The May 23 editorial aimed to castigate tax dodgers and businesses that exist to facilitate them, but the editorial writer erred by labeling all those who enter into settlement agreements with the Internal Revenue Service, and their tax advisers, as traitors.
I agree that people who attempt to pass on their tax debt to the government for no other reason than that they think they can get away with it should be made to pay their full amount. I likewise believe that some businesses prey upon people in desperate financial straits.
Where the editorial blunders is where its author calls the mere hiring of a firm to negotiate a tax dispute with the IRS an act of treason. The Internal Revenue Code is, perhaps surprisingly to the editorial writer, a rather lengthy and complex set of rules, poorly understood and internally inconsistent. While the IRS administers tax laws, it does not always arrive at the same answer as a taxpayer or even at the right answer at all.
Diligent, ethical and patriotic tax attorneys help taxpayers determine what they really owe the government and what can be done when there are honest disputes. Even for amounts not in dispute, the government has established processes to accept less than what is owed, when economic realities truly preclude full payment. To lump honest taxpayers in with the blatant scofflaws and to blithely deride them and call the tax professionals who offer to help them immoral and treasonous is misguided and ill-informed.
David A. Galazin