As we learn more about the recent IRS scandal, it appears that it was not limited to low-level employees in Cincinnati. Top IRS officials in Washington may have known what was going on as far back 2011. Although the president has promised a full investigation into the matter, much of the damage has already been done. An alleged criminal who successfully defends himself in court is still sullied by the criminal trial itself. Likewise, even if the IRS is successful in explaining away some of the accusations of political bias, there are many individual taxpayers who will have already lost faith in the IRS.
When people ask me about interacting with the IRS, I tend to speak very bluntly about the adversarial relationship; that the IRS is not on their side in looking for tax relief and that their one goal is to collect as much money from them as legally possible. However, I stop short of saying that the IRS will cheat people out of the money they have earned or that they will treat some groups or people differently, even though I know for sure that it’s not out of the question. No doubt this scandal raises some serious questions for the average taxpayer:
“If high-level IRS administrators will not deal fairly and neutrally with all taxpayers, or will turn a blind eye to bias, then why couldn’t it just as easily (or even more easily) happen with regard to my own individual taxes?”
“If the IRS will not administer the tax laws fairly and neutrally, then why am I even paying?”