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I Can Relate to Joe Stack's Pain: Fix the IRS!

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After Joe Stack crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin, his daughter called him a "hero." I don't think he's a hero ... but after my own audit, I can relate with many of his frustrations.

Joe Stack

Guest blogger Diane: After Joe Stack crashed his plane into an IRS building in Austin -- killing himself and another person -- his daughter, Samantha Bell, said he acted as a "hero" who was trying to call attention to an unjust government.

Bell acknowledged that Stack's actions were "inappropriate," but said that at least now, "people will listen."

I doubt anyone will.

I was audited last year by the IRS. I know what it is like to be considered a criminal by your own government when you feel you did nothing wrong.

When you encounter a shady auditor (like I did), you feel more like you're dealing with the Mob than with a government employee. But you know you can't complain or they will just go after you harder next year.

That said, I would never even consider an act of violence or anything like Joe Stack did. I just took my lumps and moved on. But when I read Stack's suicide note, I could relate with some of his feelings of frustration at the IRS.

Is he a hero? No way. He murdered an innocent person: Vernon Hunter, a Vietnam vet who didn't deserve to die. No matter what, that is not okay.

I too wish the IRS could be overhauled. But I don't think Stack's actions will make one bit of difference. By taking such drastic, horrific measures, he will simply be labeled a quack and a killer. His mercenary mission will not result in one single change, I'm afraid.

Stack wrote, "Here we have a [tax] system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly 'holds accountable' its victims, claiming that they're responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law 'requires' a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that`s not 'duress' [then] what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is."

I know that when I was audited, the auditor kept saying, "You signed your return" -- as if I had committed fraud. But I had put my fate in the hands of a highly paid accountant. If the accountant screwed up (which she did), I would have no way of knowing this! She was actiing as if I were some sort of scammer, when I am actually an honest, tax-paying citizen who is barely making ends meet and just trying to provide for her kids.

Stack concluded his manifesto with: "I have had all I can stand." My audit was one of the worst things to ever happen in my life, other than my mom dying. Someone compared it to having an autopsy while you're still living. I agree with that. I will be paying off my debt for years and years and years, and honestly will always live in fear of the IRS and another audit.

When I was a teenager, my orthodontist had a lot of tax troubles. He was a father of a 3-year-old girl. We had to make out our checks to the IRS, not him. One day, he parked his car on the train tracks and waited to be hit by a locomotive. He too had had all he could stand, but thankfully he didn't take an innocent person with him.

Do I think Joe Stack is a hero? No way. But I do hope that the IRS can be fixed.

IRS: Stop wasting your time on the little guys, and instead focus on the rich and the corporations -- who should be your primary focus anyway. Leave us honest, tax-paying middle-class citizens alone.

next: Joannie Rochette Will Skate Despite Tragedy
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
SomeguynamedBob February 23, 2010, 2:15 AM

Meanwhile, that “shady auditor” is still out there, doing exactly the same thing to other taxpaying Citizens of the United States. Again. And again. And again, and again.
. And if you think that auditor is alone in her abusive behavior————
. And these Will Continue to operate this way until action is taken to change the fundamentals of the agency forever.
. I do not believe it can be fixed from the inside.

Terry Downs February 23, 2010, 9:12 AM

Oh, I also feel his pain. It sure sucks that when a guy tries to cheat on his taxes to use the same exemptions as churches and manages to steal $400,000 he then gets caught. That’s just justice! When you steal $400,000, that’s patriotism!

I once robbed a convenience store. I had a great reason for it, too. I was all ‘my sisters child was close to death and we were starving’ and the cops were like ‘you will starve again unless you learn the meaning of the law’ and then they threw me in jail for 19 years. 5 years for what I did, the rest because I tried to run. The system failed me, momlogic.

udontknowjack February 23, 2010, 9:56 AM

I know exactly what he went through, I had 7,000 dollars in the bank, put in my ATM card one day, zero balance. It seems I had a judgement against me, but the bank did not even call me and see if they had the right Jack. The bank just gave them my money and that is just not right. I don’t know what give the government the right to treat americans the way they do. Especially the very people that are paying their salaries.

If you ask me, I say this was a counter-terrorist attack

mitchel February 23, 2010, 10:25 AM

This is absolutely disgusting. Your grievances are petty compared to Vernon Hunter’s family’s suffering or the Austin branch of the IRS’s. Imagine coming out like this after 9/11, sympathizing with the terrorist’s motives. How pathetic a country we are when we allow anger, because our luxury is not enough, to boil into homicidal actions. Your audit is petty. Your anger is petty. We are a nation of petty children demanding privilege. We would take the lives of others because little things do not go our way. I hope everyone coming out in this manner is audited every year for the rest of their lives as retaliation, the IRS sticking up for one of their own. What a truly noble cause it must be choosing convenience over someone’s life. Great job.

Melissa  February 23, 2010, 11:49 AM

I am sorry for you that you feel like you can relate to Mr. Stack. My cousin is the one laying in a hospital bed right now in Brook Army Medical Center with 2nd & 3rd degree burns on his face and back. He works in the IRS building. He did nothing to Mr. Stack, but he is the one hurt. No one, not even you, deserves that kind of pain.

Sam February 23, 2010, 12:18 PM

The auditor kept saying, “You signed your return” — as if I had committed fraud. But I had put my fate in the hands of a highly paid accountant. If the accountant screwed up (which she did), I would have no way of knowing this!”

