Before going into private practice, I was an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel, in Washington, DC. I worked in the Passthroughs and Special Industries division, and primarily drafted private letter rulings, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, and regulations.
On my very first day there, I was told that my sole responsibility was as follows: FIND THE CORRECT ANSWER. The means examine the facts, examine the law and reach a conclusion. It did not matter if the correct answer favored the government or favored a taxpayer. My job wasn’t to raise revenue, but to do what is right. And through my entire 7 years there, through the second half of Bill Clinton’s second term, and all of Bush’s first term, no matter who I was working for, that never changed.
I think that every single IRS employee, no matter what their position should follow that same credo. And for a great great majority, they do. As much as people hate to pay taxes, my experience with IRS employees has always been positive, and I have found them to be hard working honest professionals. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Please read this outrageous story from Peter Pappas, in which an IRS agent contacted and harassed his client directly event though the agent knew the client was represented by Counsel. I won’t describe what happened here, but will let you go see for yourself.