IRS: You Are Your Relative's Guarantor

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

At RealClear Markets is a shocking story about the IRS coming after someone over a debt incurred by a relative:

The IRS once again spits in our faces and tells us it's raining. (Image by United States Department of the Treasury, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
Two years later, and twelve years after her last interaction with the trust, the IRS tried to make up the difference by holding Pickens personally liable for the entire $10 million tax bill, as the trustees were out of cash for the IRS to seize. Never mind that by that point the IRS had had nearly fifteen years to protect its interest in the trustees' tax debt with all the tools at its disposal, or that the tax bill exceeded what Pickens had received from the trust in the first place -- the IRS still simply chose to target the next closest relative.
It is bad enough that the IRS exists at all, but so long as it does, it should at least confine its looting to the money of whatever individual taxpayer violates a given matter of tax law.

This is a new low.

Curious about the case, I briefly searched the news for the victim, and learned that, on top of the sin of possessing more money than another person, she will probably be relatively easy for the media to kick around.

This does not matter: It is an outrage that someone is being subjected to this kind of treatment, and the article rightly warns us of the principle at stake:
[T]he IRS tends to apply its most aggressive tax enforcement tactics against rich and poor alike. If the IRS is saying that it thinks taxpayers should be held liable for their relatives' tax debt, taxpayers of all income levels should believe it.
Pickens may not be the most likable person around, but she is hardly in a league with the Nazis and Klansmen often held up as examples of what we must tolerate in the name of protecting freedom of speech. Nor is she the guilty criminal who escapes jail in the name of due process -- which, by the way, she is entitled to.

Madeleine Pickens does not deserve this, nor does anyone else unfortunate enough to be related to a deadbeat.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

A friend of mine whose family deals with commercial real estate had donated a large building to a charitable cause and because of the cost of the building and the write-off involved, they had gone to IRS for confirmation that what they had done and how they had written it off was in accord with IRS practices.

Fast forward 20 years.

The IRS disallowed the deduction despite their paperwork indicating that it conformed with standard IRS practices and charged the company for back taxes that had been offset by the charitable donation, plus penalties and interest for the ensuing 20 years.

Back in the 1980s, Solzhenitsyn said that the IRS was the closest thing that the United States had to the KGB BECAUSE of their complete lack of accountability.

I'm of the opinion that one of the ways we could best defend liberty is to remove the idea of immunity from government actors. Because they are never held to account by the system of which they are a part, there should be room for civil action against malefactors hiding behind a gov't position.

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

That is nuts. At the very least, citizens should be off the hook when the agency going after them SAID WHAT THEY DID is fine.