Yesterday's post about the IRS move toward compassionate tax collection has gotten a lot of people thinking. Actually, it's gotten them rolling their eyes.
It seems that more folks believe in the Tin Man getting a heart than they do the federal tax collector. Point taken. Even when Capitol Hill mandated back in the late '80s a "kinder, gentler" IRS that focused on the "Service" part of its name, the attempt at image polishing just didn't take.
Then in recent years, Congress did an about face and started nagging the IRS to help close the tax gap. So the agency set loose private debt collectors on the public. Having those folks come after you in the name of Uncle Sam sure is a good way to endear yourself to your customer base … Not!
So why should we believe that the IRS actually is looking to help out financially troubled taxpayers this time?
To borrow a phrase from a guy that a lot of people seem to hold in high regard right now, how about the audacity of hope? Add a pinch of change that seems to be making the rounds in D.C. and maybe, just maybe, we will get a tax collection agency that remembers that the money it collects comes from actual people.
Me, I'm going to take IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman at his word, at least for now.
This whole new tax collection attitude and approach might not work out as well as the tax men and women or we taxpayers want, but I think it's a major step that the head of the IRS has publicly acknowledged that some people will have trouble paying their taxes in this economic climate. And it's an even bigger step to tell the world that the IRS doesn't want to add unduly to that burden.
So you can call me a fool if you want. I prefer to consider myself hopefully skeptical.