The IRS is Not a Bully – You can poke a bully in the nose.


The IRS is Not a Bully

You can poke a bully in the nose.

This is the third installment of “The IRS is Not a Bully” series, identifying taxpayer concerns and the difficult position in which Congress puts the IRS. Namely, applying ever increasing pressure to operate in ways its founders never intended, until it’s commonly misunderstood and misused; much like the schoolyard bully that seems more like a victim upon closer examination.

Recent IRS Events

Including a scandal involving bonuses to its workers disciplined for misconduct, and struggles keeping up with the increasing number of fraud cases, have focused renewed attention on its practices. Without question, the this agency is an important part of our government. The vast majority of IRS employees are reasonable, honest and competent professionals, just doing what Congress dictates.

Once upon a time, their agents had a reputation for being ethical, organized and ultimately fair – even when loathed. Now it’s often viewed as a collection agency focused primarily on revenue generation. With thousands of employees, simple statistics tell us that a certain number of its staff will put personal gain or advancement ahead of fairness. But despite media reports to the contrary, the IRS itself is not a bully.

In his April WSJ article, “IRS Workers Disciplined for Misconduct Were Awarded Bonuses”, John D. McKinnon raised some excellent points while uncovering some real concerns. According to the Treasury Inspector General report, misconduct ranged from misuse of government travel cards and violation of official-conduct standards, to fraud and failure to pay taxes!

This is not a flattering view of any organization. Further, how can citizens know they’re only being asked to pay their fair share of taxes when reports undermine the very integrity of individuals tasked with communicating these messages? Many taxpayers not only complain about the messages, but the messengers, too. Even a mere specter of unfairness or lack of ethics on any part of the IRS can give the general public cause for concern, and possibly, to react in-kind.

Not surprisingly, there just happens to be a corresponding rise in tax return fraud cases too. So, is there more fraud due to the publicity of certain conduct by IRS employees, or is the conduct of certain IRS employees a result of increased tax return fraud? Either way, the agency is overwhelmed by the millions of potentially fraudulent tax returns and identity theft cases.

Not a Bully

The government desperately needs money and views the estimated $300 billion “tax gap” (the difference between taxes collected and what’s actually owed to the government)[3] as rightfully theirs. Unfortunately, more aggressive collection policies only make millions of honest taxpayers being audited feel like they’re being unfairly bullied. But Congress keeps writing tax laws and selecting leaders that seem content to pile more responsibility onto the shoulders of the IRS to squeeze law abiding citizens for additional money – whether they owe it or not – acting a lot like, well, a bully taking lunch money.

Our CPA firm specializes in very complicated and international tax work; so, we have lots of experience helping many clients pay only the taxes owed. If a client wishes to pay less, we invite them to find another CPA firm. We take great pride in helping our clients sleep better at night knowing their proper tax obligations are met, and not a penny more. If they do have the misfortune of being selected for an audit, we can help them with that, too, by having the right answers.

You don’t have to stand for the bully grabbing what it isn’t his to take. Particularly, if you have an expert tax professional that has your back. For more information, contact us at (510) 797-8661 or visit

We hope you found this article helpful.  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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