Skip to comments.The “National Taxpayer Advocate” at the IRS Is Advocating for the Government, not Taxpayers
Posted on 01/11/2013 12:11:49 PM PST by Kaslin
Im not a big fan of the Internal Revenue Service, though I try to make sure that politicians get much of the blame for Americas convoluted, punitive, and unfair tax code.
Heck, just look at these three images here, here, and here and youll find startling evidence that politicians make the tax system worse with each passing year.
But there is an office at the IRS that ostensibly exists to defend the interests of taxpayers. The Taxpayer Advocate Service, according to the government website, an independent organization within the IRS and helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent the problems. The head of this office, Nina Olson, has the title of National Taxpayer Advocate.
Sounds good, right?
Well, not so fast. The TAS does some good things, but Ms. Olson spends at least part of her time advocating for the government.
The TAS just released its annual report, and heres some of what the bureaucracy recommended, according to a Bloomberg story.
Among the other problems Olson identifies in the report are the underfunding of the Internal Revenue Service The IRS, which Olson compares to the accounts receivable department of a company, should be fenced off from more budget cuts by Congress, she writes in the report.
Dont rub your eyes or clean your glasses. You read correctly. The folks at the IRS who supposedly are advocating for you are instead advocating for a bigger IRS budget.
I debunked this silly argument last year, explaining why Congress should reject the Obama Administrations assertion that more money for the IRS would be an investment that would yield big returns.
But I want to be fair. Some of what the TAS does is worth applauding. The report also discusses the grotesque levels of complexity in the code. Heres more of the Bloomberg story.
The U.S. tax systems most serious problem is the 4-million-word codes excessive complexity that makes it tough for taxpayers to comply with and difficult for the government to administer, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson wrote in an annual report to Congress. The tax code cost taxpayers and businesses $168 billion in compliance in 2010 Lowering rates in exchange for broadening the tax base would be an excellent bargain, says the report, released today in Washington. We are confident that in the end, public support for a simpler code will be strong and deep.
The TAS also produced this very depressing infographic (click to enlarge). Its absolutely disgraceful that complying with the tax code requires the equivalent of 3 million full-time workers. Its a vast understatement to call this a counterproductive misallocation of labor.
Or how about the fact that just the guidance for the income tax, when printed out, creates a stack of paper more than 12 inches high? And what about the nauseating little tidbit that the tax code has been changed more than once per day since 2001?
No wonder its such a corrupt mess. Isnt it time we rip up the entire tax code and put in place something simple and fair like a flat tax? Heres my case for real tax reform.
By the way, Im also more than willing to replace the tax code with a national sales tax, perhaps something like the Fair Tax. Ive given speeches, testified to Congress, appeared on TV, and done all sorts of things to promote that idea.
But the one huge caveat is that we need to make sure that the politicians dont pull a bait and switch and stick us with both an income tax and national sales tax. Which is what happened in Europe when governments implemented the value-added tax without repealing income taxes.
Thats why we would first need to get rid of the income tax and repeal the 16th Amendment. But then, because I dont trust the Supreme Court (gee, I wonder why?), I would also want to replace the 16th Amendment with new language that would be so ironclad that even Chief Justice John Roberts couldnt fabricate reasons why an income tax could ever return to plague the nation.
But since we cant even get the votes to approve a watered-down balanced budget amendment, Im not holding my breath for the day that the Constitution is amended to permanently kill the income tax.
And thats why I think the flat tax is a safer option.
The worst thing that happens if we get a flat tax is that politicians change their mind and we degenerate back to the current system.
The worst thing that happens if we get a national sales tax is that politicians forget to eliminate the income tax, we wind up with both, and become France.
If a foreign power came in and imposed this byzantine tax code that we have, it would be more than looked at as an act of war ! Bad enough yo have to pay money in taxes but you have to do busy work to get the right number and avoid getting put under a microscope. Best yet, sh*tcan the 16th amendment but short term, sh*tcan the whole tax code and go with Dick Armey’s flat tax he proposed back in the 1990s.
I was unaware we had an IRS “National Taxpayer Advocate”. That’s some Orwellian shite right there.
“Thats some Orwellian shite right there. “
Say do you actually think he’s a Muslim? I find that rather preposterous. I peg him as an atheist.
No, I was just joking (couldn’t pass up the pun). He probably practiced more Islam than any other religion prior to arriving in Chicago and joining the most anti-Anerican “Christian” church he could find, but I don’t think he practices any particular religion.