Opinion: Timothy Geithner: Blame me, not TurboTax


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Timothy Geithner is getting a grilling from the Senate Finance Committee this morning about his nomination to be Barack Obama‘s Treasury secretary. In a nutshell, critics on the committee want to know how they can entrust him with a $700-billion rescue fund in the worse economic times since the Great Depression -- and with oversight of the International Revenue Service -- when he forgot to pay more than $34,000 in taxes when was working for the International Monetary Fund.

The theme led to one of the more comical exchanges of the day, when Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, seeking details on how Geithner could miss the need to pay the Social Security and Medicare taxes, asked him what software he used to prepare his taxes during the years in question, 2001 to 2003.


Geithner, currently president of the New York Fed, seemed reluctant to name names. The conversation went like this.

Grassley: ‘Did you use tax software to prepare your taxes?'Geithner: ‘Yes, I did.'Grassley: ‘Which brand of tax software?'Geithner: ‘I will answer that, but I want to say I take full responsibility. ... It was TurboTax.’

No word yet on whether the company will want to use the testimony in its ads. Of course it might not be a great endorsement either.

-- Johanna Neuman