In the history of mankind, has a tax collection agency ever been permanently wiped out? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I once heard that some kind of beetle has survived longer than any living species. I think tax collectors have the beetles beat. Even when countries are overwhelmed and beaten in war the new government keeps the tax system alive.

After WW2, in war-torn Europe, tax collectors rode horses to get to the people who had little or no money. Tax collectors operated for hundreds of years before the use of a postal system. Some believe that tax collecting is the worlds oldest profession. When governments are collapsing, the tax collectors are given more manpower and resources, not less.

It seems inconceivable that the IRS could operate without computers. However, if the digits really hit the fan and unemployment is high I'll bet the lines would be long for the job of being the neighborhood tax collector. They would be given all the gasoline and anything else that they would need.

Given this historical record, why do some poeple think that they won't have to pay taxes after Jan 2000?

-- Historyman (, February 03, 1999


25 percent of zero = zero

-- Caroline Bulford (, February 03, 1999.

If the IRS has any problems, it won't be due to lack of manpower. It will be lack of anyone intelligent and patient enough to untangle and recover the world's biggest mess of tangled-up networks of incompatible computer systems and innaccurate data. Do you think you could handle it? If so, you're hired!

-- infoman (, February 03, 1999.

Parisites expire when all of the host's substance is gone!

-- Watchful (, February 03, 1999.

I like that, ". . .when the digits hit the fan."

-- Puddintame (, February 03, 1999.

On April 15, 2000, Americans will finally get the flat tax...because the IRS computers will crash thanks to the year 2000 programming glitch. Auditors will be left with no records. Bank on it.


-- flierdude (, February 04, 1999.

They used to hang and tar and feather taxpayers. Haven't heard of much of that lately. Maybe it'll make a comeback.

-- A (, February 04, 1999.

Beep beep -- error --
I meant tax collectors not taxpayers.

-- A (, February 04, 1999.

Historyman ,

I hope the I.R.S also issues body armor and a small contingent of Marines . :o)

-- Mike (, February 04, 1999.

Maybe there should be a "McVeigh your local IRS office" campaign?

-- Leo (, February 04, 1999.

Leo, I leave that in my, midnight can't sleep fantasy world. I go to sleep peacefully with that on my tired mind! Had to put my taxes on my credit card last year. Cheaper than the IRS.

-- freeman (, February 04, 1999.

-- A (,commented:

"They used to hang and tar and feather taxpayers. Haven't heard of much of that lately. "

They have perfected others means of extracting their "more than fair share" over the years.


-- Ray (, February 04, 1999.

It is insightful to examine the current tax situation in Russia. Might provide some Y2K lessons for us. (

-- No No (, February 04, 1999.

No, Taxmoney is the only income this corrupt goverment has. What makes you believe they don't want it next year? The ORS computers will be the only ones that will be 100% compliant. Bet on it!! The problem is how can you tax a economy in turmoil? Easy. At a minimum just collect the same amount then LAST year, Keep track of coorperations and charge them the real amount. How? Easy again. Business and others honest people who work for themselfs need to file a quarterly estemated the IRS will get enugh during the year from those guys. You everyday joe just be prepared to repeat last years tax. Of course that also means the if you lost your job, quit your job to move to the hills you will owe. Rickjohn

-- rickjohn (, February 04, 1999.

The text of the Russia Today article is:

>>>>Russian Tax Quest Goes Cyberspace

MOSCOW, Feb. 04, 1999 -- (Reuters) "Do you love Russia? Yes. Do you pay your taxes? Well..." runs a series of television adverts by the Russian tax police, appealing to patriotic but tax-shy people to pay up and keep the bankrupt country running.

The success of the campaign, accompanied by street posters proclaiming: "No one can save Russia except we ourselves," may be in doubt but its goal is deadly serious: with a huge debt mountain, the government needs every tax cent it can get.

Emotional blackmail, forceful policing and an incursion into the Internet cyberspace world are all in the plan to boost tax income and help repay $145 billion of foreign loans and break a chain of 2.2 trillion rubles ($100 billion) of internal debt.

"It is such a big and strategic task that we understand that the result of what we are doing will come only after several years. It's the next generation, when people understand that taxes are part of life," said Renat Dos-Mukhamedov, head of public relations at the State Tax Ministry.

