Stock image: Lady justice and a compass. Credit: Alexander Limbach/Adobe Stock

With its stated mission, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that it seeks to provide America's taxpayers with "top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities," while the agency enforces the law "with integrity and fairness to all." Subsections of this mission include:

  • In the United States, the Congress passes tax laws and requires taxpayers to comply.
  • The taxpayer's role is to understand and meet his or her tax obligations.
  • The IRS's role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share.

For the most part, the IRS does a good job of upholding these standards. The agency has brought down the likes of Al Capone and continues to challenge organized crime and criminal enterprises through the work of its criminal investigation division.

Although much of the IRS's work is good and responsible, many taxpayers and business owners in recent years have been unfairly targeted by an organized and illegal IRS FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign. Companies that utilize captive insurance, in particular, have been unfairly maligned, burdened, and attacked by the IRS for engaging in so-called "abusive tax shelters." However, affected taxpayers were relieved of some of the burdens of the IRS's illegal conduct when CIC Services challenged the IRS and won a unanimous decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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