Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 19, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 620

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The IRS Is Not Here to Help You: The Agency Will Punish Tax Filers For its Own Stonewalling:

Hard to believe, but the Internal Revenue Service says its customer service is about to get worse. Commissioner John Koskinen wrote to employees this week: “We now anticipate an even lower level of telephone service than before, which raises the real possibility that fewer than half of taxpayers trying to call us will actually reach us.” A new report from the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson suggests that the odds of some taxpayers getting satisfactory answers could literally be zero. ...

As a responsible chief executive, President Obama has been aggressively managing this agency crisis to ensure the least disruption for taxpayers most in need. Just kidding. ...

The IRS is pleading poverty due to recent cuts imposed by Congress, which is frustrated with the agency’s lack of cooperation investigating IRS abuse of conservatives. But while Ms. Olson emphasizes budget cuts in bringing the IRS to this pass, she also cites the agency’s failure to prioritize and the targeting of Tea Party groups that eroded public trust.

From 1997 to 2012 the IRS budget increased 64% to $11.8 billion in nominal dollars. IRS abuse of the President’s philosophical opponents came to light in 2013. Agency stonewalling—plus a less friendly environment for discretionary spending given federal debt of more than $18 trillion—resulted in a new budget of $10.9 billion. So now the agency is cutting key services and threatening delayed refunds as it pressures Congress to re-open the budget spigot.

If the IRS continues to stonewall the political targeting investigation, as Mr. Koskinen has, then the only tool Congress has to express disapproval is the power of the purse. In any case it’s hard to imagine the IRS could offer worse service than it already does.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


We have flat taxes. They're called FICA and FUTA. Neither a flat tax nor a "FAIR" tax addresses the problems that currently distress the right wing.

As for more investigating, several committees have already started with Cincinnati and worked up to Lerner and Shulman. Unless somebody provides Lerner with immunity, she isn't going to talk. So either do it or shut up about it. As for Shulman, do you really think your GOP controlled Congress is going to try very hard to uncover what a Bush appointee knew and when he knew it?

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 20, 2015 7:49:02 AM

Just go to a fair tax or flat tax. I think the citizens are ready.

Posted by: Lee | Jan 19, 2015 1:48:29 PM

Perhaps both houses now controlled by the GOP could begin an official investigation using a select committee? Like Watergate, it could be used to get to the bottom of what happened. Start in Cincinnati with the small fry and work up to Lerner and Shulman. I'd like to see it tried.

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Jan 19, 2015 8:31:52 AM