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I sure hope the folks who say that the computer-threatening Millennium Bug is going to destroy the Internal Revenue Service in the year 2000 are right. Because Congress is clearly not prepared to reform the most feared government agency in America.

All those hearings have led nowhere. The IRS reform package is a collection mostly of provisions already in the law.

The much ballyhooed review board will not fundamentally change the way the IRS operates — especially if they are appointed by the president and other members of the establishment political class.

Then there’s the “burden of proof” provision, of which Rep. Bill Archer and other Republicans are so proud. Big deal. If you go to court with the IRS, the burden of proof will be upon the agency rather than the taxpayer. Unfortunately, 97 percent of the agency’s enforcement never gets to court. Ordinary citizens don’t like to go to court. They don’t have the resources, the time, the stamina to take on the federal government.

But, worse yet, the so-called reforms approved by Congress actually grant more authority to the IRS to collect debts of other agencies — such as school and farm loans.

“Other government agencies have to adhere to basic constitutional protections when they’re collecting debts or taking actions against a citizen,” explains Dan Pilla, author of “IRS, Taxes and the Beast.” “The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t have to. The IRS is the only government agency that is, essentially, free of the constitutional limitations placed on law enforcement.”

Don’t you feel better now? Where would we be without such reforms?

And that’s the problem with this Congress. It has completely missed the point in its efforts to tame the IRS monster. One has to wonder if this is due principally to political naiveté or to a desire to preserve the “statist quo,” as the late Warren Brookes once called it.

Pilla warns there are far more dangerous aspects to the IRS than were ever raised at those congressional hearings.

“The Internal Revenue Service is the only government agency that is determined to number every citizen and track every (financial) transaction,” he says. “There are a lot of people out there who believe there are some biblical implications to this plan. I believe there are some biblical implications to this.”

Pilla refers to passages in Revelation and elsewhere of a global monetary system that is prophesied to be in place in the latter stages of pre-millennial world history.

“There is no question about the fact that the Internal Revenue Service is making a very strong concerted push — uninterrupted push — to number every citizen for the purposes of being able to track every single financial transaction.”

One of the precursors to this stage, he says, is the paperless tax return. With this tool, the IRS will be able to gather information through electronic systems, prepare the taxpayer’s liability and hand you the bill. The IRS is also behind efforts to eliminate cash to make tracking transactions easier, Pilla says.

“Historically, the IRS would audit a tax return and look at your deductions,” says Pilla. “But now the IRS is moving toward the income side of the ledger because there are fewer and fewer deductions available to taxpayers. At the same time, the agency has taken the position that every citizen is cheating on his tax return by hiding income.”

That’s where the “lifestyle audit” comes in, he says. The agency couldn’t care less what you put down on your return. What it wants to know is: What’s going on in your life? Where are you going on vacation? What kind of furniture do you own? What kind of clothes do you wear? Does your personal behavior comport with your stated income?

Pilla’s review of the new IRS manual “describes 47 different elements of a person’s lifestyle that they want to get into and dissect, including your home, your furniture, clothing and jewelry, the trips and vacations that you take, even your level of sophistication, your educational background and your cultural background are called into question.”

The IRS, he says, plans to gather additional information about taxpayers “from other federal and state agencies, as well as local court records, like marriages, divorces, probate actions, lien records, bankruptcies, that sort of thing. And, as if that isn’t enough, they’ve identified business associates, family members and a desire to cultivate informants.”

In spite of its vast resources, the IRS is completely incompetent, says Pilla. The 1995 audit by the General Accounting Office found that about one-third of every accounting transaction by the agency was a correction of a previous entry.

“So, one in three entries that go into their ledger books are mistakes,” he says.

Is this the agency you want poking around in your life? Is this reform? Is this America?

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