December 19, 2017

The NYT invites you to feel sorry for the IRS.

"Have You Ever Felt Sorry for the I.R.S.? Now Might Be the Time."
After years of upbraiding and even threatening to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, Republicans must now depend on the agency to carry out their signature legislative accomplishment: a comprehensive revision of the tax code. The task is monumental. While processing tens of millions of tax returns for 2017 under the current rules, the I.R.S. would also have to figure out how to interpret and explain a new system and put it into practice....

The burden of carrying out a new code also falls heavily on the I.R.S. legal staff, who — along with their counterparts at the Treasury Department — are responsible for explaining to tax preparers, businesses and individuals what the statute means.... If the plan is passed, I.R.S. staff members will have to write countless guidelines and regulations to define and explain critical terms and concepts, as well as correct technical flaws that can arise in the best of circumstances, let alone in a bill done at breakneck speed....
Please cry for me, America/The truth is I've always loved you/All through my wild days/My mad existence...

78 comments:

MacMacConnell said...

Fuck the IRS, they can be helpful occasionally, but you can't rely on one agents interpretation to another and a tie always goes to the IRS.

rhhardin said...

It's just changing a computer program, and then translating that into words.

n.n said...

Argentina... I thought those lyrics sounded familiar.

Is the tax collector a Peron? A pariah?

What happened to the little guy and gal?

The NYT is Her press.

MAJMike said...

Maybe if they concentrate on their jobs, rather than engaging in political persecution, they'll be able to cope with an updated tax code.

pacwest said...

Government workers are actually going to have to work? Oh, the horror!

rhhardin said...

The best complication is California reclassifying income and property taxes as charitable donation, which remain deductible.

wild chicken said...

No more ACA penalty for my tax clients. Yay for that!

Big Mike said...

pacwest beat me to it.

n.n said...

rather than engaging in political persecution

No more intrigue for you. No more partisan witch hunts. It's time to gather the revenue and don't be stingy.

This is a modern-day Christmas Carol, starring Democrats as Scrooge, Republicans as the ghosts, and the deplorable People as Timmy. Hopefully, the ghosts will stay on message, and not wander into other franchises. The NYT is a retained publicist for Scrooge.

n.n said...

ACA penalty

The "born alive" or unPlanned penalty. We should be able to do better. Whether we will is an open question muddled by sound and fury signifying something.

Bilwick said...

I can well understand statist "liberals" feeling sympathy for the IRS. It's their favorite goon squad.

dreams said...

And "It won't be easy, you'll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your love after all that I've done"

mezzrow said...

Lois Lerner on a balcony...

n.n said...

Please, Mr. Taxman (and NYT bullhorn). My family is not poor. We are not rich. Let us keep our daily bread. The product of our toil.

Oh, and spare the baby(s). She meant no harm. She is innocent of the crimes alleged.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Where did I put my World's Tiniest Violin(TM)?

Rusty said...

Mac @ 7:50
Never, never ,never do your taxes yourself. Always hire a professional. And never, never, never go to an IRS meeting yourself.
The IRS are not there to help you. They are there to take as much of your money as they can.
So yeah. Fuck em.

FleetUSA said...

Let's see they won't be auditing the Tea Party and probably the Clinton Foundation, so they can spend their time on something useful...reducing taxes for real Americans.

As in all prior major tax acts this is a full-employment bill for CPAs and tax lawyers. Maybe I shouldn't have retired...nah, too much fun in retirement.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, they have a sweet deal. They don't have to be right when they answer your questions. So no, I don't. Since the Lois Lerner deal, it turns out that they don't even have to follow the law when enforcing the code. Can it get much sweeter?

It's the dream deal of every bad employee, isn't it?

MacMacConnell said...

Rusty said...
Mac @ 7:50
Never, never ,never do your taxes yourself. Always hire a professional. And never, never, never go to an IRS meeting yourself.

I am a tax professional, I know of what I speak.

dreams said...

The standard deduction has been doubled in the tax plan but the liberals/democrats say it hurts the working class. When I pointed this out to a guy on Facebook, his reply was "big deal, so what am I going to do take that $600 and remodel my house."

traditionalguy said...

The IRS has always been political. It's powers have long been at Gestapo level among Americans as the CIA has been among foreign based Americans and foreign enterprises. That was long before the Clintons corrupted the FBI and Bush II made a NSA , HSA and BLM into bigger and better Gestapos dwarfing the IRS.

At this point the only amazing thing is that DJT is still alive.

Henry said...

And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out)

Bruce Hayden said...

