A suspicious backpack was found at an IRS office Ocala, Florida yesterday that resulted in the 100 employees being evacuated from the building and also business in the surrounding area. In this day and age of misplaced IRS hating, authorities always approach these situations with caution and swiftly destroyed the pack after viewing the X-rays noting notebooks and “an electronic device with wires.” The contents turned out to be nothing more than someone’s psychology textbook, notebooks and a tape recorder, among other school-y items. This will be the best excuse that psych prof will ever hear. [Ocala]
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In what amounts to either coordinated efforts by some lunatics or a giant coincidence, envelopes with white powder were sent to eight federal buildings including an IRS office in Bellevue, Washington yesterday. CNN reports that the building in Bellevue was evacuated after “an employee opened a letter and the white powder ‘poofed out.’ ”
Other envelopes were sent to FBI buildings in Seattle, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as well as U.S. Attorney’s offices in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.
While this latest IRS powder package incident seems to have caused no harm, one has to wonder what the motivation is behind such spineless actions. Does someone out there a major beef with the IRS and have a Hazmat fetish? Has that been diagnosed yet?
“Who would have thought that the IRS would have a favorability rating a third higher than the tea party movement’s? Or that the IRS would be twice as popular as Palin?”
• The Valukas Report on Lehman Brothers: Sarbanes/Oxley’s Credibility Takes a Dive [Re:Balance]
Has the Vakulus report exposed Sarbanes-Oxley as a, dare we say it, a waste of time? Perhaps that’s a stretch but the question of its effectiveness in the case of Lehman Brothers is certainly worth noting, “if Sarbox didnÃ¢Â€Â™t have an impact on Dick Fuld and Lehman, what possible good has it wrought?” asks Jim Peterson.
CNBC tried having this discussion on Friday although it didn’t seem to get anywhere. And some may say that SOx has resulted in a many positive developments, although this latest disaster may indicate that overwhelming support of legislation should be a sign that something doesn’t smell right, “the hindsight revelation of the Valukas report is that the inability of Sarbox to reach global-scale problems shows the futility of legislation so politically anodyne that it passed the US Senate by a vote of 96-0.”
In other words, SOx was sold as the cure-all to the problems revealed by Enron et al. and it made for some nice pandering during an election year. Once the election was over, Congress figured their work was done and nearly eight years later people are asking questions. The question now is, who will pick up the Lehman/E&Y torch in this cycle? There’s less than eight months until election day!
“While it may be superficially gratifying, it is absurd to use the IRS as a whipping boy. Is there anyone who really believes that we could live in a world where citizens expect the government to provide benefits without raising the taxes needed to pay for them?”
Last we checked, the answer to that question is yes, starting with the fans of Joe Stack’s Facebook page.
• TIGTA Is Investigating 70 Jokes/Inappropriate Statements About the Attack on the Austin IRS Office [TaxProf Blog]
Aaaannnd another thing. If you think you can tell semi-serious jokes about the IRS plane crash, you will be dealt with in a swift and serious manner. Expect to receive yearly financial rectal exams for the rest of your time on Earth. Someone in Utah should be paying especially close attention.
• Record Numbers of People Paying No Income Tax; Over 50 Million “Nonpayers” Include Families Making over $50,000 [Tax Foundation via TaxProf Blog]
For all the bellyaching Americans do about taxes, a large portion of them have managed to turn “Tax Day into a payday.” What the hell does that mean? It means that a growing number of people are considered to be “nonpayers” or people that get back every dollar withheld on their paycheck.
Sounds great, right? It’s my money, F the government, etc, etc. Well, the Tax Foundation is a little concerned because as the federal budget continues to grow, the income tax system becomes a less effective method of financing expenditures:
“[R]ecently released IRS data for the 2008 tax year show that a record 51.6 million filers had no income tax obligation. That means more than 36 percent of all Americans who filed a tax return for 2008 were nonpayers, raising serious doubts about the ability of the income tax system to continue funding the federal government’s ballooning expenditures.”
The Foundation concludes that if the trend of credits continues, the more people will get used to the idea that their refund from the Feds is annual windfall rather than an even greater inefficient government. “As the number of refundable tax credits continues to grow, more and more tax filers are seeing the IRS as a source of income, not something to which taxes are paid.”
• Eye Opener: Threats against IRS workers continue [Federal Eye/WaPo]
Despite so many people being “nonpayers” people still hate on the IRS, as we’ve covered. And actually, the IRS is okay with that. It’s expected:
“It would be a little naïve to think that we don’t get some threats over the course of doing business,” said IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons.
Perhaps it would be naïve but there seems to be shit going down every week. When does the ‘over the course of doing business’ become “day-to-day challenges that we deal with”?
• House Passes Chile Earthquake Donations Bill [Web CPA]
Yesterday, the House approved the extension of the deadline for donations made to victims of the earthquake in Chile, to considerable less fanfare than the Haiti bill from back in January. Presumably, Congress is under the impression that voters aren’t that concerned about what goes on in the southern hemisphere, thus the need for grandstanding on this issue isn’t needed.
The bill, sponsored by new Ways & Means Chair Sander Levin (D-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI), would allow donations made through April 15, 2010 to be included on your 2009 tax return.
This apparently happened late yesterday but jesus, who the hell is the jokester in Utah?
So it turned out to be personal items. That could be anything and it sounds a little silly to blow the package up to find out that it’s filled with undies and socks (although we understand the paranoia).
This is the second false alarm for an IRS facility in Utah in less than two weeks. Last Monday Hazmat crews and the FBI showed up at the Ogden facility after someone found some baking powder and people started having seizures.
Whoever is behind these false alarms is probably having a good laugh about the whole thing. It could be the ghost of Joseph Stack for all we know. Then again, his Facebook group keeps growing so perhaps that’s a good place to start.
Okay, so the past few weeks we’ve seen some psychotic behavior as it pertains to IRS. And yesterday, someone’s llelo (yes, it’s Utah, but that’s the best we’ve got right now) was mistaken for Anthrax and it caused the FBI and Hazmat to storm the building and leave with bodies wrapped up like mummies. If you’re getting worried that people might be freaking out, you’ve got some solid evidence in your corner.
The good news is that not everyone who hates the IRS with every fiber of their being is so cold that they’ll fly a plane into a building, shoot a gun at their spouse or destroy the very home they live in.
Michelle Lowry knows first-hand how much people hate the Internal Revenue Service.
The 37-year-old Leander woman, who processes forms for the IRS in Austin, confronts that venom regularly. People slip razor blades and pushpins into the same envelopes as their W-2 forms. They send nasty notes with their crumpled documents. Last year during the height of the Tea Party movement, hundreds of taxpayers included — what else? — tea bags with their returns.
See? It is possible to show hatred for the IRS without trying to killing someone or destroying your own property. Let’s try thinking things through before we start going completely batshit insane, shall we?
Passive-aggressive protest seems like a more modern way of showing contempt for the government anyway.
Threats, contempt come with job for IRS workers [Austin American-Statesman]