Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Defending the cash economy

As I have noted previously, the IRS's taxpayer advocate, Nina E. Olson - who is supposed to be looking out for the likes of you and me - has identified the cash economy as the No. 3 biggest problem facing the American taxpayer. Not the government, mind you, but Mary and Joe Taxpayer.

Olson and her service claim the cash economy results in $100 billion a year going untaxed, and guesstimates that this underpayment, plus other nefarious activity, means Joe and Mary pay an extra $2,680 a year to "pick up the tab," in Olson's hip words, for folks who forgot to log those cash transactions.

Olson's office has to issue an annual report on the top problems facing taxpayers, and at the same time, Visa continues its absurd advertising assault on cash. I'm not saying they're colluding, of course, but the twin powers certainly have activated around the same time, around the same issue.

Anyway, the voices of reason have started to make themselves heard, as USA Today reports today. Gas stations, which have since I can remember offered discounts for cash payment, are maybe doing so at a greater rate than "before," to encourage people to help them overcome the higher credit card fees they are dealing with (because of rising gas prices).

I prefer to deal in cash when possible, but that's not always workable. Nevertheless, I still make sure it's Franklins hitting the counter when I buy from local folks, and I'll let the chips fall where they should...

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