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Income tax is so complicated, most of us turn over the responsibility for preparing our return to a professional tax preparer. Recently, that’s gotten a lot of people in trouble around south metro Atlanta, all because of one “professional” tax preparer.

The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is investigating nearly 8,000 suspicious returns spanning the years 2013-2015. Those returns were prepared by a firm headed by Ruth Barr, who also happens to be a Hapeville city councilwoman. Many of those who entrusted their returns to Barr are police, fire, and other public safety personnel.

The investigation continues. Whatever happens to Barr doesn’t change the fact that when it comes to income tax, the taxpayer is on the hook for any monies owed. It doesn’t matter who prepared the taxpayer’s return. The Georgia Department of Revenue has sent out letters to the first hundred taxpayers whose returns they question. The state claims they owe some $872,000 in unpaid taxes. That’s a nasty surprise hitting people at about the same time as holiday bills.

Barr claims to have done nothing wrong, has hired an attorney and the battle will move to the courtroom. She also refuses to give up her council seat in Hapeville. This mess will cost the courts and the DOR a lot of money to resolve. That’s more taxpayer money.

Isn’t it time that the root cause of this problem is acknowledged. It’s the income tax. Not only does income tax discourage work and investment, shrink job opportunities, and constrain Georgia’s economy, but also it opens a world of opportunity for criminal behavior.

Georgians for Fair Taxation supports recent proposed legislation to get rid of the Georgia state income tax and broaden the consumption tax to make up the revenue. This is a far simpler method of collection. The systems to collect it are already in place. Instead of sucking unwitting taxpayers into a vortex of criminality, the consumption tax makes it far more difficult for the real crooks to carry out their schemes and easier for the DOR to manage the system.

Call your local elected officials and encourage them to support legislation to eliminate Georgia’s income tax and replace it with the FairTax.



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