The IRS Reaches a New Low By Broadcasting Taxpayers’ Private Information
Being scammed to the tune of millions, illegally keeping employees who don’t pay their taxes, and generally striking fear in the hearts of every taxpaying American who may have trouble paying their taxes, are just a few of the recent activities that have helped the IRS rightfully earn its reputation as being the most despised government agency. Just when the IRS might have thought they couldn’t get any lower, the bar has been reduced to a new all-time low.
Making headlines around the country, from local news stations to business publications such as Forbes, an innocent taxpayer has had her private information broadcast on, of all things, the Howard Stern show. All because an IRS representative had called into the talk show and was placed on hold. According to reports, while the agent was on hold, he took a call from a taxpayer calling in to discuss her tax situation. His call into the talk show was taken off hold and the conversation went live.
So, the question that comes to mind is this: Why is an IRS agent calling in to a radio talk show during working hours? This kind of activity does not build trust. It erodes trust in a government agency already riddled with trust issues.
According to Forbes, the way the woman found out she was on the talk show is that, “Her phone started buzzing as she received numerous calls and texts from all over the country. Her personal phone number had been broadcast along with part of the conversation.” As the article continued, “She asked the IRS rep, “Are you speaking to Howard Stern?” The woman said that he replied “something to the effect of ‘I was’ or ‘I was on hold’ or something like that. ”
In another article about IRS employees who remain on the government payroll despite the fact they are also tax cheats, an article in the Washington Examiner reported, “The law requiring termination for tax-cheats at the IRS exists for a reason. It is intended to bolster public trust in the agency and in the tax system, which depends heavily on voluntary public compliance. If that compliance were to wane suddenly based on public judgment of IRS conduct, the system could potentially collapse.”
Whether cheating the agency that issues the paycheck that pays the bills or entertaining oneself during working hours at the expense of taxpayers trying to be responsible, IRS employees are adding to the bigger problem. As the Washington Examiner says, “A government whose agents behave in this way is crying out to be made smaller and less powerful, because it has proven impervious to all of the more gentle remedies.”
As an attorney dealing with IRS tax issues on a daily basis, helping the innocent American citizens who do their best to meet their obligations, it is news like this that makes me work even harder for my clients. Whether the IRS comes crumbling down sooner or later due to the continuous erosion of trust or not, I will continue to fight within the limits of the law to help my clients maintain their integrity as responsible taxpayers.