Jan 30, 2006
The Internal Revenue Service’s own taxpayer advocate, Nina Olson, denounced the IRS for freezing the tax refunds of 1.6 million taxpayers over the last five years. These were some of the poorest taxpayers. Their average income was a tiny $13,000 a year. The refunds the IRS held back averaged $3,500. The taxpayers weren’t notified their refunds were being held up and investigated. No, they had to realize something was wrong and then go through the government bureaucracy to find out what happened. Many didn’t. But for those who did, it took an average of eight months to get their money.
The IRS tagged these people’s returns with a computer program, saying they were suspected of fraud. The taxpayer advocate said, far from being fraudulent, 80% of the taxpayers whose refunds were held back were owed money. Even of the returns the IRS labeled “conclusively” fraudulent, almost half of these refund requests were legitimate. Finally, according to the taxpayer advocate, most of the requests for illegitimate refunds were due to honest error rather than fraud. Anyone who has tried to fill out an IRS form knows how easily this can be the case.
The U.S. Congress is spending a whopping 875 million dollars a year on this IRS program – and for what? To investigate tax returns of only the poorest tax filers. These are the working poor with children, whom the U.S. government robs of their refunds year after year.
Meanwhile, the government does everything it can to facilitate robbery by hundreds of thousands of businessmen who under-report their income. And the IRS performs very few audits of the biggest corporations, which consistently lie on their tax returns, knowing they won’t be caught. To add insult to injury, the government then gives them subsidies – paid for out of the taxes we pay!
The IRS perfectly reflects this capitalist society it serves.