William Henck: Koskinen and me

John Koskinen’s term as IRS Commissioner ended earlier this month. The New York Times asserted that Koskinen “left on his own terms.” I’m afraid the Times got that right.

In the course of his celebratory interview with the Times and another interview with Politico, however, Koskinen may have violated section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code by acknowledging President Trump’s tax returns. I don’t make much of that, but the professional publication Tax Analysts took up the issue with Koskinen. Koskinen asserted that any violation was inadvertent.

Our occasional contributor Bill Henck is senior attorney in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel. Tax Analysts notes that Bill is being forced to retire at the end of this month, more than four years early, because he blew the whistle on a multibillion dollar fraud, with the IRS claiming he violated section 6103 privacy protections in the process. Bill writes to comment:

Former Commissioner Koskinen clearly violated section 6103 by discussing President Trump’s tax returns. However, he shrugged it off by characterizing it as inadvertent. It is obvious that nothing will happen to him. By contrast, the IRS twisted section 6103 to retaliate against me for being a whistleblower. As I have stated before, IRS executives believe that they are above the law because they are, in fact, above the law. Although the IRS has the legal authority to enforce the Internal Revenue Code, it has lost the moral authority to do so.

Apart from the moral aspect, this creates a major problem for the U.S. government. America’s voluntary tax compliance rate is the envy of the world and Americans can take justifiable pride in it. However, with IRS executives getting away with bullying, lying, cheating, and other misconduct, Americans may tire of their tax enforcement agency saying “do as we say, not as we do.” My family and I have paid a very high price for my speaking out about IRS corruption and I fear it has been in vain. I love our country and what I have witnessed makes me sick.

Bill’s previous contributions to Power Line are accessible here.

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