Republicans Are Being Mean to the IRS, Not That the Democrats Are Helping

It may seem peculiar to offer a defense of sort to the IRS, since most people here regard doing their taxes with even less enthusiasm than a visit to the dentist (although attitudes depend very much on the state of one’s finances and teeth). However, the reporting on the Democratic Party plan to increase IRS funding and staffing has been so bad that it’s not hard to feel a bit sorry for a generally unloved agency being kicked for mainly bogus reasons.

The Financial Times does the helpful job, in a new, prominently placed story, of explaining how the barrage of whinging about the idea of a chronically budget-starved agency getting the additional dough to do a less bad job is coming almost entirely from the Republican side. Republicans hate taxes, ergo any mention of more taxes or more tax collection must be depicted as an evil feasting on productive American enterprise. Oh, once in a while they’ll also express faux concern for small fry taxpayers, but that’s just for optics, the same way that big banks get community banks to act as the front men in opposing legislation.

However, taxes serve to validate the currency, drain demand, provide incentives and disincentives, and can be used to redistribute income. Team Dem puts up a PR defense of its IRS funding plans, without acknowledging that it’s a pretense to claim that the Federal government needs to tax to spend. Those are entirely political constraints. Do yo see anyone worrying about where the money for the next bombing run in Iraq weapons shipment to Ukraine is coming from?

But the Democrats have done themselves and the IRS no favors by justifying the spending as more than paying for itself via improved collection (note it probably will but there are better reasons to argue for more IRS funding). As we’ll also discuss, their analysis is based on a Larry-Summers touted “tax gap” that tax pros view as greatly exaggerated.

Background: How the IRS Came to Play an Overly Large Role, Including Social Support Payments

It is easy to forget that the IRS is at the very tail end of decisions. It did not write the overly complicated US tax code. It did not stand in the way of wage earners having the agency provide them with a pre-filled in tax form for them to sign and return if they agree….as is the practice in most civilized countries. It was H&R Block that prevented that.1 Nor did the IRS have anything to do with the near-total abandonment of anti-trust, which has resulted in a great increase in complexity of the legal structures of the biggest companies, as they gobbled up competitors and businesses with arguable synergies. That makes the biggest and even moderately big companies vastly more complex and difficult to audit than forty years ago.

But most Americans and even commentators have also lost sight of the fact that the IRS has become the primary government agency in dealing with consumers and businesses. Taxpayers focus on the collection side, but the IRS also allocates the Earned Income Tax cCredit to low income wage earners. And the IRS distributed coronavirus payments:

The Row Over the Proposed IRS Budget and Staffing Increases

First, let’s review some key facts about the possibility of more cash and goodies for the IRS. Remember that the much-touted $80 billion increase is over ten years, as will be the 87,000 new hires. However, “new hires” do not equal “staffing increase”. The IRS is a geriatric agency. It lost 10,000 employees in the last ten years and expects an additional 50,000 to retire in five to six years. The 87,000 new bodies will largely replace existing bodies. And the increases will be concentrated in customer service and IT.

Oh, and some of those new hands on deck are needed to clear out a big return processing backlog. From Jonathan Curry in Tax Notes (no online version) on August 16:

According to [National Taxpayer Advocate Erin] Collins’s report, which was released June 22, the IRS’s paper processing pace was far short of what it would need to be for the agency to be anywhere near healthy entering the 2023 filing season, despite taking actions like forming a surge team and imposing mandatory overtime.

An IRS spokesperson referred Tax Notes to the agency’s filing season updates page, which notes that as of August 5, the IRS has 9.7 million unprocessed individual tax returns from tax year 2021, 1.8 million of which require error correction. The remainder are paper returns still awaiting processing and review. The agency also had 2.1 million amended individual tax returns as of August 6 and 4.7 million quarterly employer returns as of August 10.

Let’s turn to the aforementioned Financial Times story:

Charles Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, knew that an $80bn funding boost for the agency included in the [Inflation Reduction Act] bill was becoming one of the package’s most controversial measures among Republicans and rallied to its defence…

“The IRS has for too long been unable to pursue meaningful, impactful examinations of large corporate and high-net-worth taxpayers to ensure they are paying their fair share”….

Many tax experts have said a funding boost for the IRS was overdue. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities think-tank, the IRS’s budget is 20 per cent lower than its 2010 level when adjusted for inflation, while its full-time employees have declined by a fifth. The audit rate has dropped 54 per cent for large companies and 71 per cent for millionaires. The “tax gap”, which measures the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected, is around $600bn annually, a Treasury official said.

