Updates on AMT, DC Tax Fraud & UK ID Messes


A few updates on a couple of earlier blogs.

Well, first, Congress has passed an Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch for one year. However, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. said that tax refunds will still likely be delayed because Internal Revenue Service (IRS) computers need to be reprogrammed - guesses are a best case three week delay, seven weeks for the expected case, and a worst case scenario of ten weeks. But because the patch expires at the end of 2008, we get to go through this all over again next year.

A new story in the Washington Post indicates that the DC tax scam may have started in 1990. So now the scam looks like it has been going on for possibly seventeen years, instead of the nine years last believed, which was an update from seven years which itself was a revision of the three year time frame first thought. No one now is even hazarding a guess about how much money was pilfered.

Finally, the London Telegraph reported today that "details of thousands of doctors, including religious beliefs and sexual orientation" were available to anyone logging on to the Medical Training Application Service site. Given almost the daily disclosures, one wonders how many more data breaches exist throughout UK government organizations.

The Telegraph also reported this week that "Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, has advised ministers to toughen the penalties for improper disclosure of personal data after reviewing the way Whitehall departments deal with sensitive information." The penalties suggested includes jail time for civil servants.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City