Not a lot of sympathy out there for the IRS in much of America. Esp after Lois Lerner and her pals at the non-profit unit could get away with targeting Tea Party groups, destroying their hard drives, pleading the 5th Amdt before Congress for work done while being paid by the taxpayers they are supposed to be collecting from, and then not only didn’t get fired, but were allowed to retire with a fulll pension. Koskinen was brought in there to fix the agency, but seemed mostly to just defend the indefensible. They are whining here about budget cuts. Wake up, IRS employees! You have only yourselves to blame. The Treasury employees union is one the most left wing govt employees unions. That was bad enough, but when the rabid left wing employees there go to war with the conservative side of the country (Lerner intentionally doing what she did to Tea Party groups is just one example), they should expect that there will be retaliation when the Republicans regain control of Congress, which is what happened, with those budget cuts. Why should the rest of the country spend its tax money funding the salaries of more rabid left wing IRS employees?

Michael K said...

Years ago, after I had been audited by the usual suspects, I got a tax bill telling me I owed $100,000. After another year, I got a tax bill on the same tax year that said tax owed, $0. I had the two of them framed and hung up side by side. I don't know what finally happened to them but it was pleasant to look at from time to time.

mockturtle said...

Seems to me the agency could be cut by about half.

Bay Area Guy said...

Future headline: "Tax cuts pass, Americans keep more of their own money - New York Times and IRS hardest hit"

Original Mike said...

Boo Fuckin' Hoo.

Original Mike said...

"If the plan is passed, I.R.S. staff members will have to write countless guidelines and regulations..."

Countless? Really?

Todd said...

My heart bleeds for them!

They get to tell us what the tax code means, if they bother to answer the phone, AND if/when they are wrong we get to pay the penalties.

Nice work if you can get it!

As an added bonus, you get to apply "extra scrutiny" when reviewing requests for 501c status by your ideological enemies and apply much reduced scrutiny to your ideological room mates.

Seeing Red said...

Did they write this article during other tax plan changes?

TRISTRAM said...

So, we are supposed to feel sorry for people to do the job they are paid (and paid well with no accountability) to do? Sorry, not sorry.

Ray - SoCal said...

There was another irs sympathy article recently, about how the IRS can no longer effectively police non profits.

Seeing Red said...

When does the IRS get robots?

Bruce Hayden said...

@Trad: “BLM”???

Ok, the BLM has a SWAT team that they used to clear Clyde Boundy’s cattle away from the solar panels owned by a client of Harry Reid’s oldest boy, but overall, they are an agency with very few employees managing huge swathes of public land across the country. Probably more land than several states combined. Last I knew, their funding per square mile of managed land was significantly lower than that of the Forest Service, which in turn is significantly lower than that of the Park Service. Not sure why they are so fearsome. Yes, Ranchers have a love/hate relationship with the agency, but that is expected. In W MT, it is the FS that that happens with - reviled when they shut down the timber industry but the local heroes when the fires have rolled through the last couple years. Ranchers hate that the BLM wants them to maintain their leased land, but love them when they want a dam, or wildfires threaten. I can pretty well guarantee that employees of these agencies (BLM, FS, NPS) are far more popular with the citizens that they deal with on a day-to-day basis than the IRS is. Far more popular.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

O-Care, dear leftwinger?

O-Care - a tangled expensive punitive tax payer rape crap sandwich that did nothing to bring costs down and did everything to place our money into the hands of the mega-insurance companies. A tangled mess for tax accountants and small businesses. But the LEFT adore anything that is punitive.
Anything that hurts - leftwing progressives love it. Media hacks lie about it, for their corrupt party.

I am not that happy with what the GOP has done here, but it is a slight untangling of the greater mess.

Henry said...

Bureaucracies are budget-maximizing organizations. The IRS is crying all the way to the bank.

CWJ said...

"The NYT is a retained publicist for Scrooge."

The firm of Scrooge and Marley has always been a reliable NYT advertising client.

Paul said...

The I.R. F*cking S.? Cry for them? Hell they get their 'advice' to us taxpayers wrong something like 40 percent of the time!

I am a strong believer in a National Sales tax and drop individual income taxes! Get the IRS out of individual lives and let them concentrate on businesses that collect the tax.

It's far more fair cause if you don't spend much.. you don't pay much. Spend lots, pay lots. Just that simple. But then, it is not open to graft from the 'guberment' so I doubt it would ever happen.

Fritz said...

The word must have gone out through the Journolist. The WaPo had the same kind of article about the IRS 2 days ago. Totally vindicating the IRS on their Tea Party harassment, and then bemoaning how the controversy was causing bad morale at the agency:

Fallout from allegations of tea party targeting hamper IRS oversight of nonprofits

For those of you who can get past the paywall.

BTW, anybody want the monthly code by which I can give 1 person the keys?

robother said...

