The disturbing testimony before Congress demonstrates the error in allowing the IRS to remain a self-governing body. The checks and balances that are in place for many other governmental bodies either do not exist for the IRS or are done “in house.” What is wrong with this picture? All of the controls that should be in place to catch rogue agents are exercised by those same agents’ superiors. Should the emphasis of the IRS be placed on recovering the largest amount of lost tax revenue, or should it be the blind enforcement of our existing tax code? Even the appeals process through which a taxpayer must go in order to resolve tax deficiencies is done within the IRS unless the taxpayer requests to take their argument to a US District Court. It should not be a surprise that the IRS does some of the things that they do, “they write their own rules.”
What do we do about it? We can vote for tax reform in upcoming elections. We can e-mail our Congressional representatives with our concern for a system that is out of control. But in the meantime, we believe that it is important to stay current on tax law, and pick your fights with the IRS carefully. We know what kinds of things the IRS has a history of challenging, and so we advise our clients where they need to be most careful in preparing their tax returns.