You may have noticed less activity hereabouts than usual. Many things are contributing to this, among which are the delights of early summer and the sudden intermittent failure of the ‘b’, ‘n’, and ‘=’ keys on my laptop. But I’m also putting in a lot more of my tax resistance writing energy into finishing off my book and less into the blog.
Meanwhile, here are a few bits and pieces from here and there:
- Vickie Aldrich won her battle with the IRS. You may remember that the agency hit her with a “frivolous filing” penalty for including a letter of protest with her tax return. Since the return itself was filled out correctly and completely, by law she should not have been subject to such a penalty, but the IRS gave her one anyway, in a sort of knee-jerk fashion. The way the agency has gamed the rules, you have to pay the fine before you appeal it, so they’ve got conscientious tax resisters over a barrel. In Aldrich’s case, she got some legal help and managed to get the agency to accept $500 (10% of the fine). But, as I noted , the IRS finally figured out that they were overstepping their bounds by issuing such penalties, and, according to Aldrich, they have refunded her $500 with interest.
- The rolling ball of pundit dung called the
scandal” continues to pick up new residue:
- “The Internal Revenue Service spent $17,000 to hire a speaker who painted pictures of Michael Jordan and U2 singer Bono to motivate employees at a 2010 conference in California, the agency’s inspector general said.”
- That’s the part of that particular scandalette that makes for vivid headlines, but more serious are the allegations that IRS employees skirted the rules when setting up conferences: accepting kickbacks in the form of luxury ($1,500/night) room upgrades and other hotel perks rather than trying to find a low-cost venue.
- The IRS employees involved in these scandals say they are receiving anonymous threats of physical violence, and some of the Cincinnati employees are avoiding the office and working from home.
- It’s unlikely that the agency will find much sympathy in Congress as they appeal for more funding to help fix their dysfunctional and increasingly burdened organization. Take a look at this graph of IRS funding history to see the sort of fix they’re in.
- If you clicked that last link, you’ll see that Congress appropriated $11,190,000,000 to the IRS for this fiscal year. Keep that in mind, oh TEA Party, when you read this article about how the U.S. military spent $20,200,000,000 per year just on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan.