The New York Times reports that anti-tax extremists are physically threatening company payroll people:
With Internet promoters fanning the flames and enforcement shriveling, the claims of ... "tax deniers" have become so widespread that the annual conference of the American Payroll Association began here on Monday with a class on how to deal with tax protesters.
... the room fell silent when Michael O'Toole, the association's government relations senior director, told of payroll clerks being assaulted by workers enraged over taxes being withheld....
Payroll officials should be careful with such people, Mr. O'Toole warned. "They may not be very nice," he said. "They could be dangerous."
That prompted Dennis Carroll, who handles tax-denier claims by United States Postal Service workers, to announce, "I work behind three locked doors."...
But surely the government wants to do something about such scofflaws, especially in times of massive government debt ... right?
Mr. O'Toole and others said years of slow or no action to enforce the tax laws, especially against employers who boast of not withholding taxes, had emboldened others to undermine the system in less aggressive ways.
...I.R.S. regulations allow an employer to reject a W-4 form only when it is submitted. If an employer learns later that an employee has given a fake Social Security number, it cannot reject the W-4, though it can notify the I.R.S., which, being severely short-handed, is unlikely to act.
Yup -- payroll people are in physical danger and right-wing wackos are avoiding their tax obligations because Newt Gingrich's goons neutered the IRS in the 1990s.
Back then, the GOP Congress conducted what was effectively a show trial of the IRS. Horror stories about alleged IRS abuse made headlines, and the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 was passed. This was seen as a way for decent citizens to get back at the jackbooted tax-collecting thugs, but, as The New York Times reported in 2000,
...not one of the first 830 complaints of taxpayer harassment filed under the new law has been upheld by the IRS or its new, congressionally designated watchdog, according to new data.
Investigations by the IRS and its watchdog, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, found evidence that some of the complaints were bogus -- made in an effort to derail audits and tax collections. Others were either without merit or involved misconduct that fell far short of the congressional definition of harassment. ...
One result of the new law has been extreme caution by IRS workers, especially those involved in sensitive audits and collections against those who owe taxes past due. Many IRS employees have become much less aggressive in collection efforts while others say dust gathers on their requests for permission to take enforcement actions. Collection has grown so lax that some prominent tax advisers said in interviews last year that they were amazed that the IRS was not trying to collect taxes owed by their clients.
But, of course, all this jibes with GOP dogma: Taxation is theft; government is evil; we should all keep every dime we earn, and the elves and fairies can build the roads and run the schools and put out the fires and fight the wars.