In today’s big shockerthat the IRS has no regard for law:
The Internal Revenue Service freezes tens of thousands of tax refunds it deems questionable without telling people that they’re suspected of fraud, the nation’s taxpayer advocate said Tuesday.
“It is a central tenet of American law that the government must notify an accused person of the offense it suspects he committed and must give the accused person an opportunity to present exculpatory evidence to show his innocence,” Olson said in her report.
Like other government agencies do when caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they try to justify their actions:
Richard Speier, acting chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation office, said the tax agency is “very comfortable” that when it determines that someone committed a fraudulent act that “we do have that correctly identified.”
Speier said the IRS acknowledges it could do a better job of communicating with these taxpayers. Overall, the program temporarily delays a small number of refunds but stops billions in false refunds from being paid to criminals, the agency said.
There is just a teensy little problem here, and I quote (emphasis added):
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
While these sorts of shenanigans would have caused an uproar a few years ago, these unconstitutional acts will probably continue unchallenged while American attention is diverted to the Patriot Act, domestic spying and other frequent and egregious civil rights violations committed by their masters in Washington.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Complying with tax law doesn’t come cheap either, as a recent study by the Tax Foundation has uncovered the average cost of complying with the IRS is 22 cents for every dollar collected (via ):
In 2005 individuals, businesses and nonprofits will spend an estimated 6 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, with an estimated compliance cost of over $265.1 billion. This amounts to imposing a 22-cent tax compliance surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects. Projections show that by 2015 the compliance cost will grow to $482.7 billion.