Some links from hither and yon:
- A CoinDesk article on cryptocurrency highlights how tax resisters helped popularize bitcoin: “How Tax Protesters Set Off the Bitcoin Revolution”
- The NWTRCC blog has had a couple of recent articles on “symbolic” tax resistance:
- Scrappy ragtag bands of human rebels continue to inflict casualties on the traffic ticket robot hordes, with recent attacks taking out robot cameras in France, Italy, & Germany, Italy & France, and the U.S., France, & Italy in recent weeks.
- Anabaptist World features a letter from Harold A. Penner urging Mennonites to redirect their war taxes to the Mennonite Church USA Peace Tax Fund.
And here is some more news about the ongoing troubles at the IRS.
- This CNN Business story goes in some depth into how a loose coalition of activists forced the IRS into an embarrassing and costly retreat from its plan to use facial recognition technology to verify the identity of taxpayers using its online account portal.
- This note from the National Taxpayer Advocate gives more details about the IRS plan to stop issuing certain enforcement action notices while it tries to deal with the enormous backlog of unprocessed returns and other correspondence. For example: “If a taxpayer’s account has been assigned to one of the IRS’s automated levy programs (ALPs), the IRS is also suspending the levies made by those programs…” The agency will also not be able to pursue many new levies because in order to do so, it must first send the taxpayer a letter informing them of their right to request a Collection Due Process hearing, and they’ve temporarily stopped the automatic sending of those letters.
- The New York Times took a dive into the woes at the IRS: “Decades of Neglect Leave I.R.S. in Tax Season ‘Chaos’.”
- Politico did the same: “ ‘They went down hard’: IRS’ tax season woes rooted in pandemic, long funding slide.” Excerpt:
Some 53,000 IRS employees are still on remote work — about two-thirds of the agency’s workforce, which an IRS spokesperson characterized as “a maximized telework posture.”
But privacy rules prevent remote processing of the millions of paper tax returns mailed to the IRS, as well as the examination of returns with discrepancies from IRS records, the issuance of refunds and dealing with other taxpayer mail.
- The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University issued a report showing that the IRS audits the poorest American households at five times the rate as the rest.
This seems to be an effect of the agency’s plummeting rate of audits of the well-to-do combined with its increasing use of cheap-and-easy “correspondence audits” against low-income taxpayers who apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
As the National Taxpayer Advocate puts it:
The IRS correspondence audit process is structured to expend the least amount of resources to conduct the largest number of examinations — resulting in the lowest level of customer service to taxpayers having the greatest need for assistance.
- Last Summer, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would have boosted the IRS budget. That bill got bogged down in Congress before anything could come of it. A recent appropriations bill resurrected the IRS budget boost, but pared it way back, so now the agency budget will only rise by 6%. These days that’s hardly enough to keep up with inflation. And the appropriations bill restricts how various parts of the increase can be spent, so some parts of the agency budget — tax enforcement for example — will see even smaller increases.