There’s an old joke about how snakes don’t bite lawyers out of professional courtesy. But tax cheats?
Thousands of companies that cashed in on President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package owed the government millions in unpaid taxes, congressional investigators have found.
The Government Accountability Office, in a report being released Tuesday, said at least 3,700 government contractors and nonprofit organizations that received more than $24 billion from the stimulus effort owed $757 million in back taxes as of Sept. 30, 2009, the end of the budget year.
The report said the tax delinquents accounted for nearly 6 percent of the 63,000 contractors and grantees examined, and it cautioned that the real number might be higher because the known tax debt does not measure such factors as income underreporting.
Among the examples was an engineering firm that received a $100,000 stimulus act contract but owed $6 million in taxes. The IRS called it “an extreme case of noncompliance.” A social services nonprofit that received more than $1 million in stimulus funds owed taxes of $2 million.
The GAO referred those two cases and 13 others to the Internal Revenue Service, the country’s tax collectors, for further investigation.
Now, honestly, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the level of representation that tax-scofflaws have in both the executive branch, in the form of Tim Geithner, and in the House, in the form of Charlie Rangel, among others.
Maybe they’re just another minority special interest group?