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Hearings on Complaints About the IRS

October 01, 1997

The current tax system is a mess and the hearings into IRS abuses (Sept. 25-26) are but a small symptom of this. The recent "tax cuts" are more like social engineering experiments and don't affect single people like myself, yet our Democratic president insists that he's for "tax fairness." In passing the recent "tax accountant full employment act," President Clinton has given more and more power to an agency that should be disbanded.

Acting IRS Commissioner Michael P. Dolan's apologies ring hollow in the face of overriding evidence that the IRS is an agency whose time has never come.

We should simplify the tax code to one line: All households making a minimum income, which is to be determined, or more annually shall be taxed at the rate of 15%. Period.

CHRIS PALEY

Los Angeles

* Re "IRS Horror Stories: It's Time to Clean House," editorial," Sept. 26: Before she retired about six years ago, my wife worked at the IRS El Monte office, where the taxpayers were disdainfully referred to as "those turkeys." She worked both in taxpayer service and in problem resolution.

At certain times of the year, there are many requests for a particular form. The procedure my wife was supposed to follow was to get the taxpayer's address and number of the form. This was put on an order sheet and sent to Fresno to be filled, usually taking about three weeks before the taxpayer received the form.

My wife kept a couple of dozen of those forms in her desk. When she received an urgent request, she wrote the name and address on an envelope, inserted the form and mailed it the same day. This had to be done surreptitiously.

The attitude of the managers was that the "turkeys" were the enemy, a source of annoyance.

BEN HOFFMAN

Monterey Park

* We never hear horror stories about the way the California State Board of Equalization collects sales tax. Not even the IRS receives abuse for the collection of excise taxes on gasoline, tires or telephones.

Congress created the burdensome, inefficient, expensive and unfair dragon known as the income tax. Don't blame the IRS for trying to administer a tax system that tempts all of us to pay as little as possible or to not pay at all. Let Congress slay the dragon and replace the income tax with fairer, hassle-free consumption taxes.

JOHN ANDERSON

Granada Hills

* "Congress Gets More Liberal With Itself" (Sept. 28) started me to think. Which members of Congress prepare their own income tax returns without professional help?

How big a bonus would induce members of Congress to prepare their own returns without professional help? My guess is that no member prepares his or her own return.

It seems that every time Congress enacts new tax laws, the returns get more complicated. Filling out their own returns may give them a touch of the reality that faces their constituents.

WILLIAM BUCHMAN

Los Angeles

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