Tags: tax | advocate | IRS | NTA

IRS in Crisis Confirmed By Government Report

Denis Kleinfeld By Monday, 01 July 2013 07:40 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has declared that the IRS is in crisis.

The NTA was established along with the IRS Oversight Board as part of the measures to curb the IRS' abuses and terrorizing of taxpayers that Congressional hearings in 1998 revealed.

It's June 30, 2013, Special Report to Congress (not subject to prior review by the commissioner of the IRS, Treasury or Office of Budget and Management) states "But today, the IRS is an institution in crisis," with its many problems affecting its ability to conduct its mission.

As a result of the current scandals, the report states, "The public attention to these recent events has in many ways reinforced taxpayers' preconceived perceptions of the IRS as an agency that treats taxpayers unfairly."

Personally, calling the treatment of the taxpayers a "preconceived perception" misses a valuable point. That is, it is not a perception but a fact that the IRS terrorizes the taxpayers. And there is nothing "preconceived" about what is actually taking place.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which is led by the NTA, takes the position that the politicalization of the IRS as a weapon to undermine the election process is not the real problem. "The real crisis is not the one generating the headlines," according to the TAS.

"The real crisis facing the IRS — and therefore taxpayers — is a radically transformed mission coupled with inadequate funding to accomplish that mission."

These "radically transformed missions" and lack of funding are the explanation as to why the IRS gives little consideration to the taxpayers' rights or the fundamental principles of tax administration.

Like every other government oversight report, the NTA's report does not even mention what is meant by the "radically transformed mission" or how taxpayers' rights are being violated or what "the fundamental principles of tax administration" are.

Yes, there is a brief mention — lip service really — of "privacy," but that's where it ends.

The report does take note of the loss of trust, but quickly passes that off with the excuse that it is the lack of funding that drives this IRS behavior to take a "widget-based approach to tax administration."

The NTA points out 10 categories of "rights," which have been previously recommended. There is nothing that isn't covered by "due process," but the 10th is particularly interesting.

The 10th category is "The right to a fair and just tax system."

What fair share of my work and labor is someone else entitled to?

If someone is not paying taxes, but I do, then how can I be unjustly treating that other person?

The problem with the IRS is that it is a vast bureaucracy. In fact, the NTA says, "A tendency toward dehumanization arises in any large bureaucracy."

So, the NTA (perhaps unintentionally) makes certain facts about the tax system absolutely clear:

1. It is unfair and unjust.

2. It is dehumanizing to the taxpayers.

3. It victimizes the IRS.

4. It is politicized and used as a weapon against opponents of those in power.

5. While there have been scandals before and Congress has enacted three Taxpayer Bills of Rights, these have failed. (So far they are just "gimmicks" and "marketing devices.")

6. The IRS has the burden to administer a "radically transformed mission" (unspecified) that cannot be accomplished because of underfunding.

7. The fundamental principles of tax administration are not followed.

8. There is no effective monitoring or oversight of the income tax system.

The NTA's report offers "preliminary" recommendations to prevent these recurring problems from occurring and to implement "internal reforms."

This is just putting on another Band-Aid since the last one didn't work.

Is there a better way?

Sure. Go out for dinner, and when you pay the check notice that you also paid the tax that was part of your bill.

Everybody decides how much money they want to spend for dinner and willingly pays bill and the tax accordingly. People with bigger bills pay more tax.

Isn't this an equal, human and bureaucracy-free tax system?

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The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has declared that the IRS is in crisis.
Monday, 01 July 2013 07:40 AM
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