How powerful is the IRS?

The Internal Revenue Service is the oldest, largest, and, in some ways, the most powerful enforcement agency in the country. In fact, the IRS could well be the most powerful organization within the United States. They caught Al Capone, jailed Wesley Snipes and had a long battle with Willie Nelson over the non-payment of taxes. The IRS can audit anyone in the country for any reason.

The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce internal tax laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The last time Democrats were in power, the IRS wrongly used its authority to attack and harass taxpayers, especially conservative non-profit organizations. Bovard mentions that President Richard Nixon (of course) and President Bill Clinton also used tax powers to persecute their enemies, but this is the bottom line. So if the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, wants someone from the IRS to go to jail for misusing their power in the IRS, perhaps he should ask Congress to start monitoring them.

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