Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The IRS And You

                 After recent IRS debacles, such as the agency’s unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups and individuals, and the plight of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who tried to contact the agency via phone last year and were never able to get help, this latest news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, I guess. Still, it saddens.
                Even after being handed an extra $290 million by Congress, with the express stipulation that it be spent “solely for taxpayer services to ensure the agency responds to taxpayer questions in a timely manner…” taxpayer advocates are saying that the bloated bureaucracy will offer even less phone and face-to-face service to its “customers” this year…and in years to come.  Moreover, it is thought that many tax preparers will be forced to pay for advice that they used to get for free. This is in part because more emphasis will be placed on online and automated services, despite security concerns, but mostly because the IRS’ long term plan will be to stress enforcement over customer service, representatives of the people be-damned.
                                Does the agency know that the extra $290 million Congress bestowed on them- and every other dollar that they take in- comes from taxpayers that they euphemistically call “customers?” They do. They don’t care. They will target you for your beliefs. First Amendment, what First Amendment? They don’t wish to hear from you. They don’t comply with mandates from your elected representatives. This is a form of taxation without representation.
                                We know what our ancestors did. Every American taxpayer should take his or her tax forms to Washington and throw them in the Reflecting Pool… or the Potomac. We are drowning in a sea of regulations. It is time to give back.
                Our tax return forms may hold water, but arguments for the continuance of the current tax system and the totalitarian thuggery of the IRS do not.
                (The agency, of course, denies all of this and says it has used the money to hire hundreds of employees specifically to handle customer inquiries. We shall see).


                It has now come to light that the agency has erased a hard drive belonging to a former high level employee involved in its controversial, taxpayer-funded hiring of the elite trial law firm Quinn Emanuel. Microsoft had previously submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which led to a court preservation order being issued on all documents related to the matter, but the IRS erased the hard drive anyway. (For its part, the law firm itself has virtually no experience handling sensitive tax data, yet taxpayers have been footing bills of over $1,000 per hour for its services rendered).

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