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February 1, 2023

Accounting News Roundup: Americans Hate Taxes and Accountants Behaving Badly | 04.18.16

Americans hate taxes

The Wall Street Journal's Richard Rubin points out a problem with how people think about taxes:

Americans’ hatred of taxes defies logic.

A recent Gallup poll pegged the percentage of Americans who think their own federal income tax bills are too high at 57%. That’s up from 51% last year and it’s the highest level since 2001, just before the Bush tax cuts became law.

Here’s the problem. Just 55.5% of American households will pay federal income taxes in 2016, according to the Tax Policy Center.

When most people look at their pay stubs, they see a "Gross Pay" number and a "Net Pay" number and conclude pretty quickly that everything that caused "Gross" to end up at "Net" to be "bullshit." Perhaps I'm oversimplifying it, but in general, most people know that a large portion of those deductions are taxes but don't care to distinguish the details beyond that. Which is fine! I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to have the best understanding of how payroll deductions work, but it's probably part of the reason people think they pay too much in income taxes when in fact, lots of them don't pay federal income taxes. They get refunds!

My hunch (and Rubin points this out too) is that when Americans hate income taxes, they're probably hating payroll taxes — Social Security and Medicare deductions. As accountants, you'd be doing a public service by spending some of your vacation days educating people about the difference, thereby helping them understand that taxes aren't that bad. Of course, pretending that people will want to know the explanation also defies logic. 

Accountants behaving badly

This might end up being a recurring section in ANR since not a day goes by without some accountant helping him or herself to their employer's money. Essentially, an embezzling accountant is the "dog bites man" story for Going Concern.

In any case, Pyong Hyun "Brandon" Yoon has been accused by New Jersey authorities of stealing $1.6 million from his employer, Southpole/Wicked Fashions. Yoon was employed from 2011 to December 2015 but, for whatever reason, "continued to access the account and make his illicit payments even after he left the company." Also, Natasha Recio allegedly stole more than $15k from her employer by "wrack[ing] up more than $11,000 in personal expenses on a company card and dol[ing] out two payroll checks to herself worth a total of $4,000."

Previously, on Going Concern…

I reminded everyone that the vote on the AICPA-CIMA merger (or whatever it is) starts today.

In other news:

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