Can’t Stop The Machine: During Shutdown, IRS Computers Still Churn Out Tax Liens, Levies And Bills
It now turns out there is additional bad news for taxpayers, particularly those with IRS problems, known or unknown. Taxgirl, after studying the IRS’ preliminary shutdown plan, reported that National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson and 44 of her employees would continue working. But in the IRS’ final shutdown plan, released Monday afternoon, not a single employee dedicated to protecting taxpayer rights was included in the 8,824 (out of workforce of 94,516 ) kept on the job.
That unfortunate change was called to my attention by Olson herself, who emphasized she was “merely exercising my free speech rights as a citizen’’ and using her personal cell phone to do so. “I’m sitting at home with my two cats and my knitting,’’ she quipped. Olson wasn’t just being cute; it would be a violation the Antideficiency Act of 1884 for her to speak on her government issued Blackberry (she didn’t) or in her official capacity (she didn’t). A violation could get her fired, fined or thrown in jail.
Read more here
The IRS has systematically removed the human element from tax collection, and have completely lost sight of who they are supposed to serve. It’s like a voracious monster rampaging the world over.
The Forbes article concludes:
Is the IRS not in violation of Article One of the United States Constitution, Section 9, Clause 7 (the “power of the purse”) by still attempting to collect taxes in the interim. A total shut-down of government should equal a total shut down of government including the collection of taxes and assignment of fines.
Maybe a lawyer can help cut through this legalese but to this layman “raising money” means trying to fine people for supposed tax violations during government shutdown for services not rendered. “We tax you because you breathe at our convenience”! Perhaps someone more versed in legal-speak can enlighten me as to why the government can continue to tax during what is supposed to be a “total government shutdown”.
The other point being “if one must seek court authority to get an “appropriation” – take the violater to court and obtain a judgement to legally fine the violater, then would it not be an illegal “fund-raising” since they have not obtained a “legal judgement” in order (to confer “appropriation” definition to that fine) to assign a fine during “government shutdown”?
Your question is a good one, and as you know, when the government wants to do something, it obtains a legal opinion, either in secret, or by government lawyers to allow it to do as it sees fit. In this case, it is the OMB that is making their case, and of course, most federal employees are obliged to follow those instructions. In a way, they too are victims of the system. “A violation could get then fired, fined or thrown in jail.”
Nina Olsen has been tireless in trying to represent fairness in all of this mess. Some of the IRS agents get it too. I’ll never forget the one that said to me “This is wrong what is happening to you.” I had been telling her point for point why I would have to renounce as this was so unworkable for my family. Of course they cannot speak up and say that in public but, I appreciated the risk she took to say it. So whoever you are IRS lady in Philly, thanks for that at least. Yeah, “this is wrong”
With Nina Olsen and her dept. not on duty who is to protect people caught in the FATCA traps?
If Treasury is at all considering pulling the plug on FATCA, now would be the best time to withdraw – using whatever excuse they can to save face, i.e., US efforts in offshore tax enforcement have resulted in many of the world’s nations joining together in adopting similar agreements , making FATCA redundant, irresponsible and unnecessary during this era of fiscal restraint, blah, blah, blah…
I suspect that in the end, it will be just the TEA Party thumbing their noses at China…
@bubblebustin, re China holding loans re the US debt, and the current shutdown. Too big to fail?
…”..Zhu added that as the world’s two largest economies, the US and China are “inseparable”, stressing their annual bilateral trade of $US500 billion, US direct investments in China and China’s possession of a “vast number of US Treasury bonds”, without giving a total.
Over the years, China has recycled some of its trillions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves, the result of huge trade surpluses, by investing in US Treasurys. As such it has become a significant creditor of the US, which runs chronic deficits.
Zhu said that the two sides had been in close contact on the issue and the US was clearly aware of China’s concerns about the gridlock….”..
It reminds me of reading in the ’90s about banks who would continue to loan to debtors who were already in trouble, because they were in too deep with the outstanding loans to call in the money and perhaps lose it all or most of it. So they just kept lending more – on the basis that only if it all worked out would they get their money back. I think I was reading about Canary Wharf when I first came across that idea. http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1992-04-05/the-reichmanns-start-dealing
Curious as to how this impacts FATCA IGA talks with China, if it does.
“Too big in debt to fail”, might be more apt!
IGA negotiations delayed due to shutdown!
A similar article was posted by KalC earlier (sorry can’t find) with the same “take it or leave it” quote, only it was before the shut down and said that there’d be no more meetings to discuss IGA’s because of lack of funding. I guess it’s all the same anyway as there’s no funding for the additional manpower they need to handle all the countries clamouring on board to “negotiate” on the cram down.
Here’s Kal C’s comment:
Thank you Pacifica777!
My bad…appears to be the same article.
My bad too! I only now notice that the url is the same 🙂
I now have less confidence in my recollection of events. Watching Obama’s press conference. Surreal to think that the US could quite possibly default on its debts!
Animal, I could be wrong but in terms of shutdowns “vital” services continue and in fact about 60% of the USG is still operating business as usual, which includes the IRS in terms of tax collecting b/c I believe the deadline if you filed for an extension is next week, Oct. 15.
The stuff that closes down is just for the dog and pony show that have come to define the dysfunction down there. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decides who is laid off and who stays working – paid or not and the White House has some discretion too, which is why parks and national monuments are barricaded off and you read headlines like “Small Children Left to Die of Cancer Because of the GOP”. It’s all a grand production.
Rest assured, however, that the USG doesn’t stop taking your money or screwing you (I have read that the lower middle class in particular is being royally fucked over by the new health care insurance exchanges – when the website is actually working).
Next up is the debt ceiling, some faux super dramatic last minute deal making, and both sides claiming “victory” minutes before the deadline so that this can all happen again – right be Christmas. And Happy New Year to us all.
OVDP closed during shutdown
“We have yet to see how this affects the “deadlines” set by the program, which are generally unenforced in the best of times. The truth, which all participants know, is that the OVDP is backed up and getting more backed up by the day, more submissions than they can handle and not enough staff to deal with it. A senior revenue agent recently told Anthony Parent that they had been expecting a group of new hires to handle the volume and that has now been eliminated.”
that interview with the Dark Star Obarfalot was a trip—-He just rambles on and on and on and on, and his method of fear-mongering for the worst is an open invitation for the worst to come to him.
Further to Mark Twain’s post re the shutdown and impact on OVDP http://the-tax-wars.net/2013/10/08/more-on-government-shut-down-impact-on-tax-filings-and-ovdp-submissions/
54% of Republicans are willing to try default on for size, but for many others, the mere threat of default has severe ramifications for the US. Even with a last-minute raising of the debt ceiling, the damage may have probably already been done.
Finance Ministers at IMF meeting to U.S…. Don’t ask us for ANYTHING while you are threatening the World’s economy…
Are you listening #FATCAnatics?
Starts at minute 1:15
Other nations should not attempt to overburden the US right now by pushing the US to enter into IGA’s with them! 😉
What’s the difference between Washington DC and Las Vegas?
In Washington ‘the house’ takes most of the risk in gambling.
Entertaining article by Robert Schlesinger on the “debt ceiling deniers” and the ensuing catastrophe if they have their way:
Kind of ties into an interesting article Tricia posted on her Facebook that asserts “When people are misinformed, giving them facts to correct those errors only makes them cling to their beliefs more tenaciously.”
They can’t help themselves – it’s normal brain function.