The IRS is not the most popular government agency. This is not news. What is a developing problem is more and more people feel that reacting to the Service through with violence is somehow an acceptable option. Can we expect another lunatic to fly a plane into a building? Hard to say. But Joe Kristan did warn us about this.
And now the Treasury Inspector General has informed Tim Geithner that this will be one of the “challenges” the Service can expect in the new year:
In addition to safeguarding a vast amount of sensitive financial and personal data, the IRS must also protect approximately 100,000 employees and more than 700 facilities throughout the country. Attacks and threats against IRS employees and facilities have risen steadily in recent years.
The February 2010 attack on an IRS facility in Austin, Texas, is a stark reminder of the dangers that IRS employees face every day in trying to perform their jobs. Animosity towards the tax collection process is nothing new, but the Austin incident and other recent events point to a surge of hostility towards the Federal Government. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the militia movement has almost quadrupled in size in the past two years, growing to more than 200 groups across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that anti-government and hate groups have grown from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, a 244 percent increase. The ongoing public debate regarding the recently enacted health care legislation may also lead to increased threats against IRS employees and facilities, underscoring the need for continuing vigilance in the area of physical security.
It’s good to know that our country is filled with so many level-headed folks that creating hate groups has become a relatively popular thing to do.
• Record Numbers of People Paying No Income Tax; Over 50 Million “Nonpayers” Include Families Making over $50,000 [Tax Foundation via TaxProf Blog]
For all the bellyaching Americans do about taxes, a large portion of them have managed to turn “Tax Day into a payday.” What the hell does that mean? It means that a growing number of people are considered to be “nonpayers” or people that get back every dollar withheld on their paycheck.
Sounds great, right? It’s my money, F the government, etc, etc. Well, the Tax Foundation is a little concerned because as the federal budget continues to grow, the income tax system becomes a less effective method of financing expenditures:
“[R]ecently released IRS data for the 2008 tax year show that a record 51.6 million filers had no income tax obligation. That means more than 36 percent of all Americans who filed a tax return for 2008 were nonpayers, raising serious doubts about the ability of the income tax system to continue funding the federal government’s ballooning expenditures.”
The Foundation concludes that if the trend of credits continues, the more people will get used to the idea that their refund from the Feds is annual windfall rather than an even greater inefficient government. “As the number of refundable tax credits continues to grow, more and more tax filers are seeing the IRS as a source of income, not something to which taxes are paid.”
• Eye Opener: Threats against IRS workers continue [Federal Eye/WaPo]
Despite so many people being “nonpayers” people still hate on the IRS, as we’ve covered. And actually, the IRS is okay with that. It’s expected:
“It would be a little naïve to think that we don’t get some threats over the course of doing business,” said IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons.
Perhaps it would be naïve but there seems to be shit going down every week. When does the ‘over the course of doing business’ become “day-to-day challenges that we deal with”?
• House Passes Chile Earthquake Donations Bill [Web CPA]
Yesterday, the House approved the extension of the deadline for donations made to victims of the earthquake in Chile, to considerable less fanfare than the Haiti bill from back in January. Presumably, Congress is under the impression that voters aren’t that concerned about what goes on in the southern hemisphere, thus the need for grandstanding on this issue isn’t needed.
The bill, sponsored by new Ways & Means Chair Sander Levin (D-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI), would allow donations made through April 15, 2010 to be included on your 2009 tax return.