IRS Above the Law!
Monday, January 7th, 2019 @ 8:22PM
It’s tax season again, a perfect time to remind America’s taxpayers that “poor management is not a crime,” well if you’re an IRS employee anyway.
It’s been a little over 3 years since Lois Lerner, the former director of the exempt organizations unit of the IRS has been in the public light.
The aftermath of the Department of Justice’s discontinuation of Lerner’s criminal investigation has left the American people with the notion that the IRS is above the law, but just how high in the sky are they?
According to the DOJ, in their probe of the IRS targeting scandal, Lerner was let off the hook because “poor management is not a crime.”
When They Come For You
If we were to juxtapose the IRS’s get out of jail free card, with any one of the common reasons the IRS civilly and criminally penalizes the American taxpayer, would it hold up.
In the case of Lerner, the DOJ itself admitted the IRS targeting scandal was grounded in the disproportionate clamp down on conservative groups. Prior to this, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the targeting began when the exempt organization unit at the IRS began explicitly searching for applications
with the names “Tea Party” or “patriot” or “political sounding names” with conservative slogans used as examples. These applications were selected for special review in which all discovered applications were put under a microscope for technical violations and essentially frozen. During the period of 2010 to 2012, only four were approved with conservative buzzwords in their title, while several dozen groups with liberal buzzwords were approved.
Corruption and malfeasance in office seems immediately apparent, what the investigation could not come up with is an admission of intent, without an admission of guilt; Lerner can’t be prosecuted, because all these actions are merely “poor management” which is according to the DOJ #8220;not a crime.”
Right off the bat, the tax code is known to be legendary in its ability to confuse and mislead taxpayers into incompletely, improperly and/or inaccurately filing and maintaining records.
The penalties for failing to file a form in the exact way the IRS may interpret it can incur penalties that range from civil to criminal. If you file the right form(s) and pay all the taxes, but the form(s) are not completed to the IRS’s liking, you are subject to an additional array of penalties.
Tax management gets exponentially more complicated the more financially complex your life is. Just filing a simple 1040 accurately is complicated for the average American. Many fail to understand the complicated bureaucratic jargon that litters just this single form and pay tax preparation services to do the legwork instead.
Given the complexity of the tax code, “poor management” should be the first expectation for incomplete, improper, and inaccurate filing with the IRS. When the IRS sends the Department of Justice to prosecute you, do you believe “poor management is not a crime” will hold up for you?
What about your papers?
Not keeping complete financial records merits its own penalties, fortunately the IRS limits this to just 3 years of maintenance, but this comes with a laundry list of exceptions, the most interesting of which is that if you believe you paid the correct amount but the IRS alleges otherwise, you are then legally required to have maintained six years of records to prove otherwise, and if there is suspicion that this underpayment is intentional the record maintenance requirement is indefinite. But just where are Lerner’s records? According to the IRS there are an estimated 24,000 e-mails from 2009 to 2011 considered lost. In addition to this, all of Lerner’s computer records are unrecoverable after a purported hard drive crash.
Failure to maintain and produce legally required records is typically obstruction of justice, but for Lerner it is merely “poor management.” When the IRS comes for the entirety of your records from 2013, do you believe “poor management is not a crime” will hold up for you?