TF Chief Economist on Targeting “Tax Cheats”

October 9, 2008

A couple weeks ago, I received a call from Richard Richtmyer, an Associated Press reporter based in Albany, NY. Since we're in relatively tough economic times, he asked whether or not state and local governments would try to target "tax cheats" in order to gain more revenue, and which group of taxpayers would be targeted.

Today, Richtmyer's story came out and has been circulated through many local and national media outlets. Here's what Patrick Fleenor, our Chief Economist, had to say:

"Tax collectors are likely to focus their stepped-up enforcement on small businesses, according to The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit research group. That's partly because small businesses tend to be the biggest tax evaders, particularly during economic downturns, said Patrick Fleenor, the group's chief economist.

"But some states, including Massachusetts and Illinois, are targeting large corporations as well, focusing on those structured as ‘passthrough' companies that shift their income tax liabilities either to shareholders or to the states where they are based."

What's even funnier? Some news outlets have come up with their own title to the story: "Want Job Security? Tax Collectors Needed."

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