On Tax Day, Donald Rumsfeld feels your pain.
The former SecDef has admitted in a letter to the IRS that despite his best efforts, and the efforts of his accountants, he has no idea if his tax return is accurate because the tax rules are too complicated, something most Americans will probably agree with, regardless of their feelings about Rumsfeld himself.
In a letter to the federal tax collecting agency dated April 15, Rumsfeld — a Princeton graduate and US Navy veteran — said in part about his 2013 tax return,
… it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate… The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated, that I know that I cannot have any confidence that I know what is being requested, and therefore I cannot and do not know, and I suspect a great any Americans cannot know, whether or not their tax returns are accurate…
He added that “I do hope that at some point in my lifetime, and I am now in my 80s, so there are not many years left, the US government will simplify the US tax code so that those citizens who sincerely want to pay what they should, are able to do it right, and know that they have done it right.”
Rumsfeld is both the youngest and oldest person to have served as US Secretary of Defense. He served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush and was one of the overseers of the disastrous Iraq War. He is also a former Congressman and held other high-level federal government posts.
According to The Hill, Rumsfeld’s IRS letter is a callback to the Iraq War-related WMD issue: “The letter’s phrasing appears to allude to Rumsfeld’s famous ‘unknown unknowns’ statement in 2002, when he said, in reference to Iraqi weapons programs, that ‘there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.’ ”
Given that he is a foe of the Obama administration, do you think Donald Rumsfeld’s tax return will be audited?
— Donald Rumsfeld (@RumsfeldOffice) April 15, 2014