Our Federal Government has now, officially, “jumped the shark” with this Sequester nonsense.
Just read a story in Politico which reported (with no sense of satire or sarcasm) that the potential budget cuts in the IRS:
“…will most likely translate to fewer specialists on hand to help taxpayers with their returns and to root out fraud — two tasks that watchdog groups say need more, not fewer, hands.”
Oh, the horror!
This just shows how desperate the Obama White House has to be, if they’re willing to trot out the IRS as a reason not to endure the world’s tiniest budget cut (and yes, I know, it’s not even a real “cut”).
The Internal Revenue Service may be the least popular Government Agency in existence. This isn’t entirely their fault: “tax collector” has had a deservedly poor reputation since before the Bible went to press. But I still laughed out loud at the notion we’re supposed to be trembling with anxiety over the IRS’s dilemma. After all, if they really wanted to “root out fraud”, all they’d need to do is walk down the hall, considering how many folks in the White House (and throughout the Federal Government itself) owe back taxes.
Or hadn’t you heard? From Andrew Malcolm back in January of 2012:
A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes.
The IRS’ 2010 delinquent tax revelations come as part of a required annual agency report on federal employees’ tax compliance. Turns out, an awful lot of folks being paid by taxpayers are not paying their own income taxes.
The report finds that thousands of federal employees owe the country more than $3.4 billion in back taxes. That’s up 3% in the past year.
So the IRS mysteriously couldn’t even manage to locate the tax fraud occurring among Obama’s staff and other federal employees, but we’re supposed to be terrified that they won’t have sufficient personnel to “root out fraud” among the non-government proles?
Like they were doing a bang-up job to begin with?
As for the concern that they’ll have fewer specialists on hand to “help” taxpayers with their returns, that’s even funnier. By which I mean, “not funny at all”.
In the article itself they include the following:
Last year, more than 115 million people called the IRS for help; only 68 percent of those who wanted to speak with tax experts actually got through — and only after holding for an average of 17 minutes on phone lines.
One million of the 10 million written inquiries mailed to the IRS last year also did not get a response.
So let’s get this straight: even when fully staffed last year, only two-thirds of the folks in the country who called the IRS for help actually got through. Two-thirds?!? Yeah, that system is just top-notch! Almost 37 MILLION people couldn’t get the IRS …to answer their phone.
37. Million. People.
The only type of entity which could stay in business while providing such spectacularly pathetic customer service is one which has the power to fine or jail you.
Oh, and don’t forget about those 10 million folks who took the time to write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, in the hope of getting some assistance with their tax return: a million of them didn’t get a response, either.
How could anything make these numbers demonstrably worse?
The IRS demands we pay our taxes, but seemingly can’t get their own act together sufficiently to answer phone calls or letters, when all we’re trying to do is figure out their arcane, labyrinthine system and give them our money so we don’t go to prison. Pardon me when I don’t cry over difficulties they may face with their long-overdue, miniscule “budget cuts”.
Our Government has become a sclerotic, hulking comedy-of-errors, and the IRS is just one of a thousand punchlines. And this was prior to their hiring another 16,500 new IRS agents to deal with Obamacare conformity.
Let’s face it: we don’t need to take a Sequester-size ‘scalpel’ to our Federal budget.
We need a guillotine.
Oh this is priceless!!!!! Just priceless!!!
Thanks JTR for my daily dose of belly laughter. (It’s important for my immune system health).
This must be disseminated!
Or “decimated”, Tannngl!
I told this story to Mrs. TurnRight, Pgh.
She almost dropped her coffee on our new carpeting.
She then proceeded to tell me of her last two phone calls (last year) to the IRS.
It was a 48 minute wait, she spoke with half-a-dozen people, and almost NONE of them knew anything…and couldn’t locate someone who did.
Her suggestion? Cut the worst 8% of employees there, and at least the interminable wait on hold MIGHT be worthwhile.
Or use the guillotine.
Glad you enjoyed it, tannngl. Makes the writing MUCH more worthwhile when I think someone is enjoying the effort.
Disseminate away, my friend!!
yah yah I do get excited and just can’t take the time to check spelling. I thought that might be spelled wrong but…
Thanks for correcting Pgh. And thanks for the right to misspell, JTR. I think Twitter caused this lax in spelling.
It certainly isn’t my fault. 😀
Tannngl: Apologies, my friend! I wasn’t commenting on spelling, only that in addition to JTR’s post being disseminated to the masses, the IRS should be “decimated”…..
And for the record, I agree with BOTH thoughts!!
Oh! Didn’t get it at first! Thanks so much for explaining. Yes! both!
And no apologies please, Pgh. You have a good heart.
No prob, tannngl. As Pgh said, he was just “punning” around.
And regardless, when someone DOES occasionally have an obvious misspelling, I try to correct it when/if I see it.
Hey, our place is full-service!!
Well, now, this is a great blog!
Really, your blog is of much value. I am so glad to have found you and your friends.
Even though we have a decent amount of weekly traffic through here, tannngl, you are obviously one of our “core” readers.
Can’t thank you enough for what you add to our place, and for your friendship in general.
My sister and I are in your debt.
I work in the financial world, and can tell you that there should be one more stat: Of those lucky folks who actually got THROUGH to the IRS, how many actually got the help or answer that they sought?
Here’s an example: I had to contact the IRS regarding the language of a certain section in the IRS Tax Guide. It was “vague” to say the least. After spending FORTY FIVE minutes on hold, I was told that they “don’t have a specific answer” to my question. Their suggestion? Just go ahead and do what you are going to do, and after audit, we’ll tell you if it’s illegal. Or, if you want, you can actually REQUEST a “Private Letter Ruling”……at the cost of about $10,000…
Thanks for the help, eh?
Pgh, I am glad to say I now know someone that got through to the IRS.
I was audited (Not something you want to do, trust me, and no it was not moonshine related) once and was asked to call them in my notice letter or face additional fines, fees, judgments, etc.
I finally had to give up and physically go to their office.
So, you still have the moonshine business “off the books”, eh? LOL!
I guess the issue comes down to whether or not you owe THEM $. I did at one point a few years ago, and it felt like a stadium full of IRS folks were tasked with the assignment of hounding me down.
A year later, they owed ME due to an error on their part. THAT took me 3 years to resolve….
It’s a matter of priorities, Pgh:
YOU aren’t a priority.
Your money IS.
I’m still waiting for my 1099 so I can do my taxes which I’m sure will include writing a check. Supposed to have had it no later than the 15th of Feb.
Great post JTR!
Why can we not have the flat tax? It is fair, efficient, simple, “makes sure our wealthiest Americans pay their fair share”, not confusing, and Biblical.
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