Some bits and pieces from here and there:
- Tax Day has come and gone, and NWTRCC is collecting a list of war tax resistance actions that happened on or around that day. Here’s a photo of Juanita Nelson holding her “Haven’t Paid Taxes Since 1948” sign in front of the Brattleboro post office on Tax Day.
- The Chief Counsel of the IRS Criminal Tax Division issued something called a Search Warrant Handbook to give its Criminal Investigation personnel with guidance about when they need search warrants to do their investigations.
The Handbook stated:
[T]he Fourth Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution, governing searches and seizures] does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.
[E]mails and other transmissions generally lose their reasonable expectation of privacy and thus their Fourth Amendment protection once they have been sent from an individual’s computer.
When the ACLU exposed these policies, there was a bit of an uproar. The agency didn’t help matters much by issuing a non-denial denial:
Respecting taxpayer rights and taxpayer privacy are cornerstone principles for the IRS. Our job is to administer the nation’s tax laws, and we do so in a way that follows the law and treats taxpayers with respect. Contrary to some suggestions, the IRS does not use emails to target taxpayers. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.
- The IRS is also catching flak for its ineptitude in dealing with identity theft. The USA Today editorial board concluded that “the crooks appear to be one step ahead of the IRS” as the IRS has responded to the growing problem by expanding its bureaucracy in a way that made things more complicated without making it more effective. In one example, a study of 17 people who had filed identity theft complaints with the IRS showed that the agency had responded by opening 58 distinct and uncoordinated cases in its myriad subunits in response.
- None of this is coming at a convenient time for the tax agency. The acting Commissioner, Steven Miller, recently appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to beg them not to cut the IRS budget any more. Miller “explained that the budget cuts that the IRS must make on account of sequestration will reduce IRS enforcement levels. In the short-term, revenue will drop because the number of audits will drop and collection activity will decline. In the long-term, the diminishing presence of the IRS will cause the voluntary compliance rate to drop, further reducing revenue.”
- Harriet Bicksler wrote an interesting piece — “Gambling on the Rapture” — about her on-again/off-again experiments with war tax resistance.
- The Mesa de Enlace Agropecuaria (Agricultural Liaison Bureau) in Argentina met in Santa Fe to decry encroaching “Marxism and Chavezism” in the country, and to call for tax resistance: “pay no taxes until June so the government cannot pay the bonuses and treat itself to a good time.”
- The American Enterprise Institute has issued a new edition of their useful compendium of poll results: Public Opinion on Taxes: .