Pensioners Appeal, Police Brandish Ak-47s

As well as appeals to save Russia there is the loudly proclaimed warning on posters in Moscow and other big cities and towns: "Every Russian is obliged to pay taxes that are legally set by the state."

The Tax Ministry also has a series of TV adverts which show pensioners appealing for people to pay up and hospitals with shelves bare of medicines.

The tax police have also run adverts showing their officers storming companies' offices wielding AK-47 automatic rifles.

All this effort is aimed at reversing a situation where tax receipts in Russia are among the lowest in the world.

No Trust, No Tax

The tax police and Tax Ministry have an uphill task to persuade people to pay -- many simply believe that their money is siphoned off by corrupt officials -- and there is also a huge shadow economy that is difficult to track.

The fact that much of the official economy is also run on a cashless barter system also makes things incredibly difficult.

Added to the equation is the latest financial crisis, which has pushed many banks close to collapse, seen people thrown out of work and the economy contracting.

Many have seen their savings frozen in collapsing banks amid rumors that state officials benefited from the crisis and banks sent huge sums abroad.

In sum, a recipe for cynicism.

"The fundamental problem is the psychology of tax in this country. People don't trust the government or what they will do with the money nor do they trust how they will be treated," said Scott Antel, a tax partner at accountants Arthur Andersen.

Antel also highlighted problems with the tax rules, which mean companies and individuals are faced with a big tax burden.

"It is not an economically stimulative system. It is not geared to allow businesses to succeed and encourage productivity and growth," said Antel, in Russia for five years.

Billions, Trillions Owed in Tax

All these problems have led to a huge backlog of owed taxes.

The statistics office said that as of October 1, 1998 the total budget system had tax arrears of 253.9 billion rubles ($11 billion) while the federal budget had 146.4 billion of arrears.

The debt problem has led to continuous battles between the government and big tax payers such Gazprom, the world's largest gas firm, oil companies and the Unified Energy System company, which runs Russia's giant electric grid.

The companies themselves are not entirely to blame, as they are also owed money for their services by their consumers, other industrial customers and the state. This has led to a backlog of unpaid debt in Russia of 2.2 trillion rubles.

With Western guidance, a new tax code was drawn up and came into force on Jan. 1 this year. Aimed at laying out definitions and rules for the tax system, it is still lacking a section in which tax rates would be set.

Analysts said the new code is an improvement in assuming the innocence of the tax payer in cases of dispute with the authorities and that the courts seemed to be heeding the laws.

However, Antel said simple changes would improve the system and bring in rules which in the West are considered standard.

He cited in particular that items deductible for tax purposes such as in-house training, interest payments and advertising are not deductible in Russia, meaning companies were considerably more weighed down with tax.

He also mentioned a 4 percent turnover tax, which meant that even if a firm lost money it would still have to pay tax.

"The fundamental problems of the system are not being addressed," he said.

Cyberspace has been called into the fight as tax police in the second city of St. Petersburg use their Internet page to post pictures of tax offenders.

"We are waiting for help from those who care about the fate of teachers and doctors, miners and soldiers, students and pensioners," the web site says.

"And we can put a price on it," it adds significantly.

These letters are underlined and in bold red print, linking to a page where a reward of 10 percent of the amount recovered is offered to informants.<<<<

If Y2K does lead to major problems and disruptions then the current dismal mess in Russia might be a harbinger of our fate.

-- No No (, February 04, 1999.

About a month ago, I read some news item about how the IRS had purchased hundreds of tactical shotguns and bulletproof vests, but I can't find the item now (I'm not rumor mongering; if someone has a link for this, I'd like to see it - otherwise disregard).

Don't count on them not getting blood out of a turnip; they could get blood out of the cold vacuum of space! I think that if the IRS expires, you will be dealing with local "emergency" government (Hardliner's Hardriders?) taxing a high percentage of your vegetable and egg harvest, or whatever. If the IRS is still in business, they would do the same thing, whether they could use it or not, just on principle. The principle being that they own you.

Time to watch "7 Samurai" again...


-- E. Coli (, February 05, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