YOUR OPINION: Attacking the tax collector

Bill Gerling, Jefferson City

Dear Editor,

For some people, the tax collection agency has always been easy to vilify because they take your hard-earned money for public use.

The latest opportunity for wickedness was the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which will earmark $80 billion in internal revenue over 10 years. A social media post said anyone applying for an Internal Revenue job had to be armed and prepared to use deadly force. Only about 2.3% of tax agents are equipped to fight financial crimes such as money laundering, identity theft, schemes, gambling, tax evasion, healthcare fraud and public corruption. Al Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion and not for his other crimes. The agency is transparent about its expectation that special agents be armed in their job postings.

Due to budget cuts, the Internal Revenue lost 22% of its employees between 2008 and 2018. The number of people in execution decreased by 30%. The number of audits fell from 18.4% to 6.7% on tax returns over $10 million and those of $20 billion companies fell by half. The IRA will give Internal Revenue the resources to audit some of these very wealthy filers and multi-billion dollar companies. No family earning less than $400,000 will pay a penny more in taxes, as Treasury officials have assured. The goal is also to hire more people to help the public with tax matters. Most of the monetary increase will be used to hire auditors, technicians and support staff. As of last month, there were still 10.2 million unprocessed declarations. In addition, the Internal Revenue will upgrade its computer system which still uses COBOL since the 1960s. In addition, the Internal Revenue will have to replace two-thirds of its workforce over the next 10 years due mainly retirements.

In addition to collecting taxes, Congress depends on them to deliver benefits like pandemic relief, health care subsidies, repayable credits like child care and wage subsidies.

Republican Senator Grassley of Iowa said an IRS agent armed with an AR-15 might be ready to shoot a small business operator. His goal is to score political points as he is a candidate for re-election. He did not vote for the Cut Inflation Act, even though his constituents will benefit by capping the cost of insulin and negotiating prices with drug companies.

Esther L. Steinbach