Citizen Misconduct Complaints Against I.R.S. Workers Deter Agency

’s New York Times has some more information about the new health savings accounts and how they’re going to be administered (“Insurers Ready to Sell Medical Savings Accounts”) — although I’m still searching for a California company that offers them.

The Times also has news about a form of civil disobedience being practiced by some tax protesters:

Nearly 2,000 bogus misconduct complaints against Internal Revenue Service agents were filed as part of a long-running fraud by a group that calls itself a Christian ministry to obstruct the federal income tax laws.…

The Justice Department said the false complaints were made to intimidate tax agents. The complaints cited the I.R.S. Reform and Restructuring Act, which requires the firing of tax agency workers who commit improper acts.…

Since the law was passed, I.R.S. auditors, supervisors and lawyers have repeatedly complained about false complaints. Some agents have said that their supervisors ordered them to back off from audits or collection efforts in the face of threats, just to avoid investigations by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

Martin Kelley over at hosts a debate about whether or not phone tax resistance is a worthwhile thing to promote.

He titled his original post “Recycling Dead Horses”, and concluded:

Back in the sixties, a bunch of radical pacifists jumped on the phone tax resistance and haven’t been able to let go in all this time. So why this clinging to phone taxes as a way of protesting war? I assume everyone likes it is because it’s safe. For those reasons it’s also entirely symbolic and almost completely meaningless.

Can’t we come up with new tactics? When will we be able to leave the Vietnam War to the historians and just move on? Many people think the old-line peace movement is a bunch of aging hippies; with campaigns like this, we kinda prove them right. Let’s brainstorm some new actions!

Robert Randall responds, saying:

I’m all for coming up with new tactics, and I think a lot of people have been doing just that. This doesn’t mean, though, that we have to leave old tactics behind if they can serve us. Nor should we assume that old tactics are not new tactics for some.

He says that phone tax resistance had become more complex in recent years because the number of phone companies had increased and there was no consistency in how they reacted to phone tax resistance. For this reason, phone tax resistance lost its appeal as an easy first step to war tax resistance, and people stopped promoting it.

Now, though, we have the possibility, through a large phone tax redirection campaign and the Internet, to learn and gather together the how-to-do-it information on all these different phone services.

The project has a long way to go before it has enough momentum to matter. Since the Hang Up On War campaign launched it has attracted a whole 68 signatories (as of ).