THE WHITE HOUSE: The Tax Volunteer

"We deal in this room with appearances as well as reality." This was Press Secretary Jody Powell's frank explanation in the White House press room last week of why Jimmy Carter had decided to pay $6,000 in federal taxes on his income in 1976 when he actually owed nothing at all.

Carter and his wife had twice obtained an extension from the Internal Revenue Service on the deadline for filing their 1976 return as they pondered the politically embarrassing fact that despite a gross income of $54,934.79, they would have to pay, well, peanuts to the IRS—only...

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