The IRS Is Back

Bully tactics are gone, but the revamped agency is again turning its attention to enforcement

As the economic slowdown threatens to become a recession and the stock market shows all the buoyancy of a crowbar, you may well ask: Can things get any worse? Of course they can. Remember when the Internal Revenue Service regularly tortured taxpayers with backbreaking audits and slapped liens on personal property faster than you could say Schedule C? Well, the Bean Counters from Hell are back and laying the groundwork for a fresh assault.

New enforcement efforts won't be anywhere near as brutal as those that came to light during the 1997 to '98 congressional hearings, which shamed the IRS into...

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