Biden administration officials said the funding increase spread over a decade would be used for technological upgrades, better customer service and additional staffing, including replacing a series of expected retirements and increasing audits of the richest taxpayers. Over time, this would raise revenue to pay for the spending in the bill and reduce the budget deficit, the administration said.

We’ll turn to the “tax gap” canard in a minute. We’ll first address the Republican trumped up charges. One is stoking the fears of ammosexuals that the IRS is arming up. From the pink paper:

“Are they going to have a strike force that goes in with AK-15s already loaded ready to shoot some small business person in Iowa?” asked Chuck Grassley, the veteran Republican senator of Iowa and longtime member of the tax-writing Senate finance committee who is running for re-election this year, while speaking to Fox News this month.

Grassley of all people should know better. The IRS plays a big, and sometimes even the leading, role in busting drug lords and money launderers. The agency drily notes “Crossover between tax and non-tax crimes is common.” From the March 2022 IRS-CI Highlights, quoting the opener and the start of the first “program area”:

Program Areas

Below is just a small example of the types of cases in which CI has led or been significantly involved in over the last few years… Despite having 25% less staff over the course of the decade, CI has consistently delivered strong results. An increase in funding would help to add more investigations to the pipeline, ensure more criminals are held accountable, and shore up the global financial system.

Narcotics/Counterterrorism/National Security Investigations

IRS:CI targets the illicit financial flows of Transnational Criminal Organizations to reduce the economic incentive of narcotics trafficking, terrorist financing, and money laundering. IRS:CI has key positions to enhance operational coordination at DEA SOD, EO-OCDETF, OCDETF Fusion Center, FinCEN, IOC2, HIDTA, J-CODE in addition to Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and National Counterintelligence Task Force (NCITF). Investigations involve money laundering (Title 18) and currency violations (Title 31). IRS:CI is the largest user of Bank Secrecy Act data to identify significant financial criminal activity. Investigative areas include: money laundering, narcotics, public corruption, corporate fraud, terrorism, healthcare fraud, and financial institution fraud.

Aguirre – 12/03/21

  • Herman Aguirre, the leader of transnational drug conspiracy tied to the El Chapo Mexican drug cartel, was convicted of narcotics conspiracy, and operating a continuing criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy. He was sentenced to serve life in prison.
  • Aguirre was the leader of a transnational drug trafficking organization that utilized contacts and a source of supply whose territory included Mexico, Arizona, California, and elsewhere. The source of supply was the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Vasquez-Hernandez – 11/24/14

  • Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez, 59, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a $1 billion trafficking conspiracy.
  • Vasquez-Hernandez was a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel and a close lieutenant of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
  • Hernandez was the logistics man behind shipping tons of drugs by train from Mexico to Chicago concealed amid furniture cargo.

Singapore Solution – 9/28/2021

  • Six offshore financial service executives and a Swiss financial services company were charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS for allegedly helping three large-value U.S. taxpayer-clients conceal more than $60 million in income and assets held in undeclared, offshore bank accounts to evade U.S. income taxes.

Defense Attorney Money Laundering Conspiracy – 10/28/2021

  • A federal jury convicted an attorney of conspiracy to commit money laundering after evidence showed that received drug proceeds from clients and associates who engaged in drug trafficking and used bank accounts of the law firm where he practiced to launder more than a million dollars.

Republicans have also been flogging the idea not only is the IRS about to become an armed posse, but that it is also going to target middle class taxpayers. In fact, the legislation explicitly targets the high income. From Michael Mechanic at Mother Jones:

In fact, efforts to restore IRS enforcement funding have always been about making sure rich people pay their taxes, which helps explain why the GOP is so bent out of shape about it….

As I wrote previously:

From 2010 to 2018, even as the IRS received 9 percent more tax returns, its annual budget was slashed by $2.9 billion—a 20 percent reduction that cost the agency more than one-fifth of its workforce. Investigations of non-filers plummeted and the amount of outstanding tax debt the IRS formally wrote off (based on the 10-year statute of limitations for collections) more than doubled—from less than $15 billion in 2010 to more than $34 billion in 2019.

Virtually no partnerships were audited in 2018….

