I Hate The IRS


Posted on : 2/18/2010 10:28:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

I work very hard not to hate.  Anyone.  Anything.  Sometimes I fail and sometimes I win.

This time it is purposeful.  I hate the IRS.  I consider the IRS to be the most immoral segment of the federal government.

I sympathize with Joe Stack.  I've seen what sort of evil the IRS can perform.  I sympathize with his frustration with a system that is inherently unfair.

A friend of mine and their spouse recently had some serious IRS issues.  They got hauled in for an audit.  The spouse in this case worked for a contractor.  They would live in an area for weeks and sometimes months on end working a job.  Their legitimate travel expenses included three meals a day, hotel or an apartment, mileage, tools, work clothes, trips to the laundromat, etc.

The IRS agent that did their audit simply didn't understand how someone could legitmately travel like that as a part of their job.  He was a pencil pusher that failed to understand how the real world operates.  This agent let his ignorance of the larger world color the performance of his duties.  A lot of expenses were disallowed.  These people were average Americans.  They weren't accountants.  They didn't have 52 envelopes stuffed with weekly receipts and travel logs.  And they ended up paying the price.

I sympathize with Joe Stack.  I sympathize with his frustration with a system that is backwards in everyway.

A while back, my beloved bride and I had a relatively minor income tax issue.  They wanted money and we didn't have it.  We filed a late return along with the money owed.  The IRS naturally sent a very polite solicitation for "penalties and interest".  When I spoke with an IRS agent about those penalties and interest, I pointed out that U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-NY, had recently been allowed to pay back taxes on income that he had "forgotten" without being penalized.  I pointed out that Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, had been allowed to pay back taxes without having to pay any additional penalties for his late filings.

I asked to get the same deal that the IRS had offered these fine Americans.  Even though the amount of money we owed was several orders of magnitude less, and even though our filing was far more timely, we were denied equal treatment.

I sympathize with Joe Stack.  I sympathize with his frustration.

The IRS code is published in two volumes with a total of almost 5000 pages.  Those pages contain categorizations of minutea that would cause any insomniac to sleep for a week.  In making the IRS code so complicated, our government essentially compels us to become accountants; gathering receipts, documenting expense, consuming our time with paperwork and filing and all the other trappings of accountery.

How is is that a government that is supposed to do our bidding has become able to dictate that we all become accountants?  Why aren't more people outraged at tail that wags the dog?

How dare they ever dream of making such demands?

I sympathize with Joe Stack.  I sympathize with his frustration.

We are rapidly approaching the point where we will be paying the majority of our income in taxes.  Increasing costs for Social Security and Medicare eat up more and more money each year.  If the current health care proposals become law, we can count on our total debt doubling in record time.  Congress is loathe to close any government office or lay off any government worker.  Private sector workers are expected to suck it up and pony up to cover the ever increasing demands for federal largesse.

I sympathize with Joe Stack.  I sympathize with his frustration.

Right up until the point where he started the engine of his Cessna airplane and flew it into an office building that houses in the IRS in Austin, TX.  At that point we part ways.

There is nothing about the IRS or federal taxation that justifies an attempt on the lives of IRS workers.  There is nothing about the IRS that justifies the destruction of an entire building.

Mr. Stack has not only taken an innocent life, but he has also set back the legitimate cause of protesting confiscatory taxation. There are better ways of dealing with Washington.

Besides, he might have been surprised to find that some of those IRS agents generally agree with those of us when it comes to issues surrounding taxation and tax enforcement.  I know I was.

With any luck, I'll have a little more on this later.  For the moment, I'm playing computer technician for part of my family.

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