Why is it so fun to hear about IRS employees cheating the system from the inside? Every warm-blooded taxpayer gets some kind of morbid satisfaction from the irony of these stories: the tax man, charged with the responsibility of enforcing the tax laws to a tee and collecting every last dime from others, bends and/or ignores the rules when it comes to his own tax obligations. The same person who issues a wage garnishment on Christmas Eve lacks the integrity to pay his own fair share.
This week we have been treated to two such stories.
One is the story of Domeen Flowers, a 48-year-old former IRS mail clerk who allegedly abused her access to taxpayer records, stealing several identities which she used to apply for credit cards. Good luck cracking down on identity theft, TIGTA and Commissioner Doug, if you can’t even keep good tabs on your own.
The other story involves Jacynthia Quinn, an IRS veteran of 30 years, who appears to have doctored receipts and bills in an attempt to substantiate her $95,000 in deductions (of which only $215 was allowed). Her response: she didn’t know she would be required to provide proof of her deductions! And Quinn was no mail clerk; she knew the rules and wilfully violated them.
One of the big barriers to voluntary compliance in other countries is corruption and distrust of the system. It’s nowhere near as rampant here as it is in countries like Italy or Greece, but these tax crimes by IRS insiders can’t be good for the IRS’ image.