The first effort to avoid paying taxes occurred soon after the Revolutionary War in the United States. It took George Washington and a contingent of the United States Army to quell the tax revolt. These forefathers of the tax avoiders had actually believed the revolution was about over-taxation by their English King and that George and the forefathers of a taxing government were betraying the cause that led to U.S. independence. Just as they did then, today’s tax avoidance advocates agree with former first lady, Nancy Reagan: “Just say no!” And, just as George Washington responded with a heavy hand – no one was actually killed and not a single shot was fired – today’s government is ready to take you tax rebels down. Of course, they have to catch you first, and that’s the point in the program the Feds have enhanced, bounty hunting for tax evaders – no degree required.
Tax avoidance snitching is built on the old communist method of discovering non-conformists and party dissidents. The Kamer Rouge used it well. Hundreds of children gave up their mothers and fathers for the glory alone. If you turn in anyone you know is evading taxes, the Feds will pay you a nice percentage of what the offender owes. That’s right, mom, dad, your trusting employer, priest or pastor, your husband or wife, even your children, it doesn’t matter, the IRS doesn’t discriminate. They’ll express their gratitude with a nice fat check. With dollars, that is, not a bag of silver coins. It’s not a betrayal of trust, they’ll tell you. It’s patriotism.
The IRS has been paying this kind of bounty for years, so the paying isn’t new. For the first half of this decade, 428 ‘patriots’ were paid $12 million dollars (that’s $28K each on average), a pretty good take for a few hours of snooping, your report, and a trip to the bank. That $12 million was for $168 million the IRS recouped. Still, most Americans valued their jobs and families more than one year of low income earning. So the U.S. Congress thought, increase the bounty and you’re sure to get more players. You’ve got to make it worth their while. That’s why, in 2006, Congress ordered the IRS to increase the bounty from 7 percent to 15 percent. If the IRS collected more than $2 million from tax avoidance reports, the payouts work out to about 30 percent, amounting to about $600 thousand in total. You could retire off of that! If you’re young, with smart investing, you could get yourself an island in Dubai ($30 million, probably less, what with the cash shortage around the world).
Gone are the days when the unscrupulous rich parent who practiced tax avoidance could easily cut the prodigal son or daughter out of the will. Gone, too are the days when, for a key to the executive’s bathroom and an all-expenses-paid trip to Aruba, a junior accountant remained on the tax evading corporation’s good old boys list. In 2008, the IRS received 1,246 tax avoidance tips; in 2009, these leads tallied to 1,600. Congress sure is smart.
There is one caveat: the IRS is slow to pay. So slow, that, they’ve haven’t paid anyone under the new program yet. It seems we need a new program from Congress, a bounty payment avoidance informants program. Of course, the taxpayer will have to pay for that too. We’ve paid for bridges to nowhere, for hundred dollar hammers and toilet seats, and billions of dollars in cash give-aways to unknown persons in Iraq. It’s our patriotic duty to pay taxes. Tax avoidance is a crime. Don’t think they won’t catch you. They’ve got eyes all around. Care to join? Me, I mind my own business!