TAX CHEATS CREATE HUGE GAP
If you invent a smarter mousetrap, chances are smarter mice will figure out a way to defeat it. That’s what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is learning when it comes to catching tax cheats.
Because the methods of cheating grow increasingly sophisticated—including complicated tax shelters to hide income—the IRS barely has the resources to keep pace, and is losing ground to tax evasion. The widespread knowledge of the IRS’ lack of resources and the absence of fear of getting caught has tempted more taxpayers to take their chances when it comes to tax evasion.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti says there is “a huge gap between the number of taxpayers whom the IRS knows are not filing, not reporting or not paying what they owe and our capacity to require them to comply.”
TONS OF CELL PHONES TOSSED EACH YEAR
No question, we are a nation of cell phone users. According to statistics published in the New York Times, cell phone use in the United States surged to more than 128 million subscribers last year from 340,000 in 1985. The problem is, each phone typically is used for 18 months before being dropped for a newer model.
That’s adding up to a huge amount of waste, says Inform, an environmental organization that issued a report this year on old phones. By 2005, the report estimates, 130 million cell phones will be thrown out each year. Counting the phones, batteries and chargers, that comes to 65,000 tons a year.
OfficeTeam, a staffing service, recently asked 150 executives from among the largest 1,000 U.S. companies for some of the strangest things they’ve ever heard while conducting job interviews. Their answers included:
• A candidate who picked up his cell phone after the first few questions to call his parents to let them know the interview was going well.
• A candidate who had asked for an early morning interview showed up with a box of doughnuts, which he ate during the meeting. He explained that this was the only chance he’d get to eat breakfast before going to work.
• After being complimented on his choice of college and grade point average, one candidate admitted he was happy that caught the interviewer’s attention, because he didn’t really attend that school.
SMALL IS BETTER
Here’s another reason you might be glad you run a small business. Many small businesses are countercyclical—they do well when the economy and other businesses aren’t.
William Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, says firms in the financial, insurance and real estate markets have fared better than most during the latest economic downturn.
INTERNET SURVIVES ‘POWERFUL’ ATTACK
The Internet and its various connections have become so big you probably didn’t even notice a “powerful” attack in October on the computer servers that handle global Internet traffic. According to the Associated Press, the FBI and the White House say nine of the 13 root servers that manage Internet traffic were attacked—with seven servers failing to respond to legitimate network traffic while two others failed intermittently.
The FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center says the attack lasted only an hour during which time the attackers transmitted 30 to 40 times the normal amount of data to each of these servers. Experts immediately took defensive steps before the attack suddenly stopped.
The 13 computer servers in question are spread across the globe as a precaution against physical disasters. They are operated by U.S. government agencies, universities, corporations and private organizations.