In , although the percentage of tax-related
subject investigations initiated and the percentage of direct investigative
time applied to tax-related subject investigations increased, several key
performance measures showed decreases from
. For example, the number of subject
investigations initiated decreased 8.5 percent, the number of subject
investigations in open inventory decreased 5.8 percent, the number of subject
investigations referred for prosecution decreased 4.9 percent, the number of
subjects convicted of a crime decreased 6.1 percent, and the number of
subjects sentenced for a crime decreased 3.6 percent.
One of the details that stood out to me was this:
Research suggests that higher levels of criminal sentences lead to higher
tax compliance.… ¶ In an effort to ensure voluntary compliance, the function
changed its philosophy to allow for more publicity of its tax investigations.
It continues to increase the publicity on tax prosecutions, and the overall
publicity rate of 75.6 percent for prosecutions in
This suggests to me that those tax resisters who are courting or anticipating
criminal prosecution would be well-advised to prepare some sort of media
strategy ahead of time, knowing that the
certainly be trying to put a loud and attention-grabbing spin on every
prosecution. Conscientious tax resisters can get a “free ride” on the
own publicity department if they plan ahead and use some savvy.
Stephen Douglas Smith of the University of San Diego School of Law has written
a paper — Taxes, Conscience, and the Constitution — in which he asserts that, whatever the virtues of conscientious tax
resistance, there’s nothing in the Constitution that supports it as some sort
of right that the government must respect:
It was often claimed in the founding period — and it is claimed today by
jurists like Justice Souter and by scholars like Noah Feldman — that citizens
have a right of conscience not to pay taxes that will be used to advance
religious teachings which they do not believe. But advocates of this position
typically reject the corresponding claim that citizens have a right of
conscience not to pay taxes that will be used to advance non-religious (or,
in their view, anti-religious) teachings in which they do not believe. Are
these positions reconcilable? This essay investigates the question and
concludes that they are not. Nor is it a tenable position to hold that
conscience is violated by the use of a citizen’s tax dollars to promote any
beliefs, religious or non-religious, that particular taxpayers reject. So
jurists and scholars would do well to drop the selective and opportunistic
appeal to the ostensible connection between taxes and conscience.
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