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The Internal Revenue Service, by the nature of its job, is hated. Taxes are so high that we work longer for the State than feudal villeins in the Middle Ages, who had to devote three months a year to the king’s service.
The result of the sheer cost of neo-feudalist government is that tax collectors are even more detested now than they were in King John’s day. Overspending politicians are to blame.
Attempts by left-leaning bureaucrats at the IRS to abuse their power by maliciously conducting unreasonable audits of center-right individuals and organizations have come to light.
Joseph Farah, WND’s founder, was one of the earliest victims of this clique. His crime: in claiming his spending on books as tax-deductible, he had told the bureaucrats it was no business of theirs what books he reads.
The IRS has tried and failed to charge him $8,000 in back “taxes” and penalties, not because he ought not to have deducted books but because he will not reveal the titles. Now the state of Virginia wants to claim state taxes, too. Joseph is rightly refusing to pay.
This disturbing episode demonstrates that in one important respect the U.S. is less free than the police state Britain has sadly become.
Many years ago the Revenue wrote to demand $200 a year in back taxes on seven years’ worth of dividends on my tiny share portfolio. I owed the money, but I had not realized some of the companies that paid my dividends had not deducted tax first. Yet the Revenue’s opening shot was a demand that I should not only pay but also sign a settlement with them “in consideration of not being prosecuted.”
My accountant told me to sign. I refused and instead wrote to the Revenue demanding an apology for their suggestion that I had done anything criminal. They backed off.
Some years later, I represented a London cleaning company with 600 employees. The Revenue obtained a warrant to raid the company’s offices and allowed the Immigration department to join in.
The company’s lawyers filed for judicial review of the Inland Revenue’s letting Immigration join the raid unwarranted. The lawyers said the case must fail. We won. The Revenue lost money on the deal. They thought the company owed them $3 million (it didn’t), and the back taxes due were less than their lawyers’ fees.
Three years later, the Revenue demanded another $3 million. Again I recommended judicial review. Again we won. The Revenue told the judge I had written them letters they had not liked. The judge said he had read my letters with interest and no little enjoyment and the Revenue had better go away and stop bullying my clients.
Next, the Secret Police, a corrupt outfit founded by the Socialist government in 1998, raided the company’s offices and demanded I should subject myself to voluntary arrest and interview under caution.
I refused and filed a complaint against the Secret Police for the offense of willful misfeasance in a public office. They investigated and exonerated themselves, then circulated a report saying I had “fled to my residence in northern Cyprus,” with which Britain has no extradition treaty.
But I had been living openly for years in the Greek part of Cyprus, a member of the British Commonwealth, and traveling monthly to the U.K. The Secret Police report was a lie.
Enough was enough. I went to the nearest magistrates’ court and got a summons for willful misfeasance. Three days later I had had no confirmation from the court. I rang the clerk. He said, “You were never here.”
I said, “I’m impressed. You are in charge of ten courts and 1,000 cases a week, and instantly you know I was not in court three days ago. Let me tell you what will happen next. You will find the paperwork in the case within five minutes, or my next call will be to the chief magistrate. If you think you will have a job five minutes after that call, think again.”
I slammed the phone down. Four minutes later, the clerk rang to say he had found the paperwork. I demanded, and got, a written apology from the head of the Secret Police, in consideration of their not being prosecuted.
There is the difference between the U.S. and Britain. In the U.S., if officialdom behaves criminally, you have no power to prosecute privately. In England and Wales, everyone – even the Secret Police – is equal before the law.
Not that that stopped the Revenue from sending in two spies in the past few months to find out why I am paying so little tax. The first spy pretended to be a nuclear physicist proposing to relaunch one of my mathematical inventions. He gave himself away in two minutes.
The second spy posed as a journalist for a national newspaper. She wanted to visit my vast estates in Scotland, no doubt hoping to poke around in my neo-Classical palace to count the spoons, add up the Old Masters and make a case that I was living beyond my minuscule declared means.
Nice try, but I rumbled her before the interview. Besides, we sold the palace a decade ago. Now hear this, bureaucrats of Britain. Any more nonsense and I’ll prosecute. A shame Joseph has no right to do the same.