Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoughts From the IRS Commissioner

In an unusual (and brief) fit of boredom, I read an e-mail I received from the IRS (Note: As a tax preparer, I get e-mails regularly. I'm on their list. Nothing more). It included the prepared remarks of IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman at the National Press Club yesterday. You can read the whole thing here, if you are so minded. Here are a few tasty excerpts:

You also see police officers and guards keeping a close watch over their safety… park rangers giving directions or explaining a bit of history…landscapers keeping the City beautiful…and teachers leading and educating their students.

And they have one thing in common. They’re all public servants, who are working to serve our fellow citizens, families, neighbors and friends.

However, there are other public servants you probably won’t see, including thousands of IRS employees who right now are answering taxpayer questions over the phones, processing returns, issuing refunds and helping taxpayers struggling through these tough economic times.

And that’s what I want to talk about today: public servants and public service…

The first of the big refundable tax credits – the Earned Income Tax Credit – was enacted in 1975, and it was official: The tax system and the IRS were now viewed by policymakers as an efficient distribution system for societal benefits, not just the mechanism to raise the funds to run the government.

Let me conclude with this thought. I firmly believe that the spirit of public service is part of who we are as IRS employees.

But the men and women of the IRS are often under-appreciated public servants. At its core, we are an agency of professionals working to serve the hardworking taxpayers of this country: processing returns, sending out refunds, answering questions on the phone, and trying to help people navigate a complicated tax system.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions for now.

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