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Don’t Think You Can Just Go Around Lying About the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and Not Expect Americans for Tax Reform to Have Their Feelings Hurt

A large portion of the populace probably thinks that Americans for Tax Reform president and co-founder Grover Norquist – and by extension, all of ATR – is an ideological, tax-hating, meanie. Sure, he tracks the bagels and coffee consumption at meetings and sure, he might let terrorists have their way with our grandmothers if the chips are down but that’s just holding true to his principles of austerity. Plus, he’s down with Elmo and gives the green light to cheeky blog posts, so you know he’s got a soft spot and a sense of humor.

So when someone says something mean about ATR or the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, it cuts. It cuts deep. And when someone running for public office has the audacity to lie about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, that’s when things have simply crossed the line to the point of no return.

Case in point – Kate Marshall, who is running for Congress in Nevada’s 2nd District said the following about her opponent Mark Amodei:

“He signed a tax pledge which basically says no tax loopholes shall be left behind,” Marshall said. “He shall never turn down a subsidy, shall never close a loophole.”

Well, this little statement got a few knickers in a twist over at ATR and they pulled a quote from to prove Marshall wrong:

ATR’s tax pledge does protect corporations in general — but only from an overall increase in taxes. It says nothing about jobs at all. More important, it does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. Signers agree to oppose any “net” reduction of deductions or credits “unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” […] That leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this “protects” any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.

So now, Grover and Co. would like Kate Marshall to apologize for this blatant disregard for the truth. This can be made in the form of a written apology, public statement, sending Grover a bouquet of flowers or – here’s a wild idea – how about SIGNING THE PLEDGE? That would probably smooth things over.

Kate Marshall Urged to Apologize for Lies About Taxpayer Protection Pledge [ATR]
Four special election candidates spar over taxes [LVS]

How to Improve Your Business Lying

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

We all have to lie from time to time as we go through life. Sometimes it’s to protect ourselves, sometimes to protect others. We even grade them – the fib, white lie, the lie of concealment, the misleading lie, and the business lie.

Does the lie have a place in life, or should we all be absolutely honesl the time, about everything? I feel sure we could spend many hours debating the pros and cons of lying including many moral issues.

There are in fact a number of good reasons why we have to lie. To tell the truth might be unnecessarily hurtful. Telling the white lie, when you decide to tell a colleague how good they look when they return to the office having spent a small fortune on clothes or a new hairstyle is probably the right thing to do. Spoiling someone’s day unnecessarily is difficult to justify. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is just your opinion. Everyone else may disagree with you.

Lying in business is another matter

In business it is a matter of day-to-day necessity to lie or conceal a wide variety of issues. In certain cases to tell the truth might even be illegal. For example, when one company is having secret talks to purchase another, the stock market price of their shares could be affected if they told other people in advance of the acquisition. If asked a direct question relating to a potential acquisition and they had answered it honestly, they may have given someone the opportunity to purchase stocks in advance and make money from the information, thus breaking the law with regard to insider trading.

In deciding to lie to someone, we try to convince them of the accuracy of the information by reinforcing the statements with body language signals.

Look me in the eye

One of the most obvious mistakes is deliberately looking someone straight in the eye when lying. The origins of this emanate from the challenging statement we heard as children “look me in the eye and tell me that you know nothing about what happened.” This might be accurate with children, teenagers, and young adults as they do tend to look down or away when concealing the truth. In order to counteract this they are advised to look people in the eye to prove the truth of their words.

As we get older we believe that looking people in the eye when lying will help us look more convincing. We compound the mistake by staring without blinking and adopting a solid posture whilst the statement is being said.

Even though they are not sure why, it tends to give the game away to the majority of people because instinct tells us that something is wrong and we become suspicious about what we are hearing. We don’t know what it is, but we just know it feels wrong.

Constricting pupils

There is also the issue of the eyes. You may be the best liar in the world, but you cannot prevent your eyes constricting when you lie. A good negotiator will always make best use of the light, so he can see your eyes but you can’t see his!

A few things to bear in mind

1. Don’t look directly into the pupils of the person you’re lying to, look at the whole face.
2. Maintain eye contact for 75% of the time (the average for most people).
3. Be aware that the voice usually goes flat when you are lying. In trying to lie convincingly we control pitch and resonance, believing it will sound more convincing. Often, each word is clipped in an attempt to be precise. Changes in the voice coupled with a look directly into the eyes will cause doubt.
4. Next is body posture, whether standing or sitting.

