Internal Revenue Service or Mafia Kingpin?

It is no longer only the mafia that attacks its victims by taigeting their friends or family, apparently the IRS has been taking lessons. In the US today, the IRS will not hesitate to come after you by going through your children. In Detroit, seven children were detained in a day care center, meaning in effect they were held hostage, until parents agreed to pay fees owed to the school. The agency also commonly seizes funds held by children to pay taxes owed by their parents. Such seizures include the life savings of a nine year old girl to settle part of a tax claim against her aging grandmother and the US $10.25 account of a 12 year old boy which was confiscated to offset his parent’s back taxes. Nor is the agency averse to the idea of going after your children directly. It has audited several thousand children, each randomly selected. Of course, the child’s mom or dad that has to take time off work to sort out the wild goose chase.
Similarly, the IRS does not hesitate to make use of mafia style violence. In Alaska, a couple who disputed their tax assessment had their car seized. This seizure alone would be bad enough, but to make matters worse the couple were actually in the car when the IRS decided to make its hit. First, the windows were smashed. Then, the couple were dragged bleeding to the sidewalk where they were promptly abandoned. In another case, a woman objected to the confiscation of vehicles on her property. Her problem? The armed men, who turned out to be IRS agents in the company of US marshalls, refused to identify themselves.
V Instead, one of the agents involved beat her to the ground with the butt of an automatic weapon. Apparently it didn’t bother the agent in question that this disgruntled taxpayer was seven months pregnant with twins. One twin was stillborn, the other bom with brain damage. The agent went on to receive a commendation.
Yet another favorite pressure tactic is to make use of absolutely ludicrous fines. For example, in 1990 in San Jose, California one woman was billed for US $68,000 in back taxes. The clincher, however, was the simultaneous penalty of US $647 million, yes that’s million. When she called to complain she was told that she must pay the fine before her case would be considered. Dealing in smaller amounts, although a similar scale, a businessman in Virginia was fined US $400 when he failed to pay two cents of his US $22,894 withholding bill. In yet another case, the police commission of a small town in Pennsylvania was asked to pay a US $700 fine on a payment that fell merely one cent short of what the IRS deemed to be the amount owed.
Although such senseless policies may appear comic at first, they are no laughing matter. Continuous IRS harassment has led many to desperate measures, including suicide. Amongst these lost souls numbers the likes of homeless advocate Mitch Snyder who committed suicide in the face of IRS assessments of US $90,000. Of course, before resorting to such desperate measures one should realize that even in death the IRS cannot be escaped. In one much publicized case, the IRS sought to exhume the body of an individual, who died during the course of an audit, in order to verify his identity. Similarly, veiling oneself in the protective enclosure of a charitable institution will accomplish little. In El Paso, Texas, the IRS confiscated several tons of food in addition to a dozen vehicles from a relief group that owed US $22,000 in back taxes. The food was intended to help the homeless. After a swarm of bad publicity the IRS released the food, but held on to the trucks.