Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Is the Internal Revenue Service inevitable?

I’ve often discussed the IRS’s ideologically motivated harassment of taxpayers as fostered by Lois “I Took the Fifth” Lerner (e.g., here and here and here and here). But typical nonpartisan forms of IRS harassment are also deplorable.

Consider the so-called “practice” audit, to which blogger Philip Hamburger was once subjected.

In any field, employees may presumably be sicced on a person primarily for training purposes. If you’re a new Spanish Inquisition employee, maybe you’re given somebody to flay and strangle not because he’s particularly heretical but just so you can hone the torture techniques. Seems wrong; but, you know, people have to be trained.

Same thing at IRS. Taxpayers sometimes get audited just so the new guy can fine-tune making taxpayers sweat over each deduction.

It’s why Hamburger got audited. When an IRS supervisor admitted that there was no problem with his small charitable deduction, that the point was only to enable an (absent) agent to practice auditing, our humble taxpayer almost blew up. Fortunately, his accountant intervened to ask, simply, whether the matter was now therefore closed. Yes, it was.

Year in, year out, the IRS causes millions of us to waste time and energy and to suffer angst thanks to the agency’s sundry demands. Solution: shut it down. No law of nature ordains that our income be federally taxed, and until 1913 it mostly wasn’t.

What prevents such urgently needed reform is only politics, not physics.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. JFB says:

    Given the level of income taxation, the ever more complex exemptions and exclusions, and the current calls for class warfare by the politicians and pundits, “voluntary” compliance is very doubtful without the threat of an audit and draconian penalties.
    Your call to drop the income tax, while the only practical answer, will never be heeded, indeed it will be dismissed as “not pragmatic” when the continuation of the present quagmire is the least truly pragmatic alternative.

  2. Rick says:

    The threat is everpresent because of the basic computer efficiency of the IRS.. Throw in a few political asterisks and there you have it! A date with the IRS.

    OT: Does anybody believe our whole foreign policy should be altered because one Brit and one American (tragically) got beheaded by being in Iraq, Syria or wherever?

    Further OT: Are you feeling abandoned by Rand Paul’s apparent swerve to the middle of the road?

  3. Rick says:

    OT Nigel Farage with a Euroskeptic’c(UKIP) view of EU foreign policy:

    Nigel is leading the euroskeptic movement in UK which is exactly why David Cameron is in political hot water and needs to pound war drums & shame Scotland into staying in UK.

  4. david says:

    A national sales tax such as the Fair Tax is about the only viable alternative to an income tax and like would be the best approach. Take away the power from the IRS and make paying taxes a passive not an aggressive activity. take the power away from the government forever.

  5. Drik says:

    When they put that Amendment forth in 1913, income was viewed as different from wages. Not the same. Back then, the congressmen were held more accountable and they did not think their constituency would ever tolerate having taxes apply to the majority of the electorate.

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