A fair subset of superwealthy Americans doesn’t even bother filing. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration reported in 2020 that nearly 880,000 “high income” non-filers from 2014 through 2016 still owed $46 billion, and the IRS was in no condition, resource-wise, to collect. The 300 biggest delinquents owed about $33 million per head, on average. Fifteen percent of their cases had been closed without examination by IRS staffers, and another one-third weren’t even in line to be “worked.”

This should not be hard to understand expect to those who have an interest in getting you not to understand it. The IRS approaches improved enforcement the same way Willy Sutton thought about robbing banks: go where the money is.

As alert readers may have noticed in the chart above, there is an abuse that on paper leads to audits of lower income taxpayers, which is Earned Income Tax Credit fraud. But the perps there are rings, but the results wind up being audits of phony low-income tax returns. So they get counted as low-income audits even though the taxpayers are often non-existent.

Yellen confirmed that middle and even moderately high income households won’t be subject to more IRS scrutiny. From the Financial Times:

“Contrary to the misinformation from opponents of this legislation, small business or households earning $400,000 per year or less will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited,” US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in a letter to Rettig this month.

Keep in mind that the IRS is literally an instrumentality of the Treasurer:

The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.

Now having said that, the Democrats and their allies are way out over their skis in touting how much they can garner by closing their self-styled tax gap. The press has tended to invoke “tax gap” as if it’s such a well-defined and accepted construct that it is accepted as fact. For instance, from the Financial Times:

The “tax gap”, which measures the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected, is around $600bn annually, a Treasury official said.

The reason this overconfidence in the existence of a super big pot of uncollected tax matters is that it served as the justification for the scuppered effort to have financial institutions report inflows and outflows on bank accounts, ex wage deposits. of $600 a year or greater.

Lee Sheppard of Tax Notes shredded the methodology behind and computation of the tax gap in a March 2021 article (no online version, emphasis ours):

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers believes the tax gap is collectible…

The tax gap is a meaningless accounting entry, and the estimated revenue gain from doubling the IRS budget is overstated.

[Former IRS Commissioner Charles O.] Rossotti testified at the May 11 Senate Finance Taxation and IRS Oversight Subcommittee hearing extravagantly titled “Closing the Tax Gap: Lost Revenue From Noncompliance and the Role of Offshore Tax Evasion.”….

The hearing was based on a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that says, um, rich people cheat on their taxes. The study argues that random audits underestimate the extent of top-tier tax evasion because they don’t capture offshore accounts and passthrough businesses. At the hearing, Nina Olson of the Center for Taxpayer Rights noted that the study had not been peer reviewed….Moreover, a pair of government economists found problems with the study, especially the indiscriminate use of multipliers.

Well, gee, don’t we have FATCA for offshore accounts? Didn’t Congress ramp up FBAR penalties? Didn’t we scare rich Americans out of Switzerland? Didn’t banks spend billions to tip new customers upside down for their passports? The NBER study concludes, using data before FATCA went into effect, that most offshore wealth is undeclared.

FATCA is not self-implementing. The first batch of final FATCA regulations became effective beginning in 2014, but reporting compliance by banks didn’t really get going until 2015 and 2016 due to a number of extensions along the way, while the data the economists used ended in 2012 and 2013 (T.D. 9610, T.D. 9808, T.D. 9809, T.D. 9852). The bottom line is that the NBER economists were looking at crusty old pre-FATCA data to argue that offshore accounts were a big problem.

Shouldn’t we give FATCA a chance? Not that the IRS has been fast off the blocks. The IRS, as of 2018, had not made effective use of taxpayer information, according to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, who testified at the hearing. The IRS doesn’t have information to match the account provided by the bank with a taxpayer. Often the information that is lacking is something as basic as a Social Security number, according to George. The IRS spent $380 million on systems for FATCA and is getting information from international agreements that it is not meaningfully using because it cannot be matched to a taxpayer.

Sheppard’s discussion is generally good news for the IRS. It means that it has a lot of relatively low hanging fruit once it gets better at mining FATCA data. But the flip side is that the estimate of $600 billion in extra dough to be had is wildly exaggerated. But if Team Dem is convinced that much is to be had somewhere, they might start looking under couch cushions for quarters poking harder at lower-earner tax filings.

But given that the IRS has had difficulty even in hiring people, don’t expect the tax men to be saddling up for anyone any time soon.

