Each tax season, says J.D. Tuccille, Managing Editor of Reason 24/7, as the U.S. federal government's ongoing spending spree grows ever-more clearly uncontrollable, politicians' proposals inevitably turn to collecting taxes owed under the law, but never paid. Closing the so-called "tax gap" is an easy sell to the public because it sounds like simple fairness. But the IRS is already the envy of international tax collectors for its results.
The chance of the United States government collecting the tax revenue its official predictions now call for is about zilch. When government officials don't get what they want, they tend to escalate. That has happened with Prohibition, the war on drugs, efforts to stamp out Internet gambling — and tax enforcement. Tactics get nastier, and nastier, and — as they don't achieve the desired result — turn increasingly abusive.
So, as politicians and talking heads chatter on about closing the tax gap, keep in mind that they're talking about waging an unwinnable but still nasty war — against you.