Monday, January 19, 2009
At a time when the nation needs a reliable, respected voice on financial issues at the Treasury Department, is an admitted tax cheat the best we can do [front page, Jan. 14]?
Over several years, Treasury secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner failed to pay Social Security taxes, even though he was advised by his employer to do so, signed an agreement indicating that he understood that such payments were his responsibility and received extra pay from his employer specifically for that purpose.
Mr. Geithner "came clean" only when he was caught, first by an IRS audit that found he owed Social Security taxes for 2003 and 2004 and then when additional tax liabilities for 2001 and 2002 were discovered after his nomination. He has been praised for repaying these additional taxes for the earlier years, which apparently may not have been required under a statute of limitations, but this raises another question: Why didn't he voluntarily correct his 2001 and 2002 taxes once he found out that he had made the same error in 2003 and 2004?
Timothy Geithner is not the "change we need," and President-elect Barack Obama should withdraw his nomination.
WILLIAM D. CORDES
A few years ago I was a U.S. citizen employed at the Canadian Embassy in Washington; the embassy's tax status is similar to that of the International Monetary Fund.
On my first day I was informed by the human resources department that the Canadian Embassy does not withhold U.S. taxes and for tax purposes I was to be considered self-employed. As such, I would be responsible for all state and federal income taxes on my income. Like all good Americans, I promptly forgot about my tax obligation until the following tax season.
At that time the embassy sent me an income statement, and I took it to a commercial tax preparer's office. The tax specialist quickly understood that as an employee for the Canadian Embassy I was self-employed. He prepared my taxes accordingly.
My advice to Timothy Geithner: Fire your accountant, and, if you get to be Treasury secretary, make the Tim Geithner Tax Deferral available to us all.