IRS should answer public questionsPublished 12:02am Wednesday, October 3, 2012
President Ronald Reagan said in 1986, “I think you all know that I’ve always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Reagan’s words got a big laugh back then and for most conservatives, they’re sadly funny today.
But what happens when the person from the government doesn’t say anything, just files a piece of paper that seems to indicate something fishy has occurred, but won’t answer questions?
That’s exactly what’s happened after the IRS filed federal tax liens against the City of Vidalia for not paying more than $600,000 in taxes and fees.
Vidalia officials have blamed a worker and thus far have said it may be just a simple mistake.
Perhaps it is, but it’s a simple mistake that amounted to a large pile of taxpayer money owed to, well, the taxpayers.
That last part is why it’s so baffling that the IRS’ stance on the matter is simply to shrug off requests for information and point to the paperwork filed at the courthouse.
We understand the reason for having such “no comment” policies regarding a private individual’s income tax information or even a business’ information.
But perhaps the federal policy on being mum needs some revision to include not only the opportunity, but the obligation to explain to local taxpayers what’s occurred when their own government is accused of scoffing the law — intentionally or not.
If wrongdoing has occurred, the public needs to know. If the matter is simply an oversight, the public needs to know that, too.
Reagan must certainly be shaking his head at how the federal government can potentially make something worse even without saying a word.