Some links that have graced my browser tabs in recent days:
- The New York Times, in a sidebar to an article about the private debt collection agencies that have been recently deputized by the IRS to go after tax debts, linked to some of the scripts those debt collectors will be using when they call people up to try to get them to fork over money.
- The IRS has launched a “view your tax account” service. If you’re a resister and want to keep an eye on how much money they’re after you for, this is a convenient way to do it. This service supplements the agency’s “Get Transcript” service, with which you can get more detailed information about your account, your past filings, IRS actions taken with regards to your account, and what it knows about your income sources.
- William Howarth writes about Reading Thoreau at 200 in The American Scholar.
- A look back at the women’s suffrage movement in Essex includes this note about the Women’s Tax Resistance League:
In , a “Sale of Suffragette’s Goods at Southend” made the headlines when the first public auction of goods seized by bailiffs in default of payment of the ‘king’s taxes’ by a local suffragette took place.
The suffragette in question was a Mrs Rosina Sky. A member of the Southend and Westcliff branch of the WSPU and of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, Mrs Sky had refused to pay £5 tax, as required by law. As a result a “quantity of silver goods” were taken from her home in Cliff Town Road and sold at a public auction.
The Southend Standard intimated how this form of passive resistance was beginning to work. The article described how the auction chairman was happy to allow a pro suffragette representative, a ‘Mrs Kineton-Parkes’, to take to the stage to speak in Mrs Sky’s favour, saying “taxation and representation must go together.”
“Mrs Sky has paid her taxes for over 20 years and fulfilled loyally every duty of a citizen,” the auction was told. Half a dozen silver dessert spoons and some other silverware were sold off to a member of the public sympathetic to Mrs Sky’s cause, meaning the entire lot did not need to go under the hammer and could be returned to her.
Following the auction, according to the newspaper, a crowd — made up of members of the public who had attended the auction as well as representatives of the WSPU and the WTRL — marched along Southchurch Road to Southend Technical Colleges where more speeches were held. The article reported how “a lot of chaff being indulged the while” as the protesters made their way through the streets.
- Here’s another example of a suspicious package shutting down an IRS building, this time in Austin. Sounds like it was a false positive triggered by an overcautious dog on bomb-sniffing duty. In a separate incident in Philadelphia, several employees “suffer[ed] eye irritation” when they “came in contact with a wet envelope that had a sweet smell” — so that sounds more serious.
- The IRS told tax preparers they would have to get identification numbers — PTINs — so the agency could keep track of them. Then it told them they would have to buy these numbers from the agency at $64 a pop. Some preparers sued, saying this amounted to the IRS inventing its own tax to fund itself, without going through Congress for legally-authorized funding. The judge hearing the suit agreed and said that not only were the fees illegal, but that the agency would have to fully refund the estimated $175–300 million it has collected from selling the numbers so far. That’s about 1½–2½% of the agency’s annual budget.