Judge Roy Bean wrote:
In reading Marc's musings, at the page linked earlier in this thread, I was struck by his theme: the fear of the Internal Revenue Service that many people have.
And that strikes you as what? Unfounded? Misplaced? Overblown?
Most people I know deal with the IRS as they would with a vicious dog - you stay on the other side of the fence and if it jumps over to come after you, you keep saying "nice doggie" while you look for a big stick.
Plenty of well-placed Americans have big sticks (i.e., Penny Pritzker), the rest of us have to stay off the street where the dog lives.
My impression is that many people do have a fear of the IRS -- and that the fear is (1) well founded, (2) properly placed but, (3) in most cases
For whatever reason, I never felt "fear" of the IRS, even before I became a tax practitioner. And I did have one anomalous interaction with the IRS in that "pre-tax-practitioner period", in the form of an erroneous IRS notice about some Form 1099 income that I had supposedly received from some company I had never heard of. I talked with an IRS employee who explained that those kinds of notices were not unheard of. I took her advice and wrote a brief explanation stating that I had never heard of the company and had never received any money from them. I never heard another peep from the IRS about it.
An IRS examination (by an IRS Revenue Agent) and an audit of an entity's financial statements (by an independent CPA) are not exactly the same things, but my experience in financial statement auditing and my subsequent experience in dealing with IRS personnel undoubtedly help to give me a "minority perspective" of the mean ol', bad ol' IRS.
In addition, as the objectives of an IRS examination and those of a financial statement audit are not exactly the same, most IRS examinations are more limited in scope than a financial statement audit. To put it bluntly, I have never dealt with an IRS Revenue Agent who had the depth and breadth of experience as I had. (That does not make me special, though; the same can be said of thousands of other CPAs with audit experience.)
I occasionally run across a bad apple, but I find most IRS personnel to be courteous and reasonable. A bad apple can certainly instill some fear in a person who doesn't know how to deal with the situation.
I deal more often with Revenue Officers (collections officers) than I do with Revenue Agents (the examination side of the IRS). The tremendous legal power of the IRS -- including the power to administratively summon financial records and the power to administratively seize assets -- and the impact of the federal tax lien are mitigated to some extent by the relatively limited resources of the IRS in comparsion to the work it is tasked to do.
...why is anyone in this [losthorizons] community paying the least attention to...'Larry Williams' [Famspear], or other purveyors of disinformation from...quatloos? – Pete Hendrickson, former inmate 15406-039, Fed’l Bureau of Prisons