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One way to cut the debt

August 04, 2008

Re "The IRS' cellphone disconnect," July 28

The Internal Revenue Service hit UCLA with $239,196 and UC San Diego with $186,471 in tax bills after auditors found that their employees with cellphones were not keeping logs.

To be fair about this and also to collect additional revenue, the IRS should send a questionnaire to every member of Congress; all federal employees and private contractors; all state employees, private contractors and other elected officials; and all business executives and professionals, asking the following questions under the penalty of perjury:

* Did you deduct cellphone expenses on your personal or business tax returns?

* Did you allocate your cellphone expenses between business and personal use?

* Did you keep a log to prove your allocation of business and personal use?

Considering how few people actually keep logs on their cellphone calls, I predict that following up on this information would enable the IRS to collect enough taxes to substantially reduce the national debt.

Newell Gragg


The writer is an enrolled agent, a federally authorized tax practitioner.

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