How many times have you called the Internal Revenue Service with a tax question only to give up after being on hold for hours? How frustrating is it when the IRS owes you a refund but it takes forever to get your check? Well, help is on the way and some politicians are going berserk about it.
The Biden administration is allotting $80 billion over 10 years to bring the IRS up to date. Its technology is dated and it’s way understaffed. To me, fixing this is a good thing. Those calls might actually get answered and those refunds sent out promptly.
And yet, conservative politicians and their minions are acting like this money is going to jack-booted thugs who will be coming to your house to shake you down. Ridiculous.
Sure, some of the billions will go to new agents, which will allow the IRS to do a more thorough job examining returns in an attempt to find errors, intentional or accidental. The charges from the right on this are that these new hires will specifically target the middle-class taxpayer. I sincerely doubt this under the principle verbalized by Willie Sutton, who when asked why he robbed banks said, “Because that’s where the money is.” The more likely scenario is the new IRS employees will more carefully examine the tax returns of the wealthy who hire lawyers to try to avoid taxation, because that’s where the money is.
But let’s get back to the paranoia about the IRS. If you don’t cheat on your taxes, you really don’t have a need to worry. Sure, an audit can be a hassle, but if you are honest, you’ll be fine. And if this extra IRS workforce catches tax cheaters, isn’t that a good thing?
Remember when hotelier Leona Helmsley said “Only little people pay taxes” shortly before she was led off to jail? As a “little” person, I want everybody to pay their fair share, don’t you?
Of course, this whole argument could become moot if we simplified the tax code, which virtually every politician in my lifetime has pledged to do. How about a national flat tax with no exemptions? Special interests will scream their heads off so it’s not likely to happen, but it would make the process of raising government revenue much simpler. Or what about a national sales tax instead of an income tax? Rich people buy more expensive things, therefore they would pay more tax. Liberals would erupt about how unfair this would be for the poor. It really wouldn’t be unfair, but as we know, facts don’t matter much in political debate.
Bottom line: If you are an honest American taxpayer, fear not the additional IRS employees. If you are an American taxpayer who cheats on taxes, then do be worried. You should be. You have been cheating the rest of us. End of sermon.
Now, because talking about taxes is not much fun, let me end on a lighter and completely unrelated note. My wife and I went to a Rays game recently at Tropicana Field. She decided she would love some germ-fighting vitamin C in the form of delicious orange juice. She was told that Tropicana Field doesn’t sell orange juice. Hmmmm …