IRS Boondoggle Continues

It’s not a secret. I have referred to the ongoing IRS scandal investigations as a boondoggle.

Contrary to how others have labeled me, I do not consider myself to be defending or excusing the IRS. Has the IRS been involved in profiling? My opinion is yes they have.

Is the IRS an efficiently run department? My opinion is no they are not.

What appears to have resulted in my being labeled is questioning why issues within the IRS are supposedly new to Members of Congress.  The National Taxpayer Advocate submits at minimum two (2) reports to Congress each year according to US law. You can view many of these reports here.

It would take some time to count the number of shortcomings listed in these reports, and these reports are not from an external independent review but from the agency.

Me, I’ve argued for as long as I can recall that we currently have one of the most confusing set of tax codes possible. When honest, similarly qualified CPAs after reviewing the same documents derive different figures from each other and may in fact change their own computations depending upon the day of the week, something ain’t right. Am I the only one who stores old records just on that oft chance of being flagged for a random audit? Seriously who with any iota of honesty regardless of occupation, income level, and who is somehow able to find the correct form isn’t left with some lingering fear shortly after submitting tax forms? I’ve known hardworking, honest to the core, people who are highly intelligent with no real formal schooling and others who put the initials for Post Hole Digger behind their typed names and nobody seems to have a clue about whether everything they marked is correct, applicable or not, with much certainty.

Now I am not an advocate of flat tax plans and other plans which I have seen that are labeled as “fair tax” proposals. They have that paper appeal, but in real life application I think such over simplicity will cause more headaches than it is worth. That does not mean that aspects from such plans could not be implemented. It’s just my perception that too simple may be as bad as what we have today.

I do, however, favor the long, arduous task of reviewing everything in our current code. Let’s know the dollar amounts for every credit and deduction along with the numbers to which those apply coupled with the numbers of who actually utilized these devices. With that information, the politically difficult process of cutting and eliminating begins. Individuals and groups will be angry with certain changes and possibility that anger will be somewhat balanced by other changes which work in their favor. In other words, I would not expect to win any popularity contests when conducting such a review and making decisions.

What ticks me off is that whether legitimate or not, the IRS would never win a popularity contest of government agencies. Yet the agency has become the convenient go to department to implement various duties.

Still, the branches of the Federal government have consistently increased the responsibilities of the IRS. As a result, the time spent on those other directives only diminishes the amount of time available to people like you and me.

How many individuals have been frustrated just trying to interpret and fill out the forms? How many individuals have become aggravated trying to receive assistance from the IRS? Why isn’t Congress in an uproar over the lack of attention afforded to the majority of taxpayers?

Yes, groups applying for 501(c)(4) status were in fact targeted by the IRS to provide additional information. Some people will only see their personal political ideology, but I’ll contend that both extremes and those in the middle all have representatives to illustrate this targeting.

Personally, my complaint is that I believe all such groups seeking the nonprofit status should have been subjected to the increased attention. I do not consider politics a charitable activity whether it is advocating for a person or idea. I feel that such social organizations should be considered as political groups. Whether the mission is “conservative” or “liberal” does not influence my opinion about charity and politics.

Likewise other tax exempt entities such as churches which engage in politicking should not have those activities be tax exempt under some umbrella. I actually find it disheartening to know that I could significantly increase my salary working for a nonprofit group versus a public university or many private businesses. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that fact, yes in my case it is fact based upon offers, difficult to comprehend.

I also oppose the anonymous money and feel that political work and donations over some set amount should be disclosed.  If one wants to argue a violation of free speech, my take is if the donation is for a political cause then shouldn’t a vast sum of money being given get credited in the name of free speech? Seriously, any election or cause requires a popularity contest showing to get elected or enacted.

I simply wonder why the recent Congresses have only cared about the IRS when special interest groups complain. Where were these investigations and calls for action when individuals like you and me faced the brunt of the blows or when the National Taxpayer Advocate put oh so many problems occurring within the department in writing to Congress?

That’s why today is a boondoggle in my opinion.