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Form Letters Generated by Pesky Technology Spurred by BS Deadlines Are to Blame for Herman Cain’s Late Taxes: Spokesman

Godfather of tax gimmicks Herman Cain has a bit of tax trouble in his past, reports the Daily Beast. In 2006, while Herm was undergoing treatment for cancer, taxes due to the state of Georgia were not paid in a timely fashion and this resulted in the GOP hopeful being served with a tax lien. It took a couple of years to sort everything which was probably longer than necessary since it sounds like extensions were filed on time but the campaign is using this non-issue to remind everyone that we need to fix this mess that is controlled by computers and deadlines and things that drive the system:

The Republican’s campaign late Tuesday confirmed the lien, portraying the unpaid taxes as an oversight while Cain was undergoing cancer treatment and the state’s lien as an excessive response that shows the need for tax reform.

“The experience serves as an example of how broken our federal and state bureaucracies are with respect to the collection of revenue,” Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon told The Beast. “The entire process is driven by automated letters generated in response to deadlines.”

Right. Because allowing citizens to file taxes whenever it’s convenient, using hand-written letters delivered by carrier pigeon would be a much better way to administer our tax system.

Cain’s Tax Delinquency [TDB]

When It Rains, It Pours: R. Kelly Hit with Tax Lien

If you’ve been poking around the web the last couple of days, you probably heard that R&B singer R. Kelly is in danger of getting thrown out of his house. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for RK who stopped paying his mortgage payments trying to strongarm JP Morgan into modifying his loan.

Unfortunately for R., it appears he also has blown off the IRS. Delinquent celebrity taxpayer scoop artist Robert Snell reports:

Music industry bad boy R. Kelly has more than foreclosure to worry about. Kelly, the controversial R&B star owes more than $837,000 in delinquent federal taxes, records show.

Snell reports that the IRS released a $1 million lien just last month against RK, so it’s unclear if this little oversight is the result of his JPM negotiating strategy or he’s still getting caught up on things.

R. Kelly believes he can fly — from tax bill [Tax Watchdog]

Florida Mayor Relates to Constiuents By Getting Slapped with a Tax Lien

A true man of the people:

The Internal Revenue Service has filed a lien against Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia for nearly $200,000 in unpaid taxes. The lien, filed June 8, means the IRS would get paid before Garcia and his wife if they attempt to sell their home or other real estate. Garcia said the IRS issued the liens after his new accountant detected errors in previous years’ tax returns. Garcia said he voluntarily brought the errors to the agency’s attention, and plans to pay the money as soon as his finances permit.

Mayor owes $200,000 to IRS [MH]

Osbournes Pay Off Tax Lien, May Be on the Hunt for a New Accountant

It sounds like the Osbournes need to find themselves a new Mort Mort Feingold.

“I […] contacted my accountant who said they knew nothing about any lien. The lien has been paid. I do intend to find out how this lien happened without the knowledge of myself or my accountants. I hope none of this reflects negatively on mine and Ozzy’s moral character.” […] “Just because you’re paying someone doesn’t mean they’re doing the job correctly,” she wrote on Friday. Three days later she added, “You can’t rely on anyone but yourself. You have to be on top of your own business affairs. My fault … lesson learned.”

Ozzy Osbourne pays off U.S. tax debts [Reuters]

IRS Eases Up on the Tax Liens for the Little People; Celebrities Not So Lucky

Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement today that the agency would make it easier for taxpayers to seek withdrawal of liens when they pay a tax debt or make arrangements to pay in installments for debts of less than $25,000. The agency also raised the dollar thresholds before liens are typically filed. “We are making fundamental changes to our lien system and other collection tools that will help taxpayers and give them a fresh start,” Shulman said in the statement. “These steps are good for people facing tough times, and they reflect a responsible approach for the tax system.” [Bloomberg]

The Miami Heat Bail Out Tim Hardaway

They aren’t exactly the U.S. Treasury and don’t foresee any populist outrage but Miami Heat Limited Partnership did Tim a fave and bought his 7,500 square foot manse for $1.985 million, according to Tax Watchdog Robert Snell:

The Miami Heat, one of the NBA’s hottest teams, bailed out former star Tim Hardaway, whose namesake son plays for the University of Michigan basketball team, by buying his Miami mansion and clearing up a $120,000 federal tax debt.

Hardaway, 44, ran into tax trouble in June despite being paid more than $46.6 million during his NBA career. The IRS filed a tax lien against his property and the bill listed his 7,542-square-foot mansion in suburban Miami.

For whatever reason, Tim is still crashing there but the Heat are trying to flip the pad for $2.5 mil, so if you’re in the market for 5bed/5.5bath with a full basketball court, make them an offer.

Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson Would Like the IRS to Quit Slapping Liens on People

Presumably this means celebrities too! That is, until the IRS can show that it’s actually an effective means of collection and not so ‘hard core.’

Olson has accused the agency of relying too heavily on an automated “one-size-fits-all approach.” She said the agency misguidedly files liens against people who have no money and no assets.

“Absent data that show liens make a meaningful contribution to revenue collection and especially in this economy, I find it unacceptable that the IRS continues to torment financially struggling taxpayers in this way,” Olson wrote in a news release accompanying the report.

Perhaps Olson has a point but then Robert Snell over at Tax Watchdog might not have a job and we’d hate to see that happen. The guy is like Raisin Bran™ on the celebrity tax deadbeat.

IRS’s ‘hard-core’ collection tactics needlessly harm taxpayers, report says [WaPo]

Jacques Cousteau’s Son Owes IRS $3 Million

Robert Snell over at the Tax Watchdog has another tax delinquent scoop and for the first time – as far as we can remember – it involves a dashing adventurous type as opposed to your run-of-the-mill hip-hop artist or Nicolas Cage.

Jean-Michel Cousteau (whose beard has to be the inspiration for Steve Zissou, even though the film is a parody of the old man) owes the IRS and the State of California around $3 million from a slew of liens:

• The IRS filed a $109,768 lien against him July 20.
• The IRS filed a $480,061 lien June 22.
• The IRS filed a $600,076 lien June 15.
• The state of California filed a $60,198 lien against him April 29.
• The IRS filed a $212,748 lien Dec. 16, 2009.
• The IRS filed a $238,852 lien Oct. 15, 2009.
• The state of California filed a $41,860 lien Oct. 8, 2009.
• The IRS filed a $193,496 lien April 14, 2009.
• The IRS filed a $187,423 lien April 14, 2009.
• The IRS filed a $518,227 lien April 6, 2009.
• The IRS filed a $396,586 lien Feb. 1, 2008.

Jesus, man. No room for a CPA on your boats? We realize that some have weight issues which could cause a problem but just throw them in the water regularly and they’ll shed the extra pounds in no time.

Ocean explorer underwater on taxes [Tax Watchdog]