1 I am told H&R Block is a shadow of its former self, lobbying-wise. So it is over my pay grade as to why salary-earners are put through the indignity of filing out tax returns. Is it TurboTax? Inertia? Republicans seeing this indignity as adding fuel to the anti-tax fire?

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  1. ambrit

    So, we aren’t getting that $600 USD that “Creepy” Joe Biden owes us because the IRS is understaffed? I never thought of that before. The cumulative $600 USD per “taxpayer” is gathering gold dust in a basement room beneath the Capitol building, just down the hall from the “Dry Powder Room.”
    Ah. The Holy Mysteries of Macro Economics: Nation State Division.
    Stay safe.

  2. jackiebass63

    A lot of the problems could be eliminated with a flat tax. I could be designed to not hurt the poorest. If the tax system is simplified it could eliminate most of the present problems.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, you’ve been conned. A flat tax is a pet uber conservative project. Our Federal income tax system is progressive. We already have tons of regressive taxes, like sales and gas taxes. We don’t need to hurt middle and lower income taxpayers more.

      See here for more detail:

      The big complexity is on the corporate side. A flat tax won’t solve that. And there is no way the huge numbers of subsidies in the tax code, from real estate to solar panels to EVs, are going away.

      1. orlbucfan

        Thank you, Yves. That flat tax nonsense really roared into action with Raygun. I hear the two words, I bristle. BTW, Grassley really needs to retire, and be put out to pasture. He’s, what, 80+ now?

        1. Paul Art

          Not until Pelosi, Schumer, Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn all do. They are all septuagenarians as well. It’s nice Fauci decided to retire at 80. It is direct proof of the greed and selfishness of this class of citizens who block younger people from ascending to Senior positions and learning. Every year they dodger in their posts is a year lost in learning and experience for their Juniors

      2. MDA

        I hear a lot from my partner, who does tax accounting, about the ridiculous complexity of our tax code. There is a ton of subjectivity, and accountants with decades of experience are frequently baffled by IRS instructions and guidance.

        My personal solution, on which I’d love feedback, would be a national sales tax from which nothing would be exempt (excepting charitable donations for which nothing whatsoever is received in return). I would apply the tax to stocks, real estate and other investments, in addition to everything else that’s bought and sold (corporate revenue and personal income, all treated the same). I’d apply the same rate to everything and would hope that, by taxing everything, we could keep the rate relatively low.

        On the flip side, I’d couple a national sales tax with universal basic income (as well as other universal public goods such as healthcare, housing and education). Again, same payments to everyone without regard to means testing. Basically, the federal government supplies money to people, and skims small percentage off all commercial activity to keep things in balance.

        A national sales tax would be several orders of magnitude more simple than the current system, and at the same time should be very difficult for any person or company to avoid.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          A sales tax is regressive. You really want to hurt the poors, don’t you?

          And we now use the IRS to distribute subsides, so we’d still need to keep an IRS-like payment and reporting apparatus for that.

          As the criminal section shows, the IRS plays a very important role in busting drug lords and money launderers. Eliminating income taxes makes it even easier for crooks to flourish. Many are caught due to, and sometimes even prosecuted only for tax crimes (see Al Capone as the model).

          1. MDA

            I’d like to eliminate poverty through public provision of public goods, such as housing, healthcare and basic income. On the flip side, we need to collect taxes to prevent inflation,

            I’ve always questioned why people pay tax on income, which for most people is difficult to manipulate, but let corporations pay tax on easily manipulated profit. Then, we have an altogether different way to tax investment income based on capital gains.

            Why not tax everything the same, me selling my labor, a company making a sale or anyone selling a stock? A dollar exchanged is a dollar exchanged, and the more widely the tax is applied, the lower we could keep the rate.

            I’m a big fan of the IRS in principle. I’d like to make their job more easy to perform and make tax avoidance more difficult.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Sure. Wells Fargo and BOA should pay the same dollar amount as me, a musician. Makes perfect sense.

        1. Big River Bandido

          No doubt they do, but that’s an argument for a fair tax, not a flat tax. Progressive taxation is the hallmark of a civilized society.

  3. Cocomaan

    Even if the armed agents are justified, the IRS putting out job ads in the middle of this political battle recruiting for willingness to use deadly force was an optics mistake. But this is an incompetent agency, so I shouldn’t expect much.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suspect the IS always has those ads out and the Republicans took them out of context. As you can see from the excerpt from the criminal investigations ops, their staffing is down by 25% over a decade, and some of that has to be open positions not yet filled. I read in other articles that I didn’t excerpt that the IRS has had trouble with hiring.