And let us also shed a tear for the tax lawyers and accountants who are paid to interpret those regs. And the programmers at Turbotax who have to code in the changes. The horror, the horror....

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Democratic leftwing fascists are only happy when it's punitive.

Henry said...

In the longer term, the much higher personal deduction and likelihood that fewer people will itemize should reduce work for the IRS. That article too will be a tearjerker.

CWJ said...

Other things equal, wouldn't a decrease in the percentage of filers itemizing deductions result in an easier task for the IRS? Nah! That couldn't be.

OTOH, since thou shalt not reduce IRS employment, the probability of the remaining itemizers being audited just went up a notch.

Infinite Monkeys said...

You know what would make it easy for them and for us? A flat tax.

Of course, that would mean a lot of them would become redundant. I mention that because "I.R.S. staff members will have to write countless guidelines and regulations to define and explain critical terms and concepts" sounds like a prelude to "we need to hire more people".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the plan is passed, I.R.S. staff members will have to write countless guidelines and regulations to define and explain critical terms and concepts, as well as correct technical flaws that can arise in the best of circumstances,....

Oh...you mean, like---------------> DO THEIR JOBS? The inhumanity!

cubanbob said...

rhhardin said...
The best complication is California reclassifying income and property taxes as charitable donation, which remain deductible.

12/19/17, 7:54 AM"

Sorry for asking but are you being cynical or did you actually come across a real proposal by the CA government? If this is actually real, then kudos for chutzpah on the part of CA. Assuming this is the case the Chief Justice Roberts killed this little scheme in his infamous original ObamaCare ruling where he applied the Duck Theory to taxation. The prospect of ObamaCare being used to kill a tax avoidance scheme by Leftist is almost too good to be true.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Government workers should never work. They should take breaks and have sex in the back room and then retire early with massive public pensions.

Earnest Prole said...

Cry me a fuckin river.

Nonapod said...

Feel sorry for the IRS? Next you'll be telling me I should feel sorry for liver flukes and the virus that causes AIDS.

I can't feel terribly sad for another bloated Federal bureaucratastrophy. Its current state is the end result of decades of horrifically byzantine tax policy. And that's not even getting into the whole weaponizing the IRS against its own citizens that the Obama administration engaged in. Where was their sympathy for us then, huh? Why didn't some IRS employee come forth and expose that? These are truly vile people.

Quayle said...

You tell everybody. Listen to me, Althouse. You've gotta tell them! Tax regulations is people! We've gotta stop them somehow!

Michael K said...

"I am a strong believer in a National Sales tax and drop individual income taxes!"

I'm sure the Europeans thought the VAT would eliminate the income tax. HAHAHSAHA

Fernandistein said...

I'm guessing the NYT is inviting the IRS to feel sympathetic toward the NYT.

chickelit said...

Obama wrecked IRS integrity. And there never was a reckoning for that.

Unknown said...

Retired IRS agent...No one in legal, regulatory, or the publication explainers are involved in processing returns, yet the NYT seems to think the GS-5 processors will have to do both jobs.

pacwest said...

"let alone in a bill done at breakneck speed...."

That is a point I can agree with. Since we use tax policy to incentivize or punish certain economic behaviors it needs to be pruned occasionally to weed out no longer useful incentives and punishments. The speed at which this was done ensures there will be a lot of unintended consequences. Having to do it from one side of the isle doesn't help. With the partisan divide and personal carve outs it's unlikely these changes to the tax structure are going to be without a lot of flaws. Double the problems once a partisan IRS starts interpreting it. I'm not for a flat tax, but it would solve this problem.

pacwest said...

"let alone in a bill done at breakneck speed...."

That is a point I can agree with. Since we use tax policy to incentivize or punish certain economic behaviors it needs to be pruned occasionally to weed out no longer useful incentives and punishments. The speed at which this was done ensures there will be a lot of unintended consequences. Having to do it from one side of the isle doesn't help. With the partisan divide and personal carve outs it's unlikely these changes to the tax structure are going to be without a lot of flaws. Double the problems once a partisan IRS starts interpreting it. I'm not for a flat tax, but it would solve this problem.

wendybar said...

Screw the crooked IRS and the leadership that lied (or pled the 5th) to get away with being an arm of the Obama white house.

dreams said...

"I am a strong believer in a National Sales tax and drop individual income taxes!"

"I'm sure the Europeans thought the VAT would eliminate the income tax. HAHAHSAHA"

Making it easier for a government to hide the taxes it imposes on the people just leads to more taxes.

Unknown said...

A note, the IRS is not the only entity that will not stand by what an employee states as a fact. Any government agematncy can only say what they think is true, but it is ultimately up to the courts that actually determine law.

Mark Jones said...

