Column: IRS gets more staff. Good! | Opinion


How many times have you called the Internal Revenue Service with a tax question to drop after being put on hold for hours? How frustrating is it when the IRS owes you a refund but it takes forever to get your check? Well, help is on the way and some politicians are going crazy.

The Biden administration is allocating $80 billion over 10 years to update the IRS. Its technology is dated and it is understaffed. For me, fixing that is a good thing. Those calls might actually get answered and those refunds sent quickly.

And yet, Conservative politicians and their minions act as if that money is going to booted thugs who will come to your house to shake you down. Ridiculous.

Of course, some of the billions will go to new agents, allowing the IRS to do a more thorough job of reviewing returns for errors, whether intentional or accidental. Charges from the right about this are that these new hires will specifically target the middle class taxpayer. I sincerely doubt it under the principle verbalized by Willie Sutton, who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” The more likely scenario is that new IRS employees will scrutinize the tax returns of wealthy people who hire lawyers to try to avoid tax, because that’s where the money is.

But back to the paranoia about the IRS. If you’re not cheating on your taxes, you really don’t have to worry. Sure, an audit can be complicated, but if you’re honest, you’ll be fine. And if that extra IRS manpower catches tax evaders, isn’t that a good thing?

Remember when hotelier Leona Helmsley said “Only little people pay taxes” shortly before she was taken to jail? As a “little” person, I want everyone to pay their fair share, don’t you?

Of course, this whole argument could become moot if we simplified the tax code, which virtually every politician in my life has pledged to do. How about a national flat tax without exemption? Special interests will be screaming at the top of their voices, so this is unlikely to happen, but it would greatly simplify the process of raising government revenue. Or what about a national sales tax instead of an income tax? The rich buy more expensive things, so they would pay more taxes. Liberals would claim how unfair it would be for the poor. It really wouldn’t be unfair, but as we know, facts don’t matter in political debate.

Bottom line: If you’re an honest US taxpayer, fear no extra IRS employees. If you are a US taxpayer cheating on taxes, then be worried. You should be. You fooled the rest of us. End of the sermon.

Now, because talking about taxes isn’t much fun, let me end on a lighter, unrelated note. My wife and I recently went to a Rays game at Tropicana Field. She decided she would love some germ-fighting vitamin C in the form of a delicious orange juice. He was told that Tropicana Field didn’t sell orange juice. Hmmm…

Chris Core is a former radio and television personality from Washington, DC who now lives in Pass-a-Grille. He is the recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Achievement in Broadcast Journalism.


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