July 22, 2018

Constitutionally Challenged

Apparently, Referring to a Taxpayer as ‘Constitutionally Challenged’ Is Frowned Upon

I gotta plead on ignorance on this one; it sounds perfectly PC to me. Some Internal Revenue Service employees continue to use the term “tax protester” to refer to taxpayers despite a 1998 law prohibiting the use of the designation, according to a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. TIGTA found that […]

The TIGTA Would Prefer It if the IRS Could Use a Nicer Term Than “Tax Protester”

Back in 1998 when some of you were just starting your careers, some of you were discovering alcohol and some of you still hadn’t hit puberty, Congress enacted the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98). In Section 3707 of this piece of legislative ingenuity, the IRS is prohibited from using the term “illegal tax protesters or any similar designations.”

Why no name calling? The TIGTA claims it “may stigmatize taxpayers and may cause employee bias in future contacts with these taxpayers.” Plus, it really hurst people’s feelings.


This latest edition of government-mandated IRS bashing especially seems like a stretch since this “problem” of calling a spade a spade isn’t that widespread:

We found that, out of approximately 80.6 million records and cases, there were 196 instances in which employees had labeled taxpayers as “Tax Protester,” “Constitutionally Challenged,” or other similar designations in case narratives on the following computer systems during the period of October 2008 through September 2009[.]

For starters, “Constitutionally Challenged” sounds like something you might apply to a Tea Party member. Secondly, you can do the math on the 196 instances out of 80-odd million but the concern on the part of the Inspector General might be overblown.

Luckily for us citizens, we can throw around any term we want with reckless abandon and there’s no repercussions. That being said, the TIGTA didn’t make any recommendations to the IRS on how to curb the usage of axtay rotestorpay and the IRS didn’t buy the Inspector’s story that the 196 instances were, in fact, violations. So, if you’ve come to the conclusion that this TIGTA report was the biggest waste of time and tax dollars in the history of the Treasury Department, you probably wouldn’t be far off.