Uncle Sam’s Tax Agents Strike Outside of Halloween Season
If you’re looking for a scary story to tell over a fire this Halloween, look no further than the IRS.
The Internal Revenue Service is constantly vilified by politicians for its unforgiving nature and for waging aggressive tactics against taxpayers. While the IRS’s reputation may have calmed down since the 1970s, there’s no shortage of IRS horror stories that scare honest taxpayers. Some include:
- Framing a prominent politician: A rogue IRS agent attempted to frame former Senate majority leader Howard H. Baker of Tennessee. Trying to advance his career, the agent tried to bust Baker, a Republican, with money-laundering and bribery charges. Baker was out of the Senate when the phony charges were made, and the agent’s managers allegedly tried covering the scheme up once it was discovered. As for the agent, he lost his job several years later after getting arrested for cocaine possession.
- Attacking a small business: In 1994, the Jewish Mother restaurant in Virginia Beach was ravaged by IRS agents armed with guns and fierce dogs. Customers were ordered to leave, and the employees were searched for drugs. Why all the fuss? The IRS believed false statements by the restaurant’s former bookkeeper (fired for embezzling money) that the Jewish Mother was the center of gun running, drug dealing and money laundering. The restaurant’s owner later sued the IRS for $20 million.
- Auditing political opponents: According to a former IRS historian, the agency’s Special Services Staff collected information on roughly 11,000 Americans thought to be enemies of the Nixon Administration in the 1960s and 70s. The SSS investigated political dissidents and protestors and subscribed to radical publications to collect names, only to target them for audits.
If you have back tax debt, you probably have your own IRS horror story to tell. You don’t have to be a former political figure, small business owner or radical protester to be targeted by the IRS. If you don’t want to be in the position of telling your own IRS horror story, like how you have to deal with an IRS wage garnishment or bank levy, make sure to hire a tax attorney.