Tax Law

Suicide Pilot Was Angry About Tax Law Affecting IT Professionals


The pilot who flew his plane into an Austin building yesterday was angry about a section of the 1986 Tax Reform Act that made it more difficult for computer professionals to pay taxes as self-employed independent contractors.

In an online rant, Andrew Joseph Stack, a contract software engineer, blasted the law redefining the status of some highly skilled contract workers in the technology industry, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The law, 1706 of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, required high-tech workers to face the same independent contractor test as everyone else, the Tax Policy Blog reports.

University of Texas law professor Calvin Johnson told the American-Statesman that Section 1706 required companies to withhold taxes for some of these high-tech workers. Previously the workers could make quarterly payments on estimated taxes and could take deductions on items such as home offices, the story says.

The law’s sponsor, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., later sought to repeal the measure, the New York Times reports. A congressional report had estimated the law would raise an additional $60 million a year by making it more difficult for the workers to cheat on their taxes, but later estimates said the revenue lost by repealing the law would be insignificant.

TaxProf Blog has links to several stories about the issue.

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