To some, this may sound too harsh. For others, it’s no surprise at all. As for me, I just wish it wasn’t so. Whichever angle you view it from, however, I think the conclusion is inescapable: the IRS cannot be trusted to not mishandle the information they collect from taxpayers.
Why do I say that? Because it has now been documented that IRS employees used personal (non-government) email accounts to send confidential taxpayer information. This is, as I understand it, a direct violation of federal law, as well as IRS policy.
Why is that a big deal? Emails sent through government accounts are automatically archived (as has been finally borne out in the case of IRS employee Lois Lerner, despite initial denials). This makes it possible to track and reconstruct the handling of taxpayer information. Sending such information through non-government emails avoids those internal controls.
And that’s exactly the point. Why would IRS employees send taxpayer information in private emails, if not to evade detection of what they were doing?
The source of this information is a letter (PDF) from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the IRS dated September 30, 2013.
Unbeknownst to me, Coyote posted about it the same day I did last week.
Several days ago I wrote a post linking to comments by the Commissioner of the IRS predicting a miserable tax filing season coming up because they don’t have enough money to hire enough people to answer the phone. I pointed out that they seem to have enough money to give bonuses of cash and time off to employees who don’t pay their taxes.
I should have also noted that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, adopted by the IRS less than six months ago, lists as right #2: “The Right to Quality Service.” That promise is no longer operative, I guess.
Some promises seem to have a pretty limited shelf life these days. Or as the Instapundit puts it, they seem to always have an expiration date.
Over a year ago I wrote in my monthly newsletter (you’ll find all of my newsletters under the publications tab at deconcinimddonald.com) about the “rain tax” imposed in Maryland, the stated purpose of which was to remediate pollution of Chesapeake Bay from stormwater runoff.
I predicted then that churches might be particularly negatively impacted, since their facilities will typically have lots of impervious surfaces, which is the category of property improvement that is subjected to the tax.
Now comes word that apparently, some churches are getting special dispensations (i.e. a break on the tax) if they educate their parishioners about the need to be “good stewards.” I’m not making this up. It’s in the Washington Post.
I haven’t really tried to analyze it, but somehow the idea of giving churches a tax break based on the content of their messages to their members just doesn’t sound right.
Via PJ Media.
FOLLOW-UP ON THE ATTEMPTED THEFT BY DEED STORY – THIEF SHOULD BE EVICTED BY NOW (FINALLY)
Nearly a month ago I wrote about a thief who recorded a fraudulent deed to an unoccupied house, then removed the owner’s belongings and moved in. The thief was arrested and charged with grand larceny, but the owner was still fighting to recover possession of the house.
The story seems to have come to a just ending. According to the latest newspaper story, the thief actually posted bail after his arrest, went right back to the house, and filed an emergency request for a stay of eviction.
A Queens Housing Court Judge has apparently put an end to the scam, however. The judge has entered an eviction order, to be enforced by the sheriff if the thief and his entourage aren’t out in ten days.
I will link to two good responses to it, at Overlawyered and Simple Justice.
Both of them discuss a story Krugman tells, claiming that a town clerk “fixed” an erroneous description in the deed to his parents’ property, and point out that the story is, to put it charitably, not plausible.
What, you mean, worse than usual?
Apparently, yes, because, according to the IRS Commissioner, they don’t have enough money to hire enough people to answer the telephones.
Yet they are able to give bonuses of cash and time off to employees who don’t pay their own taxes.
IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED, A VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD EXPLANATION OF THE LAW OF RESTITUTION
In a post on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law provides a plain, understandable explanation of the law of restitution that applies when a person misappropriates someone else’s property. He has also written a book on the subject.
THE AMAZING THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT NORTH CAROLINA’S FOOTBALL TEAM ISN’T EVEN ANY GOOD
I probably shouldn’t joke about it like that, but I just could not resist. The report discussed in this Washington Post article reveals an amazing pattern of academic fraud at a major university, one that goes way beyond keeping football and basketball players academically eligible.
Since it goes way beyond athletics, it blows the doors off my favorite scandal of all time. Just Google Free Shoes U. They will never live that one down.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.