Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

IRS Policy Amounts to Pointless Harrassment of the Very, Very Poor

A few years ago the IRS (under the aegis of the Bush admin, which is not merely a partisan observation, but relevant to their policy shift) declared that they were going to prioritize the pursuit of tax fraud among the poorest of the poor. Well, here are the results.

The New York Times reports about how the IRS disproportionately harrasses those making $13,0000 a year while ignoring actual, significant tax fraud of wealthy Americans and small businesses. The IRS's own ombudsman, called the taxpayer advocate, testified to Congress today that 2/3 of the dirt poor folks who had their $3,000 tax returns withheld were the victims of an overly harsh and misleading computer program. What's more,

Ms. Olson said the I.R.S. devoted vastly more resources to pursing questionable refunds by the poor, which she said cannot involve more than $9 billion, than to a $100 billion problem with unreported incomes from small businesses that deal only in cash, many of which do not even file tax returns.

She also said that the I.R.S. told her that its program had protected $2.1 billion of revenue. But she said this number was misleading.

Basically, $1.8 billion of that $2.1 billion was from organized crime and would have been caught anyhow, so we're talking about totally fucking up the already fucked up lives of people living on $13,000 a year, and all for securing $300 million in questionable (not even necessarily fraudulent) returns.

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