The employees of the IRS continue to use their power of Interpreting Tax Regulations in order to make one thing very clear: if you are not a good little Democrat, sit down, shut up, and hope you don’t get noticed. Do not, under any circumstances, point out that the Emperor wears no clothes.
Nor should anyone make the mistake of thinking that they’ve been carefully following the law. It’s been well established that the law has been deliberately made literally impossible to follow, because its labyrinthine complexity is beyond human comprehension. This is exactly what a reigning bureaucracy wants, because under these conditions, whatever they say the law is today is what goes. Glenn Reynolds has addressed this issue multiple times; in one memorable experiment, a relatively “simple” hypothetical tax situation was presented to three professional tax preparing companies – and they got three different answers. The “law” is not The Law, but rather “whatever the IRS employee currently harassing you wishes it to be.”
It would still be a bad thing, if the law were so complex that no one could follow it even with the best will on Earth. Partisan bureaucrats deliberately using their powers of audit to harass their political opponents? As Smitty says – “This IRS thuggery is precisely the sort of heavy-handedness this country was founded to preclude, not enable.”