in business but is also used to go pick up the kids.  It can apply to your internet connection and your computer if you use it both for business and to answer personal emails and order personal items online.

The Infernal Revenue Code is so full of traps like these, it’s absolutely a disgrace and clearly violates the maxim a law must be easy to understand if it’s going to apply to you.

Conclusion

Some opponents (The Ruling Class and their minions in D.C.) say there would be similar opportunities for disagreements under The FAIRtax regarding what is a legitimate, non-taxable business to business purchase.

In all of the 45 states with a state sales tax, resale permits are filed by business type, sales volume, location and a number of other data points in a computer system.  This accumulated data allows the state to see if a business is paying a similar amount of tax compared to other businesses of similar size in similar demographic areas.

For example, if a retail clothing store purchased items with their resale permit not purchased by other retail clothing stores, like more cell phones or computers for example, the computer will identify this and send the case to an examiner.  Then the examiner can ask the store to provide the “business reason” for the extra purchases.  If the store owner can show a legitimate business reason, then there is no problem.

If the store owner cannot show a valid “business reason”, (the extra computers and cell phones were purchased for his children maybe) the offender will have to pay The FAIRtax and a penalty on those purchases actually made for personal use.

Business owners know under the income tax system, it often takes an audit to uncover abuses like this, so they’re often tempted to try to cheat the system.  They also know with a sales tax, any deviations from the norm are a lot easier to spot, making it a lot riskier to try “pushing the envelope”.

Is The FAIRtax perfect?  No.  There will inevitably be some abuse.  But there won’t be anywhere near as much as we currently see under the present Infernal Revenue Code.  There will also be much less room for “opinion” in the enforcement of the law or the “luck of the draw” if you are audited.
 
"We must never let the perfect
be the enemy of the good"

The FAIRtax will eliminate the “opinion” as it applies to individuals, you pay the tax when you buy things.  For businesses, it will be much more difficult to “game” the system.  With much less cheating and abuse, everyone will assume a much more equitable share of the burdens of funding the federal government.

If you are ready to take a very significant step toward wresting control of your government back from a small group of corrupt people to make it possible for all of us to prosper, Go to our Homepage NOW, sign up to "Get-Updates", join with us to TAKE BACK CONTROL!

Demand Congress To Pass The FAIRtax—the only “Fair tax”!


The author George Bernard Shaw said these words in a play he wrote, "You see things; and you say 'Why?'  But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not'?”

Isn’t it time for us to ask, “Why not?” 

President Trump, Embrace The FAIRtax, the only real tax reform!  Stand up to the Swamp.  They will oppose you anyway because they see you as a threat.  What have you got to lose?

The truth is the truth!  Remember, if we don't continue to tell the truth and demand a change, then George Orwell's "1984" quote may foretell our children's future: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever"
Thank you for staying FAIRtax strong!
 
Yours In Liberty!   Yours In Freedom!

Steve Hayes
Chairman, Americans For Fair Taxation


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Americans for Fair Taxation® is a 501(c)(4) non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization solely dedicated to replacing the current income tax system with a fair, simple and transparent national consumption tax – the FAIRtax® Plan. We rely entirely on contributions from concerned citizens like you who want a tax system that will generate jobs and stimulate the economy. Welcome to the FAIRtax team!

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