Situation Normal

You Can Forget That Deal on the Estate Tax

Yes, the brain trust known as the U.S. Senate has managed to prolong the agony on the estate tax. There was a deal on the table as of yesterday but you can forget it! Hard to believe this could happen. Was it a fundamental disagreement on the proposal? Was it because everyone was broken up that Arlen Specter?


No, it’s mostly because some people (the R’s) don’t like that other people (the D’s) are being fraidy cats about not having enough votes:

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the accord, which was all but forged a week ago, began to dissolve Monday night and broke down Tuesday after talks between leaders in both parties.

After talks with Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), they scrapped a plan to move forward with the tax that expired at the end of 2009.

The reasoning, Kyl said, is that Senate Democrats aren’t allowing any legislation to reach the floor that doesn’t have support from the majority of its members.

“We no longer have an agreement because the Democratic side has decided that unless a matter has a guaranteed majority of Democratic votes going in, they’re not going to allow it on the floor, at least not voluntarily,” he said. “So we have to find a way to get a reasonable permanent estate tax reform to the floor where members can vote on it.”

For crissakes. This is this biggest case of “I’m taking my ball and GOING HOME” we’ve seen this week.

Joe Kristan does put the whole thing in perspective however, “Congress has been botching the estate tax for almost ten years now; why should they start getting anything right now?”

Kyl: Senate deal off on estate tax [On the Money/The Hill via TaxProf]
Estate Tax Deal? Not so Fast [Tax Update Blog]

Arnold is Probably Thinking That This Is One of Those Situations Where a Cyborg from the Future Would Have Come in Handy

Thumbnail image for arnold.jpgIt just doesn’t seem possible that his Govinatorness would have a tax lien slapped on him because A) he’s married to a Kennedy and B) his annual Kindergarten Cop royalties alone should be enough to cover $79k.
Despite those two advantages, the IRS did file a lien in May for $79,064 that relates to 2004 and 2005, according to TMZ.


The claim by the Governor’s minions is about what you would expect them to come up with: a ‘paperwork snafu.’ In all fairness, the code section cited on the lien is 6721 which, as Tax Girl notes, is informational in nature:

Section 6721 deals with information returns, not taxes owed…Information returns would include such ordinary forms W-2, W-3, 1099, 1096, etc. If that’s the case, it could likely be related to household employee payroll taxes (household employees would include workers such as housekeepers and nannies). However, Schwarzenegger’s office is strongly hinting at the fact that it’s more removed than that – but then, they are politicians.

The other possibility that’s being floated around is that Ahnuld is “listed as a ‘responsible person’ by a business in which he is involved, possibly with a group of partners, and that the IRS might file liens against all of the business’s designated agents,” and thus, “might explain why Schwarzenegger may not have been aware a lien had been filed.”
So, as usual, no one really knows anything for sure and nobody is talking. The man has been a failed state to run people, he can’t be expected to be on top of everything.
Schwarzenegger’s Office Blames $79,000 Tax Lien on ‘Paperwork’ Snafu [Mercury News]
The Governator Blames Tax Lien On “Snafu” [Tax Girl]
See also: IRS Files $79k Tax Lien Against Gov. Schwarzenegger [TaxProf Blog]