      1. Cocomaan

        I expect that those jobs were open for awhile and taken out of context, but a savvy bureaucrat at the helm would quietly take them down for two or four weeks as the hubbub raged around the bill. Or maybe even changed the job description so it didn’t sound like “bloodthirsty people please apply”. It’s not like this was a big secret. I’m sure whoever is in charge was at the negotiating table .

        But my interactions with the IRS has indicated that “savvy” people have been weeded out of the workforce.

    2. Lex

      Yep. Whatever it really is, the political optics of it were the equivalent of finding a way to kick one’s self in the crotch. And that didn’t help what is a standard USG failure of addressing sympmtom rather than diseases. Maybe the best way to address revenue is amend tax law so that the very wealthy actually have a bill.

  4. GramSci

    “So it is over my pay grade as to why salary-earners are put through the indignity of filing out tax returns.”

    It’s simple,as I see it: US oligarchs see it as a way to make the peoples hate the IRS as much as they do. Very effective.

  5. Maxwell Johnston

    FATCA has not been a roaring success so far. Most of the extra money collected by the IRS since the UBS scandal has been based on one-off penalties for non-compliance (i.e., failure to file FBARs or 8938s or 5471s and various other tax forms), rather than on actual unpaid tax. Most overseas USA citizens are already paying tax where they live and can either deduct their foreign tax payments or (if they earn less than $100k annually, roughly) exclude all their foreign income from USA taxation. As for USA residents, hiding a foreign bank account from the IRS has long been hard to do (and even harder since FATCA came into force in 2014). Many foreign banks won’t even touch USA citizens anymore.

    I think the USA probably does have a tax gap, but it’s on corporate taxation not individual taxation. And I doubt the IRS will be allowed to go after corporate taxes in a serious manner.

    In reality, and despite its fearsome reputation, the IRS doesn’t have a lot of the administrative tools (and raw enforcement power) that other countries’ tax authorities possess. It’s amazing that the IRS can collect roughly $4 trillion a year on a budget of $15 billion (taking a quick glance at 2021 figures).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      A tax expert noted:

      FATCA wasn’t to get revenue. It was to scare US residents out of Swiss banks. Now if you want a secret bank account, you go to Singapore, where IRS is snooping, or take your chances with islands…. it was literally to scare rich US folks out of having those bank accounts. Switzerland was safe from the banking integrity perspective. Vanuatu is not. Most havens are not safe. Singapore is safe, they’ll be chased out of there next.

      So if I understand this correctly, FATCA was about compliance. Some might assume more revenue collection as a natural byproduct but that was never a goal.

  6. AndrewJ

    Is the only source for the claim that individuals and small businesses earning less than $400k a year won’t see an increase in audit rates – a statement by Janet Yellen? I believe the senate R’s introduced an amendment to put that in writing in the final bill, and it was shot down unanimously by team D. Is that all people are going on, then? A statement by Yellen? Why would anyone believe that she’ll keep that “promise” and not ignore it or walk it back in future?
    I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the basis for this claim being made, but all I’m seeing is “because Yellen said they won’t, once”. I can’t imagine any reasons anyone would believe her, or any similar statements by a government official.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Did you not read the post???? The IRS is the instrumentality of the secretary of Treasury. It operates based solely on her authority. So a statement by Yellen is a mandate.

  7. George

    “So it is over my pay grade as to why salary-earners are put through the indignity of filing out tax returns.”

    Intuit (TurboTax) is the main lobbying spender now.

  8. omg

    Democrats will sweeten the pill and earn some points if they made sure the extra IRS agents were to audit all PPP loan recipients and use the money recovered ( I suspect under a severe audit IRS will find that 95% of one trillion PPP loans was not used directly or indirectly for the intended purposes but rather to invest in real estate, cars, boats and other perks) to forgive the equivalent of student debt under $50k income threshold.

  9. TomDority

    The IRS does not make up the law – the house and senate do make the laws – so instead of blaming the service one needs to hold those making the law (House and Senate).
    I suppose ya here that there is no escaping death or taxes.
    To that I would add , unless you are rich and connected.

    1. Mark

      As was noted in the chart far above, what the IRS does do is make up who gets audited and who doesn’t. Those orders come from the leadership of the IRS (political appointees) who, in today’s world, bend toward serving those with the most money over “taking” their money.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, the reality is it is not very fruitful to audit very rich people. They hire much better lawyers and pretty much always win in court. For instance, the IRS has lost every large estate valuation case since 1981.

