Internal Revenue Service, Unlike the tax systems of many other nations, the American system has always relied heavily on voluntary compliance. We fill out our forms (or, these days, pay someone to do it), and the government keeps us honest via audits.
But since audit rates in most income ranges run as low as 1 percent (and most are concentrated in a few areas, such as the self-employed and small-business sectors, or returns with extraordinary deductions), the key remains the confidence taxpayers have in the system.
However, trust in the Internal Revenue Service has taken some real hits in the recent past – and it won’t be restored merely because the president of the United States says he has faith in the system.
As The Washington Times reported Jan. 30, “Last May, an audit from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration found the tax agency had been singling out for extra scrutiny tea party and conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.”
However, while President Obama said at the time he was “outraged” at those reports, he changed his tune this week.
In an interview with Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Obama said that tax officials made some “bone-headed” decisions about those groups (decisions that, curiously, prevented them from participating in the 2012 campaign).
But when he was asked if there was any “mass corruption” involved in that process, he replied, “Not even mass corruption – not even a smidgen of corruption.”