The IRS is shut down, along with much of the rest of the federal government, but unattended servers running on autopilot are sensing that no progress has been made on taxpayers' attempts to clarify disputed and overdue bills, and so they are initiating asset seizure proceedings.
Read the rest “From the empty, shutdown IRS, automated processes are sending out property seizure notices, and no human can stop them”
Will Smith never planned on being an actor. He never planned on being broke and in debt to the IRS, either. In this video, Smith breaks down how being bad with money started him down the road to becoming one of the biggest TV and film stars in the world. Read the rest “Being terrible with money set Will Smith on the path to super stardom”
Congratulations, America! The electronic federal tax filing system offered by the Internal Revenue Service so you can file your taxes today just crashed. Read the rest “IRS E-File system crashes on Tax Day because LOL nothing matters”
In 2013, Tea Party activists claimed that they'd been singled out by the IRS for political reasons, and that's why their associated nonprofits were not being approved by the tax agency. In reality, a longrunning investigation found that the IRS was merely incompetent and understaffed, but the Tea Party's tactic of going after the referee rather than the system worked for them: the result was an IRS that has had its resources cut even further, leaving it less -- nor more -- able to evaluate charitable organizations that apply for tax-exempt status.
Read the rest “The Tea Party's baseless claims of IRS discrimination left the agency on life-support, unable to police dark money gushing through "charities"”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that he didn't expect the risk of fraud to go up this tax-filing season despite the world-beating Equifax breach of 145,000,000 Americans' sensitive personal and financial data because a "significant" number of Equifax's breaches had already been exposed by earlier breaches of other databases. Read the rest “IRS to America: you were probably already doxed before the Equifaxpocalype, so don't worry about it”
On September 29, weeks after Equifax admitted to having lost the most sensitive financial and personal information of 143,000,000 Americans (but a week before Equifax admitted that the total was actually 145,500,000) (and counting), the IRS awarded the company a no-bid contract for $7,250,000 to verify taxpayer identities and curtail fraud. Read the rest “After massive breach Equifax gets $7.25m no-bid IRS contract to "prevent fraud"”
Banks have to report deposits of $10,000 or more to the IRS, so some fraudsters "structure" their transactions as a string of sub-$10K payments that escape the regulatory requirement. Structuring is also illegal, and the IRS has the power to seize funds that the agency believes were part of a structuring scheme, under the discredited "civil fofeiture" process through which an inanimate object is sued for being the proceeds of a crime, and then the owner of that object has to prove that the object is "innocent." Read the rest “The IRS deliberately targeted innocents for civil forfeiture program that stole millions from Americans”
The National Policy Institute is Richard Spencer's white nationalist group, registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which can receive tax-free contributions from donors. Read the rest “Punched Nazi loses tax-exempt status”
Seagate has emailed its employees and ex-employees to warn them that someone in the company sent their W2 tax data to a criminal who pulled off a successful phishing fraud. Read the rest “Phishers make off with W2 tax forms for several thousand Seagate employees”
Michael sez, "Sometimes a simple 'no' can be better than what agencies consider a response when it comes to Freedom of Information. J. Pat Brown over at FOIA powerhouse MuckRock discovered that the hard way when, after a request for information on information about the IRS's whisteblower office resulted in documents being sent on a CD ... that was fully encrypted ... using a Windows only app ... where the password was sent along in a separate letter." Read the rest “IRS responds to records request with encrypted CD full of blacked-out documents”
Radical archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Since 2008, Public.Resource.Org has been trying to get the IRS to release the database of the annual reports of nonprofits in a better way. The nonprofit sector in the U.S. represents $1.5 trillion in economic activity and over 9% of jobs." Read the rest “IRS finally agrees to do something about its $1.5 trillion nonprofit database”
In a disturbing precedent, the Yorba Foundation, which makes apps for GNU/Linux, has had its nonprofit status application rejected by the IRS because some of projects may benefit for-profit entities. Read the rest “IRS says free software projects can't be nonprofits”
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Due to inaction by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Congress, Public.Resource.Org has been forced to terminate access to 7,634,050 filings of nonprofit organizations. The problem is that we have been fixing the database, providing better access mechanisms and finding and redacting huge numbers of Social Security Numbers. Our peers such as GuideStar are also fixing their copies of the database." Read the rest “IRS won't fix database of nonprofits, so it goes dark”
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "I just finished ripping 30 DVDs from the IRS. This is the monthly feed of nonprofit tax returns. I now have 7,442,564 of these returns spinning on the net. I've had it.
This year, the IRS upped the cost of this feed to $2910. I've already spent $16,137 on this brain dead format. For 2 years, I've been writing to the IRS to suggest better ways. Dropbox anybody? An FTP server?" Read the rest “Tell the IRS that mountains of DVDs are a stupid way to distribute public records”
Remember when rogue archivist Carl Malamud asked the IRS for data on $1.5 trillion worth of data from nonprofit organizations? Well, it turns out that the IRS has totally failed to redact it properly, and left in the Social Security Numbers for thousands of people. So they've asked the IRS to take the database down and get it right. He explains:
Public.Resource.Org has issued a statement explaining why we asked the I.R.S. to temporarily take their political money database off the Internet and why they complied with our request.
This database is a vital tool for researchers and we apologize to those of you that use this database on a daily basis.
This is only one of several exempt organization databases that the IRS has totally bungled. They've become addicted to bad Internet hygiene and it is time now for the Service to admit it needs help.
We deserve better for the public filings of exempt organizations, a category that makes up 10% of US wages and over $1.5 trillion in economic activity. Let's hope the administration takes this seriously and sends in the A team.
Why We Asked the I.R.S. to Temporarily Turn the Lights Off on Section 527 Data
(Thanks, Carl!) Read the rest “IRS database of nonprofits is filled with unredacted SSNs”