The taxman puts his hands in our pockets. But it’s one thing to reach into our bank accounts and take our money, it is quite another when governments engage in different kind of overreach, where they go beyond the rule of law and just start pushing people around.
Take the case of Sabina Loving and Elmer Killian.
The Institute for Justice has.
These plaintiffs are suing the IRS because that bureau of plunderers has ruled that Ms. Loving and Mr. Killian — who provide tax preparation services — must be regulated and schooled and certified by the IRS itself. The IRS says that these independent tax preparers (independent in that they are not part of big businesses) can’t just offer their services on the market, they must undergo an expensive annual education and certification process.
The overreach part is that the IRS has no statutory authority to regulate these businesses. Congress rejected precisely such regulation back in 2008. So the clever kleptocrats now argue that a pre-IRS law hailing from way back in 1884 authorizes their regulatory powers.
But that law doesn’t even deal with representatives of folks who owe the government money. It deals with representatives of people owed money by the federal government.
“You will be as shocked as Captain Renault to learn that big tax-prep companies — H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty — all support the new regulations,” writes A. Barton Hinkle in Reason magazine, “for the same reason big tobacco companies go after roll-your-own smoke shops: It’s in their interest to stifle low-cost competitors.”
Like Ms. Loving and Mr. Killian.
As we prepare our tax returns in the next several weeks leading up to April’s filing day, perhaps we should burn a little incense along with our midnight oil in support of the plaintiffs and the Institute for Justice. For, really, they are fighting for us, too — eternal vigilance and all.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.