Characteristics of Extreme Anti-IRS Wackos

Characteristics of Extreme Anti-IRS Wackos

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iam_not_crazy_by_jump_buttonI am no fan of big government and inefficient bureacracy, but I loath to the core anti-government maniacs who would do harm to federal employees. They are terrorists of the worst kind – even worse than the Islamofascist true believers formerly hunkered down in the caves of Damadola.

But as disturbing as it is, I really can’t say I’m surprised that the less hinged among us would use last month’s Austin tax bomber tragedy as an excuse to threaten federal employees.

Here’s the Washington Post:

Threats against Internal Revenue Service workers and facilities continue to pour in after last month’s plane crash at agency offices in Austin, according to union officials. The pilot and an IRS employee died in the crash.

IRS watchdogs are investigating more than 70 reported instances of inappropriate comments made to agency workers by taxpayers, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said Wednesday. Workers have received a mix of inappropriate verbal comments — including jokes or statements of support for pilot Andrew Joseph Stack — and more serious threats, she said.

Kelley learned of the threats from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which tracks threats against IRS workers:

“TIGTA is actively and aggressively investigating all threats made against IRS employees, infrastructure and property,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration. His office and the IRS have instructed workers to report threats immediately. “It would be a little naive to think that we don’t get some threats over the course of doing business,” said IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons.

Attacks and threats against IRS workers and facilities are nothing new and are not confined to the annual spring tax filing season, Lemons said. People have rammed cars into offices as well as set them on fire. And some people have taken out hits on agency employees, he said.

The ongoing probe is unfolding in the aftermath of last week’s attack on the Pentagon in which a gunman wounded two police officers outside the entrance before he was fatally shot.

I have been dealing with IRS employees for more than two decades and have personally witnessed highly agitated, unstable taxpayers make serious threats against them.¹ Threats against IRS officials are so common, in fact, that collection employees frequently use aliases to shield themselves against nutjobs who would do them harm.

Here are the characteristics I have found common to anti-IRS lunatics:

  • Lack of personal responsibility – If you could rewind the lives of these people and view them on your DVD, you would find that they have long histories of  blaming everyone but themselves for their problems. For a good example of this, read my blog post about Joe Stack titled IRS Bomber Blamed Everyone But Himself;
  • Extreme paranoia – To a man, these folks believe that the IRS has a personal vendetta against them. This feeling persists even where they owe a relatively nominal amount, have been given many opportunities to present their side of the story, and have consulted with several experienced tax professionals who have told them the IRS is right;
  • Relationship problems– In addition to their IRS problem, the lives of these disturblings are riddled with difficulties. They almost always lack deep and satisfying relationships often having estranged themselves from their wives, children and siblings. Inevitably, those wives, children and siblings have become part of the vast worldwide conspiracy against them.
  • Narcissism – Lunatic tax protestors truly believe the world revolves around them; that everything bad that happens is somehow directed personally at them. Their self-absorption extends even to natural phenemona, like the weather. I knew one radical loony tune who as he was leaving my office noticed it had begun to rain. He pounded his hand on my desk and squealed like a stuck boar, “why is this always happening to me?
  • Gullibility – I could have approached Joe Stack two months ago and told him that the federal government was instituting a secret plan to exterminate everyone with an engineering degree and he would have immediately stocked up on canned foods and commenced building a bunker. And these are the same folks who believe others are gullible and naive for believing that the we landed on the Moon.
  • Middle-Agedness – Extreme anti-goverment cretins are almost always between the ages of 45 and 65. Life apparently hasn’t worked out for them the way they wished it had.² But instead of flying a plane into a building, why not do what every other red-blooded, American male in the throes of a mid-life crisis does: Buy a red sports car and date a hot blonde.
  • Maleness – There are of course female anti-taxers, but they are rarely among the most extreme and almost always have adopted their radical attitudes at the behest of a man.


¹  Even though these individuals have attorney-client privilege and their communications to me are confidential, the rules of ethics impose upon lawyers an affirmative duty to prevent the occurrrence of a future crime. Consequently, if a synaptically-challenged tax protestor says he intends to hurt an IRS employee, I am required to disclose that statement to the threatened employee and his or her supervisor.

That is precisely what I did a few years ago when a deranged client told me that if a certain IRS employee showed up at his house or business again he would shoot her and then kill himself. It turned out, happily, that he was just bluffing, but I wasn’t about to take that chance. And, of course, I immediately terminated my representation of him, which promptly put me on his hit list.

²  With the possible exception of Hugh Heffner, I suspect life hasn’t turned out for any of us the way we wished it had.

About Peter Pappas

Peter is a tax attorney and certified public acccountant with over 20 years experience helping taxpayers resolve their IRS and state tax problems.

He has represented thousands of taxpayers who have been experiencing difficulty dealing with the Internal Revenue Service or State tax officials.

He is a member of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Bar Association and The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court, the United States Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts - Middle District of Florida

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  1. Eneils Bailey says:

    Yes, I agree that harming any individual at the IRS about a tax liability or problem is a despicable act of terrorism.
    But,I bet the “Islamofascist true believers formerly hunkered down in the caves of Damadola” never had to file a 1040 with a personal check attached. Just kidding, I pay my taxes every year. Please don’t turn me in to the IRS.
    I think you are right on the money with your your “Characteristics of the Anti-Tax Wackos.”
    Tough economic times seem to foster an increase in this type of behavior. I am not suffering any economic troubles now and don’t see any for the future, but I ran into a situation 25 to 30 years ago (divorce, extended unemployment) and your world does tend to close in on you. Any problems you have in your personal life tend to sneak over and envelope you like a tight fitting, itchy wool sweater on a hot summer day.
    It becomes difficult to look far ahead and see a suitable remedy to your problems. I think it would be possible to let the behavior associated with some of those characteristics start to control your life if you withdraw and don’t have a decent family support system.
    If the economic hard times continue, it will have a tendency to affect other aspects of people’s lives and lead to more aberrant behavior.
    I just hope people will be OK, believe things will get better, and realize money and things in and by themselves does not make things better.

  2. James Jones says:

    I would like to talk to you. 417-527-0056. I got mixed up in tax protesting when I tried to make it right the IRS would not deal with me any suggestions?

  3. This author assumes way too much & talks as if his assumptions are fact. Thanks for the wasted time.

  4. Ray,

    Only my assumptions are fact. Yours are just assumptions.

  5. The list of characteristics of anti-IRS lunatics is right on target. I would add that while most of them do appear to be middle-aged males, I have found (in dealing with them only on the internet) that emotionally many of them seem to be child-like. This seems to go with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the unwillingness to take personal responsibility (disclaimer: I am a lawyer/CPA, not a psychologist).

  6. Larry,

    Thanks for the comment.

    If you’re a lawyer and a CPA, you’re probably a psychologist, too. And you are right on about these folks being child-like and narcissitic. Just like a 4 year old, they think the world revolves around them.

    How silly. Everyone knows it revolves around me.

  7. It’s no excuse, but people get scared. When they do, they exhibit all of the above characteristics, whether you’re talking of learned or unlearned people. It’s unfortunate that people think the IRS is this great big bogeyman. It’s also symptomatic of the fanatic that they overlook any good in those they demonize. The IRS has made tremendous strides toward flexibility and friendliness toward the taxpayer and I don’t think they get much credit for that at all.

  8. Is it fine to insert part of this in my web site if perhaps I post a reference to this web site?

  9. Pump,

    Thanks for asking before doing it. I think the rule is that you a) credit your source b) make it clear that it is not your orginal work (usually by using blockquotes) and c) include a link to the source site.

    That’s what I do.