Cheat the IRS, Go to Jail; Cheat Taxpayers, Get a Bonus

If you still harbor any doubts that our federal bureaucracy has become a privleged class, enjoying all the arbitrary powers and immunities as an agent of King George III, then this is the story to cure you of your illusions:

The Internal Revenue Service chose not to fire workers who violated tax laws in about 60% of cases over a 10-year period, according to a new report by the IRS inspector general.

IRS reform legislation adopted in 1998 said that the agency must fire any employee who violates tax laws, unless the agency decides to soften the punishment.

The new report found that over a 10-year period starting in 2003, 1,580 IRS employees were found to be willfully noncompliant with tax laws. Of that total, 620 or 39% were terminated, resigned or retired. The remaining 61% got lesser penalties such as suspensions, reprimands or counseling.

Specific violations included overstatement of expenses, claiming of a first-time homebuyer tax credit without buying a home, and failure to timely file tax returns. Some employees had “significant and sometimes repeated tax noncompliance issues, and a history of other conduct issues,” according to the report.

The report is the latest in a string of reports dinging the agency for its treatment of misbehaving employees.

The telling detail is that the IRS chose not to fire or punish these cheats, in what looks like clear violation of the 1998 reform act.

Repeal the 16th Amendment, force Washington to subsist on a diet of excise taxes, and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to strip IRS employees of their citizenship and keep them all at Gitmo.