One of the top priorities of both parties in the lame duck is the repeal of crippling expense-reporting requirements in the Affordable Care Act — requirements that would force businesses to file tax forms on all purchases over $600 in order to help raise revenue to fund the massive health-care bill. But Republicans and Democrats disagree on whether and how the roughly $19 billion in revenue that would be “lost” via repeal should be replaced.
I've been a small business, in fact, a just me business, for more than 20 years. I already know how much grief this requirement will cause guys like me. But what I don't get is how it will bring in money for Uncle Sam.
If this filing requirement will bring in 19 billion dollars, that means that suppliers are presently cheating to to the tune of 19 bil. I find that hard to believe. Big companies, unlike me, have full time accountants and even accounting departments -- is it really believable that you could get them to fudge the year's total sales numbers? I find that pretty far fetched, especially when you consider that the IRS will pay a bounty to those who blow the whistle on their employers.
So I resent the IRS giving me the role of policeman for their regulations. That's not my job, and nobody's paying me for it. And what happens if I make a mistake doing this unpaid, unwanted, job? Will the IRS be content to fix the mistake, or will they see it as an opportunity to subject me to a brisk IRSing?
And here's the thing about 1099's: Mistakes happen. I know this because I do a lot of government work. So I get 1099's from the government. And the government, the same government that will give me a face-whacking should I make an error, almost never gets their 1099's right. I've gotten 1099's that are too low, and I've gotten 1099's that are too high. Fortunately I have enough un-1099 work that it really doesn't matter - I just report all my income; and that is more than the total of my 1099's.
I have never been tempted to exclude income for which there was no 1099. Why? Because my bank and credit card processors keep track of everything coming in. And it is stupid to think the IRS can't check my records against my banking records. Nobody pays me actual cash, and I don't pay any of my suppliers green money. That's not how real biddnesses do it.
Who can cheat on reporting income? Small businesses that get paid in cash. Hot dog vendors, waitresses, hit men, drug dealers, and babysitters can fudge their net income. Small businesses, like me, get paid by check or credit card; we can't hide that. And making us do 1099's on each other won't bring in much. It can't bring in nearly as much as it will cost us 1099 writers to comply with the reporting requirements. And who's going to send a 1099 to their drug dealer or babysitter?
So I protest the Bend-Rodger-Over-and-Drive-Him-to-Boston reporting requirement. It gives me work and responsibility I don't want and won't get paid for. All so that the government can get this 19 billion dollar windfall that isn't there.
I hope my babysitter does cheat you, you bastiges.