        Yes, increasing audit rates will stop some abuses, but the US is already a low tax country by international standards with a lot of perfectly legal loopholes (and some that should not be allowed but the IRS lacks the stones to go up against the lawyers private equity barons hire). For instance, consider the horror over that leaked Trump mid 1990s tax return. It looks like he exploited a badly-written provision that had the effect of allowing certain real estate losses to be used twice. Supreme Court upheld using that bad drafting during the period before IRS had not corrected it.

        And separately, real estate is a tax shelter, so no one should be surprised at a guy who makes his money from real estate not paying a lot of taxes.

  10. Rip Van Winkle

    “…busting drug lords and money laundering…”

    Tune in to the next episode of Ozark!

  11. John Zelnicker

    Yves – Thank you so much for taking on the misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda that is clogging up the media over the extra money for the IRS.

    As a tax accountant I deal with the IRS on a regular basis. Over the past 10-15 years they have become quite good at customer service (if you can get someone on the phone, a separate issue). All of the IRS employees I have dealt with have tried their best, within the legal limitations, to take care of my clients and give them the best result possible.

    Intuit (Turbo-Tax) has been as aggressive in preventing the IRS from providing pre-filled returns as H&R Block. Block may be losing ground in their retail division (the storefronts), but that is likely due to both their own software as well as Turbo-Tax.

    Intuit has also been the instrumental in preventing the IRS from simply offering free tax return software for completion by taxpayers. It wouldn’t be as good as pre-filled forms for simple returns, but would allow for those with slightly more complex returns.

  12. scott s.

    Republicans have been good at pointing out Lois Lerner and making the case that Dems have weaponized IRS against Tea Party in the past, and would be all too happy to do so against MAGA and those branded DVEs in the future. Canada/Trudeau is also being pointed out as a model Dems would use to put the screws to MAGA.

    The core problem of an income tax is that income is an accounting concept with many opinions. The code is a blessing of one particular opinion. The original justification for an income tax during the civil war was that the direct tax (essentially a real property tax) was unfair to small landowners.

    As far as civilized countries, in a civilized country anyone with an 8th grade education should be able to complete a form where only gross income is from wages (like the old 1040EZ) .

  13. Mike

    The Democratic Party won’t even eliminate the carried interest loophole that is almost completely abused by the Wall Street elites. So we are supposed to believe that all these new IRS agents are being hired to collect taxes from the rich? Give us a break. These agents are being hired to squeeze gig economy workers like Uber drivers, waitresses, and working stiffs with side jobs into paying what the law says they are supposed to pay. It might not be so bad if we didn’t have to read about hundreds of millions in PPP loans being forgiven for the super wealthy like Tom Brady, Jared Kushner, Paul Pelosi, Kim Kardashian, Kanye and so many others of their ilk. The Democratic Party like the Republican Party represents one class and it isn’t the 99%.

  14. Earl Erland

    There’s an argument that under John Engler the Michigan UIA’s Computers were programmed to find fraud. The Michigan Administration of UIA Pandemic Benefits under Whitmer has been a First Class Debacle. I’ve lived in Michigan since 1988, yet I’ve been told by the UIA it can find no record of me. Multiple licenses, in the state of Michigan databases.

  15. Earl Erland

    How many know Administrative Law? How many know the deference standard?

    Why would Whitmer challenge Biden/Harris having screwed so many people she actually apologized?

  16. Paul Art

    FATCA and FBAR are a joke as well. I have filed FBAR for a couple of years. If you have a bank account abroad with more than $10,000 then you must file FBAR. This amount is too low. I have wondered many times if the GOPers by design set these limits low just to inconvenience most law abiding middle class folk to antagonize them against the IRS. I get double taxed on this money even though it sits in India and helps support my Mother and maintain a property. The AMT also seems like a similar net designed with qualifying amounts so low as to affect the maximum number of middle class tax payers.

  17. ian

    “We’ll first address the Republican trumped up charges. One is stoking the fears of ammosexuals that the IRS is arming up.”

    How to square this with the IRS employment ad seeking people willing to use deadly force?

  18. Ander

    I’m glad this piece was written, i can’t help but feel kinda bad for the tax folks getting all the hate this press cycle.

Comments are closed.