Is The IRS Above the Law?


Is The IRS Above the Law?

By Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax)
Managing Partner
Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co. LLP

Have you ever wondered how the IRS truly operates? Have you ever contacted someone from the IRS with a tax problem or question and discovered that the person on the other end of the line probably knew less about your question than you did? People have many complaints about the IRS, not the least of which is the fact that the IRS seems to do whatever it feels like doing without any repercussion. Well, if that’s how you feel you’re not alone. In fact, even the IRS acknowledges that it doesn’t always play by the rules.

Laws Are Optional

According to reports, John Koskinen, the Commissioner of the IRS admitted as much in recent testimony before the U.S. Congress, when he said that the IRS follows the law “whenever we can.” From that statement it would definitely appear that obeying the law is optional for the IRS. So how can that be? Actually, the fact is, the IRS, just like many other government agencies, is quite adept at breaking the law on a regular basis.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Some might consider the evidence against the taxman staggering. That’s because according to the annual report of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, during the review period that ended June 2012, 30 percent of the time, the federal tax agency violated the law in regards to asset seizures. That was a 22 percent increase from the previous year.

We Didn’t See Anything

Meantime, the only thing that might be even more staggering than these numbers is the fact that little or nothing seems to be done to stop the IRS from ignoring the law. It would seem that Congress and the courts both turn their head the other way when it comes to the IRS’s lack of compliance with the law. That’s because the U.S. tax code is full of benefits for special interest groups. Plus, not only do taxpayers have a hard time understanding U.S. tax laws, but many employees of the IRS have no idea themselves how the tax code works.

Change Seems Far Fetched

There is little chance that things will change any time soon, either. With so many powerful lobbyists and special interest groups with their hands in so many politicians’ pockets in Washington, there is likely to be no repercussion for the IRS going forward. Plus, tax laws are also plagued by so much abuse because there are so many opportunities to take advantage of the confusing tax code.

More Bad Behavior

A closer look at the IRS’s bad behavior shows that without due process, in the past year, the IRS seized tax refunds of adult children of taxpayers who years ago had reportedly received more federal benefits than to which they were entitled. The IRS was also recently found to have been opening emails without warrants. Again, it appears that lawmakers and the courts simply turn their heads the other way and ignore the bad behavior. Essentially that means that the IRS will most likely continue to break the law simply because it can.

Contact GROCO

Although we can’t stop the IRS from breaking the law, at GROCO we can help you save as much on your taxes as legally possible. Just contact us today for help at 1-877-CPA-2006.

If you have questions or need expert tax or family office advice that’s refreshingly objective (we never sell investments), please contact us or visit our Family office page  or our website at  Unfortunately, we no longer give advice to other tax professionals gratis.

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Alan Olsen, CPA

Alan Olsen, is the Host of the American Dreams Show and the Managing Partner of  GROCO is a premier family office and tax advisory firm located in the San Francisco Bay area serving clients all over the world.


Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio is a proud sponsor of The American Dreams Show.



The American Dreams show was the brainchild of Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA. It was originally created to fill a specific need; often inexperienced entrepreneurs lacked basic information about raising capital and how to successfully start a business. Alan sincerely wanted to respond to the many requests from aspiring entrepreneurs asking for the information and introductions they needed. But he had to find a way to help in which his venture capital clients and friends would not mind.

The American Dreams show became the solution, first as a radio show and now with YouTube videos as well. Always respectful of interview guest’s time, he’s able to give access to individuals information and inspiration previously inaccessible to the first-time entrepreneurs who need it most. They can listen to venture capitalists and successful business people explain first-hand, how they got to where they are, how to start a company, how to overcome challenges, how they see the future evolving, opportunities, work-life balance and so much more..

American Dreams discusses many topics from some of the world’s most successful individuals about their secrets to life’s success. Topics from guest have included:

Creating purpose in life / Building a foundation for their life / Solving problems / Finding fulfillment through philanthropy and service / Becoming self-reliant / Enhancing effective leadership / Balancing family and work…

Untitled_Artwork copy 4 (Also sponsored by GROCO) provides free access to content and world-class entrepreneurs, influencers and thought leaders’ personal success stories. To help you find your path in life to true, sustainable success & happiness.  It’s mission statement:

In an increasingly complex and difficult world, we hope to help you find your personal path in life and build a strong foundation by learning how others found success and happiness. True and sustainable success and happiness are different for each one of us but possible, often despite significant challenges. Our mission at is to provide resources and firsthand accounts of how others found their paths in life, so you can do the same.

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