When I got my politically motivated audit notice from the Internal Revenue Service in 2011, I drafted a letter of protest that I wanted my accountant to include in our response to the agency.
My accountant urged me not to do this, and I begrudgingly accepted her advice.
I wanted to let the IRS know that I knew that I was being illegally targeted. Instead, I played along with the audit like a good German, trying not to offend government officials I already knew didn’t like me.
I regret that now.
The result of that audit was a disallowance of most of my schedule C deductions and a bill for over $8,000 in new taxes due and penalties.
What did the IRS want that I refused to provide?
This is interesting.
I’ve never been a tax protester, because I knew that because of my profile, the IRS would love to make an example of me. I’ve never tried to “cheat” the IRS out of a dime it claimed I owed. I decided long ago I would fight in the arena of public opinion rather than in a street fight with people better armed than I.
But I drew a line in the sand on the 2011 audit. I have refused to pay the money the IRS claims I owe. And I will continue to avoid paying it unless and until I am faced with jail or a firing squad. And here’s why …
Most of my deductions were for books I purchased as part of my professional work. Yes, I buy a lot of books. It’s just the nature of what I do as an author, as a speaker, as a commentator and as a journalist. I offered receipts for all of these purchases that included the dates each book was bought, the amount paid and the company (Amazon) I bought them from.
The one thing I omitted were the titles.
I didn’t think it was any of the IRS’ business what I read. I still don’t. But the IRS made it clear that without my providing this additional information, the deductions would be disallowed.
And that’s where the standoff remains today.
To me, it’s bad enough that the IRS has the power to see all my personal financial information. I just don’t think it legitimately has the power to force me to reveal what I read in the privacy of my own home. Does that make sense?
Unfortunately, it did not make sense to the politically motivated auditors at the IRS. Why should it? It was because of my opinions, my writings, my work as a publisher and author that I was targeted in the first place.
To me, it is a double outrage that I would be coerced by monetary penalty to reveal to the IRS the subject matter of what I read.
But, my personal plight just got even more complicated thanks to the Obama administration’s abuse of the IRS – and, I suspect, I am hardly alone given the growing list of victims.
Because of the revision of my 2009 return and the IRS claim that I owe an additional $8,000, the Virginia Department of Taxation just notified me that I owe my home state more, too. I called an official there to plead my case, pointing out that this was one of thousands of political audits conducted by the IRS that are now becoming public. I pointed out that the IRS demanded to know what books I was reading as part of the process. The official was sympathetic but explained, as a matter of policy, that I would first have to resolve the matter with the IRS before Virginia would withdraw its additional claim to my money.
Obviously, having been through this before during the Clinton administration, I know it will take years to prove my case to an unsympathetic, politically motivated IRS that will avoid at all costs admitting its grievous crimes against the American people and the rule of law.
Clinton was long gone before we had the smoking-gun proof that Bill Clinton himself had directed the scrutiny of my activities. A lot of good it did us, because by then the IRS had already given us a clean bill of health.
But I thought you would like to know what this audit was all about – it was an invasive effort by the IRS to get the titles of the books I was buying!
They’ll get that over my dead body.