Death and Taxes

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CONCORD, N.H.: That was no suicide, says librarian Shirley Barron. That was my husband, driven over the edge by the IRS in its attempt to collect $330,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. Remembers Barron: "He didn't sleep very well. He was nervous and fidgety. He lived on Maalox." Armed with a telltale suicide note (the IRS "sits, does nothing, and watches you die"), Ms. Barron now hopes to collect $1 million in compensation under a recent tax law amendment designed to keep too-passionate IRS agents at bay. Undeterred by feelings of guilt, the taxman has slapped liens on the couple's house and $400,000 in life insurance policies. They'll get that money if it kills her.