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The Best Response To Tax Agency Bad Behavior

This simple step will make a world of difference in how things end up.

WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CtC-EDUCATED FILERS in action every year for a decade or more, I inevitably hear from quite a few people complaining about bad behavior of one kind or another from federal or state tax agencies. While only a tiny percentage of the total of educated filers, the raw number of such folks is in the hundreds.

Many of those encountering what they imagine to be bad behavior have effectively set themselves up for agency resistance. These are folks who have found their way to CtC while struggling to extricate themselves from the trouble they got into by following some "tax honesty" guru. They often arrive plagued by existing collections and other ongoing agency activities based on those previous bad practices (and often continue to cling to the misunderstandings about the tax that brought them grief in the first place, as indicated by, for instance, "UCC" or citizenship/residency references on documents or in responses sent to the tax agencies).

THERE ARE ALSO, OF COURSE, folks out there who file what they imagine to be CtC-educated returns but which are not. I have been surprised and dismayed over the years at how many people are willing to let someone else tell them what is in the book, and imagine that they got the whole story accurately and completely. These trusting souls then file self-contradictory or inaccurate returns leading to what is, to them, inexplicable trouble.

Sadly, many in both groups described above discover that even a complete and uncluttered grasp of CtC can't fix every problem, and partial or adulterated understanding isn't likely to fix any problem.

Worse, many of these folks are unable to distinguish when agency behavior is grounded in their past bad practices. They often become the sort of troll-like voices everyone has encountered at least once or twice on forums or elsewhere who claim that they filed CtC-educated returns and have had nothing but trouble.

The fact is, neither the speaker nor his audience is likely to know what is really behind such expressions without a detailed forensic examination. All that can be known short of that examination is that any real trouble that might exist had nothing to do with any proper and knowledgeably-filed CtC-educated return.

In any event, these folks and their circumstances are irrelevant here. I discuss them solely in order to identify and distinguish them. The important response to agency bad behavior presented in this article is not for any of those just described.

IN ADDITION TO THE PREDICTABLE TARGETS of tax agency resistance described above, there are also a small number of folks being treated to pretenses of tax agency resistance which have no underlying basis of possible legitimacy. These are folks who came to CtC without baggage from the past (other than the no-problem variety of having been taken in by, and having cooperated with, the "ignorance tax" scheme in all previous years).

Others in this category include those whose past issues have either already been put to rest, or are the sort easily fixed once a complete and accurate understanding of the tax is finally in hand.

The "resistance" pretenses deployed against these uncompromised filers are generally of two types: the "frivolous return penalty" hoax and the (federal-exclusive) absurd effort to under-refund a claim by a no-explanation-attempted reservation of FICA withholdings from an issued refund, such as is documented and discussed here.

It is these folks for whom a hugely-effective response opportunity exists, and here it is: GO TO THE MEDIA WITH YOUR STORY!!

THOSE OF YOU IN THE LATTER CATEGORY of uncompromised resistance targets, who are simply and unequivocally being jerked around by a tax agency which just doesn't want to surrender to the law without a fight, have everything you need to present a great story to the press. This can be the mainstream press or otherwise.

You have the simple evidence of the law, in just seven pages of text.

You have the simple model of how the "ignorance tax" has misled your correspondent and everyone else.

You have staggering evidence of agency admissions in huge volume, fully-vetted and of the most compelling possible character, which makes clear that the bad behavior is knowingly-committed and news-worthy.

You have thoroughly-documented evidence of a very deliberate and sustained federal effort to suppress all the foregoing, even while that huge volume of admissions are steadily made.

And you have your personal story of transparently-invalid, bad-faith tax agency efforts to violate the law by exploiting the fact that no one in the press has known any of this or has been paying attention.

THE LIGHT OF PUBLIC ATTENTION on tax agency bad behavior is the single most powerful weapon any victim of that bad behavior can unleash. You don't have to be personally articulate or camera-ready to invoke that light (although it is my experience that CtC-educated Americans are much more articulate and camera-ready than many of them think they are...).

All you have to be is pissed, and no longer willing to take the abuse.

Each person that steps up to deploy this weapon may meet with resistance from the media itself, to begin with. But I firmly believe that when a hundred or more have done so the "fifth estate" will begin to notice that there's something going on, and it's not just that one guy or gal that they brushed off as a "tax protestor" a few weeks ago without actually looking at what was presented.

THERE HAS BEEN TOO MUCH EXCLUSIVITY OF FOCUS on efforts to get solutions within "the system" by those being met with inexcusable tax agency offenses. Don't get me wrong-- those efforts DO need to be made. A corrupt "system" will certainly seize on any failure to act in that regard when the rules call for action.

But at the same time, such administrative efforts keep the whole matter behind the closed doors of the very agency that is at fault.

It is not, of course, impossible to end up dealing with an agency incentivized to reverse itself and do the right thing behind those closed doors-- and do it promptly rather than with aching slowness, as is often the case when matters stay confined to the administrative venue. But it's not likely, and thus, a parallel-- and more promising-- path should be taken at the same time.

TAKE IT TO THE STREETS, people! You've got fascinating stories of ever-more-readily-presentable and ever-more-undeniable government malfeasance in an area of intense relevance to every media consumer. You just have to get out there.

Local media (newspapers, radio stations, TV) are great places to make appointments and walk in to sit down with journalists and tell them your story and show them the evidence. Internet and national media contact opportunities are tougher to come by, and likely will require written or video presentations, but contact info for at least a starting lineup of these folks can be found here.

MAKE CLEAR AS DAY, and from the get go, that you have a PERSONAL story of government malfeasance to tell, and avoid trying to start off with an announcement of allusion to revealing the truth about the tax. The compelling story you have is either,

  • "I'm being subjected to an IRS attempt to impose a fake penalty on me, to try to make me change my sworn testimony to something that better serves government purposes (or in hopes of getting SOMETHING from me after the agency was compelled to admit I owe no income tax, and/or had to return everything withheld from me...)"; or

  • "The IRS has admitted I had no taxable income in 20XX, owed no tax, and didn't do any of the things on which FICA taxes arise. But while it admits I am owed back everything withheld from me as the "normal tax" (and has sent me the check?), it is trying to illegally keep what was withheld for FICA "surtaxes"."

This is, frankly, a great opportunity for anyone who has been subjected to these bs harassments to leverage them into a very satisfying turn of the worm. Run with it!