Michael K said, "I'm sure the Europeans thought the VAT would eliminate the income tax. HAHAHSAHA" in response to the idea of swapping the personal income tax for a national sales tax.

Yeah. There's no way the government is EVER giving up personal income taxes. Any attempt to replace it with a national sales tax would only saddle us with both. (Which is why Oregon will never* accept a sales tax--we know damn well it wouldn't reduce our income taxes. They'd just suck at both teats with everything they've got.)

*For certain values of "never" like "until enough leftists infest Portland to finally outvote the rest of the state."

dreams said...

Well, it looks like the IRS will need to hire more democrat government workers to help save the taxpayer some money. Your tax dollars at work.

cubanbob said...

I have a hard time feeling sorry for government drones especially when they are stupid. In 2015 I overpaid my taxes (due to quarterly payments/income averaging) and applied to have my over payment applied to my 2016 taxes. Instead I get a refund for my 2015 taxes and a deficiency notice (with interest penalty of course)for my 2016 taxes. The natural inclination of a normal person is to deposit the check and cut the IRS a new check but no, the IRS would have a problem with that. So I mailed the check back to them so they can void the payment on their system and reflect as if I had a cash balance to carry forward from 2015 to 2016. This small and simple example of incompetence on the part of the IRS just once again exemplifies why the agency should be abolished and the tax code junked and why a restart is required.

Fernandistein said...

I'm guessing the NYT is inviting the IRS to be sympathetic toward the NYT.

tcrosse said...

Presumably, if the GOP tax plan passes, the IRS will have to explain the fallen sky, the destroyed democracy, and all those piles of rotting corpses in the street.

Comanche Voter said...

Yeah, I can hear the IRS and that "rogue office in Ohio" singing "Give me some loving".


Meantime if the IRS actually has to shift its malevolent bones and do some honest work rejiggering its fiscal torture apparatus instead of using the same old same old, it will be good to see them sweat.

The NYT never got its knickers in a knot when Obama issued an Executive Order requiring some work on the regulators part.

Phunctor said...

And all that butthurt is before the relocation to Pierre SD.

Paul said...

"I'm sure the Europeans thought the VAT would eliminate the income tax."

Michael, VAT is not a sales tax. We simply need to eliminate the personal income tax and replace it with the sales tax.

Only question is, like Obamacare, will they do it.

Kevin said...

So they had plenty of space for that Obama-Hezbollah story, but decided to use it this way?

Here's how I feel about the IRS. It is the place I most look forward to robots taking over all the jobs.

Robots will be smarter, faster, more consistent, and less biased than what we have now. They will be infinitely cheaper and ready to answer your questions anytime of the day or night. They will not look askance at how you earn your money or what political contributions you made when determining how to apply the laws or what penalties you might have incurred.

Do I feel sorry for these people? No, I feel even more certain that we should relieve these poor people of their unpleasant duties.

Patrick Henry said...

A national sales tax (not a VAT) would really simplify everyone's lives, but only with a repeal of the 16th.

The other way to fix it is with a flat tax: 15% on all income, regardless of source (no estate taxes, though - that money has already been taxed). No deductions. No payroll taxes. Just a plain, simple flat tax. If you really really felt the need to be progressive, then a simple $10,000/person deduction on gross income.

Those that complain about either tax system are most often bookkeepers, tax preparers or accountants who's livelihood is based on our astronomically stupid tax system.

n.n said...

all those piles of rotting corpses in the street

A Resident Evil sequel: Night of the Planned Babies. It's art progressive.

Big Mike said...

They might consider resigning so that their managers can find someone who can get the job done.

Leora said...

This is the first tax bill since I have been a preparer (about 40 years) that does not have features affecting the current tax year when it was passed. They have lots of time to figure out how to deal with the 2018 tax rules. Just sorry they didn't get entirely rid of the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.

David said...

Poor things have to do their job. How horrible.

Sam L. said...

NOPE. NOT gonna happen.

Ty said...

I, for one, do feel sorry for the IRS. If you've ever had a hard drive crash, you know how heartbreaking it can be. Imagine losing multiple hard drives! With all your important work emails no less!

stlcdr said...

So they won’t get paid just to show up to work, then?

They will actually have to do some actual ‘work’?

stlcdr said...

(Geez, late to this party, as usual. Sometimes it’s like throwing sticks on the burning embers at the end of a witch burning.)

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ty said...
I, for one, do feel sorry for the IRS. If you've ever had a hard drive crash, you know how heartbreaking it can be. Imagine losing multiple hard drives! With all your important work emails no less!

12/19/17, 10:31 PM

Speaking of late to the party, haven't 5000 people already explained how this is not even wrong, that any reasonably competent corporate IT arranges things in such a way that this literally cannot happen? Because if it hasn't been explained, I can explain it. Again.