Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 621

IRS Logo 2New York Sun op-ed, Logic of Firing IRS Chief Comes Into Sharp Focus As Agency Bridles at Budget, by Stephen Moore (Heritage Foundation):

The Internal Revenue Service now says that taxpayers had better get used to shabby service from the tax collection agency. The IRS is hardly an agency known for warm and friendly service to begin with. Complaining about belt tightening budget cuts, this week IRS Commissioner John Koskinen lectured: “People who file paper tax returns could wait an extra week — or possibly longer —to see their refund. Taxpayers with errors or questions on their returns that require additional manual review will also face delays.” ...

Congress needs to hold the IRS accountable and demand the firing of Mr. Kostiken because he has he admitted openly he can’t do his job. The IRS is nearly an $11 billion a year agency with some 100,000 employees. Congress wants to cut its budget by less than 4% and the agency says it can’t function. During the recession many businesses took cuts of 30% or 40%, and they did it by becoming more efficient and cutting waste. Meanwhile the IRS has spent millions of dollars on conferences at exotic resorts for its employees with some suites costing $3,000 a night. And Mr. Koskinen says he can’t find places to cut.

The IRS has also been rocked by scandals of targeting, abusing and financially harming individuals and conservative groups it doesn’t agree with. Maybe it could shut down that division and use those resources to help taxpayers. Instead of showing remorse the agency brass is petulant. The attempt to extort more tax dollars out of taxpayers is the so-called Washington Monument ploy, and Congress should demand an immediate private audit of the agency’s spending habits.

Washington demands full accountability and accuracy from tax filers, but the tax collection department is the least accountable agency of government. If the IRS can’t administer the tax code with 100,000 employees, it sounds like we need a new IRS and a new tax system.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Mr. wodun: First, you are mixing apples and oranges. When the NPS closed the parks and monuments because of a lack of budget authority, the closures were mandated by the Anti-Deficiency Act. In short, it is unlawful for the GOTUS to incur unauthorized debt for non-essential purposes. About 17% of the GOTUS is deemed non-essential, which includes such things as national park and monument visitations. The President cannot permit national parks and monuments to remain open during a lapse in appropriations. Period. Second, budgeting is a zero-sum game. When the budget is reduced, the agency must spend less–on something. It is up to the agency executives to decide what things are core to the functioning of the agency. Non-core activities must be reduced or eliminated. Among other things, we can probably agree that the silly videos and annual conferences can be eliminated or reduced. And in fact, total elimination of both the videos and conferences saves about $3-4 million. The budget cuts imposed on the IRS, however, are 4% of budget, or roughly $440 million. Even you should be able to understand that service reductions and elimination must extend considerably beyond elimination of the silly vids and conferences. I hope.

Mr. John: First, if you get rid of the IRS, you will still need an agency to administer the national sales tax. And don’t tell me that states can do it. A, why would the states agree to administer a competing tax? B, what about the states that wouldn’t agree to do it? C, state revenue departments rely on the IRS for most of their data. D, how and why would that be constitutional anyway? E, do you really like your state department of revenue that much? Second, who cares if the FF did or didn’t want an income tax? Should we get rid of the U.S. Air Force because the FF didn’t fly on airplanes? Third, on what basis do you suggest the 16th Amendment is infirm? For that matter, many modern commentators think it isn’t even necessary. Fourth, I am a Dem. My wife is a Dem. We DO NOT cheat on our taxes. Ever. And my friend, a fox smells his own hole.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 21, 2015 8:26:10 AM

Get rid of the IRS and replace it with a Sales Tax. Income Tax is nothing but a hidden sales tax anyway. FF didn't want income tax. 16th Amendment is of dubious validity - not sure why it hasn't been tossed. All the Dems cheat on their taxes. Get rid of it.

Posted by: John | Jan 20, 2015 7:27:37 PM

This is like when Obama weaponized the National Parks Service during as part of his shutdown theatre.

This is when Obama needlessly used government agencies to punish civilians with the explicit purpose of causing them pain.

This is the same thing. Obama's IRS wants to cause pain to the public rather than deal with their misdeeds. You know the Democrat activists who work at the IRS will be the last ones fired.

Posted by: wodun | Jan 20, 2015 12:10:37 PM