In an effort to conceal the truth when a lie is being told the body generally becomes more solid or rigid. This is made more difficult because only you know what your body language is like when you tell the truth and you must make sure you don’t change it when lying. If you are an animated person who looks at people 75% of the time, then don’t alter your habits, do not increase the eye stare, or reduce body movement or sound firmer with your words. People will not always be sure you are lying, but they can tell something has changed.

Another difficult area to control when lying is the hands. Some people fidget with their hands and arms (especially when caught off guard with a question they did not expect.) One second the hands are in pockets and then out and this may get repeated several times.

Blushing and nose blushing

The skin gets warmer when someone is feeling awkward. This is because blood vessels in and around the nose and face are irritated when you exaggerate or lie. The only way to make the irritation to go away is to rub or lightly touch the tingling and offending areas of the face.

We have carried out a number of body language experiments in this area and discovered that 90% of those observing hand-to-face contact thought that something was wrong and they became cautious of what was being said. To anyone who understands body language it is a giveaway. Therefore if you cannot learn to leave the offending areas alone, stick to telling the truth.

Who are the best liars?

Politicians have to be good at lying because journalists will never stop asking awkward questions that will give them tomorrow’s headline. Unlike many of us, they have learned to adapt. By giving a much longer answer and explanation than necessary, a politician telling the lie avoids being asked a follow up question and hopes the reporter has either forgotten his original question or gives up.

One of the contracts I have is to analyse public figures and I sometimes have to spend weeks or months studying before I can be sure of a politician’s gestures that tell if they are concealing the truth.

About the author:
Peter Clayton is a leading body language expert, speaker, and trainer as well as a consultant for the BBC and ITV. He writes for a wide range of national papers and magazines and is a specialist consultant to other speakers, leading businesses, celebrities and politicians. For more information, visit his Web site:

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This article originally appeared on our sister Web site,

Max Baucus Promises to Monitor the IRS Until the Tax Gap Is Closed ‘Once and For All’

As soon as you catch your breath from laughing hysterically, feel free to continue.

Max Baucus turns 59 69 on December 11th, so even if you assume that he will have the life expectancy of Robert Byrd that means he’s got 32 22 years of watching the IRS’s every move. Sure, we’re making the assumption that the IRS has a snowflake’s chance in Hell of closing the tax gap but that’s an assumption we’re comfortable making.

The General Accounting Office recently stated that the IRS was using “antiquated techniques” to fight tax evasion and Baucus feels compelled to be on top of the situation until the tax gap is a distant memory.

“This report makes clear the IRS needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to fight complex tax evasion schemes and that more work is needed to close the tax gap,” Baucus said in prepared remarks. “I intend to closely monitor the IRS’ progress to make sure they have an effective strategy to root out this tax evasions and close the tax gap once and for all.”

You may now resume laughing until you soil yourself.

Baucus urges new strategy for IRS to combat evasion [On the Money]

Are You Saying That An IRS Collection Agent Might Not Be Completely Honest with a Taxpayer?

You know, you’d think with all the challenges the IRS faces – airplanes, llelo/baking powder scares, virtual Tea Partiers – one would think that when on a collection call, agents would apply a spoonful of sugar to help the financial rectal exam go down.

Sadly, we’re informed over at Tax Lawyer’s Blog that it’s typically much more devious than that:

Often, when a taxpayer speaks to a low-level IRS official about a tax issue the official tells him one or more of the following:

• You must pay the debt or you will be criminally prosecuted
• If you don’t pay the debt in full within so many days, your assets will be seized
• It’s a waste of money to hire an attorney

As noted Peter Pappas notes, these three points are, in a word, gobbledygook.

Despite how much you might not want to admit it, attorneys are always useful in legal situations, especially complex ones. You might be able to get out of a traffic ticket on your own but probably not a tax case. An expert is needed (whether it’s a lawyer, CPA or EA). Further, as the post notes, these collectors are not the tax sages that they might present themselves to be, “[T]hese IRS officials are wholly unqualified to give legal advice to taxpayers. They aren’t lawyers, CPAs, or IRS Enrolled Agents and in the great majority of cases lack a substantial background and education in the intricacies of federal tax law.”

And there is the small matter of the agent acting in the best interest of the Federal Government so the modern day Matthew isn’t exactly in the best position to be giving the taxpayer advice.

IRS Collection Officials Intentionally Mislead Taxpayers [Tax Lawyer’s Blog via Tax Update Blog]