I’m with you, we are in the middle of an audit and our auditor keeps saying the same thing. You signed your return you are responsbile for knowing the tax code, understanding the tax code, the forms that were filled out by your CPA and understanding the deductions your CPA is seeking on your behalf.

I have an advanced degree and I don’t understand the tax code. Clearly my highly paid CPA didn’t understand it either since he was wrong and didn’t understand the test. So despite the fact that I paid a CPA to do my taxes, despite the fact that I paid that same CPA to prepare us for the audit and represent us at the audit, we have little to no recourse if the CPA made a mistake. The CPA is not on the hook to the IRS, we are.

Sean February 23, 2010, 12:53 PM

Joe Stack was not in his right mind and would never get his right mind back, the IRS saw to that. Whilst it is not the best way to comment on a system run by criminals I can sympathize with Stack nonetheless. As for the IRS employees in the building they should see it as an occupational hazard in much the same way as the people that worked for Al Capone. Aaron Russo, before he died, proved conclusively that the IRS has no mandate to collect income tax off the American people when he asked them to produce the actual law. They of course couldn’t and several honest IRS employees resigned as a result, shocked that they were conducting a criminal enterprise and refused to pay their tax. They remain un-prosecuted to this day. I wonder why?
All the emplyees of the IS knowingly steal from the American people in the most hideous fashion and they want sympathy. Go and live in Israel with the rest of the criminals, they are big on sympathy

Harry February 23, 2010, 12:54 PM

I think Joe did okay. May he rest in peace.

VoiceofFreedom February 23, 2010, 2:24 PM

In other words, you admit that mobsters came into your life and stole the fruit of your labor - your earnings. Yet, you say there is nothing that can be done about it? So we are all just victims of injustice and have to learn to live with it??

If our Founding Fathers acted that way then we would all be British subjects today.

Sometimes violence is the only way to address injustice.

Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” He went on to say, “The limits of tyrants are proscribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

You would place no limits on these tyrants?

Joe Stack did. He killed an IRS thug and injured 13 IRS thugs. They were not innocent people; they were murderers, extortionists, pillagers, thieves and bloodsuckers. If anyone deserves to die, it is thug IRS employees.

Joe Stack is an American icon and should be martyred for the cause of freedom.

As difficult as this may be to accept, we need more violent revolutionary acts such as those committed by Joe Stack, if we even have a remote chance of restoring our country to the Land of the Free.

Lisa February 23, 2010, 2:44 PM

Has anyone mentioned that these vile IRS creatures actually MAKE MONEY FOR THEMSELVES by stealing it from innocent Americans…(yes, they get a percentage of money confiscated) and look at the statistics of IRS EMPLOYEES who don’t pay THEIR TAXES WHICH ARE PAID TO THEM BY PEOPLE LIKE JOE STACK? We are the only people on the face of the earth that are RAPED by our “government” and turn around and say “Thank you for not doing it more”…JOE STACK IS A HERO and I WILL NOT LET HIS LIFE BE FORGOTTEN OR HIS DEATH BE IN VAIN!!!

Terry Bogard February 23, 2010, 3:56 PM

So the best way to demonstrate our grievances with the government is to blow up buildings and kill innocent people.

Good call, guys.

I hope you also consider Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh personal heroes, Lisa.

I hope you also think that Ted Kaczynski did well, Harry.

I hope you can also relate to Charlie Manson’s pain, guest blogger Diane.

Lisa February 23, 2010, 4:12 PM

Terry….I know people who have had heart attacks because of what these evil snakes have done. I know another man that is homeless because of them. You, sir, are an apologist for them and it is clear that you are uneducated about the IRS, which is a PRIVATE organization which is the offspring of the Federal Reserve which is another private organization. I suggest that you get some education and maybe you won’t be their lap dog. Just a suggestion….Relate to Charlie Manson? You really are funny. I laugh at you, son.

Anonymous February 23, 2010, 6:12 PM


Frank Sylvester February 24, 2010, 5:21 AM

I appreciate your mature point of view, Lisa. When you disagree with something, just start murdering people. Got it!

tennmom February 24, 2010, 8:02 AM

I always pay extra for the “oops” option when I have my taxes done. If the person preparing them makes an error, the company pays for the error. I was audited a couple of years ago b/c the preparer failed to document something. The IRS wanted me to pay $5000. After the error was cleared, they sent me a check for $22. I didn’t even bother to cash that stupid check.

tennmom February 24, 2010, 8:06 AM

Another problem I have with the IRS: they can come after you 10 years after a file, yet you can’t go to them 10 years later if they owed you a refund.
My underpaid one year before we were married so the IRS demanded payment. He had overpaid the year before, didn’t realize it, tried to get the IRS to just accept overpayment for the underpayment and they said NO.

Lisa February 24, 2010, 8:30 AM

OK…so, “murder” is against all moral laws. I agree with that…but is protecting yourself and your family considered “murder”? These people have eaten out our life substance, ALL who work for evil become ONE with that same evil. So, please, tell me the solution? How do we (in a theoretical FREE country) remove the blood suckers that are sucking out our life substance, the ability to care for OUR families (while theirs are able to eat, play and take from YOU)and live life free from FEAR. How many FEAR THE IRS? I had hives all over my body because of fear of this UNLAWFUL (You need to distinguish between UNlawful and illegal…I will leave that to your excellent research skills) organization. EDUCATION IS THE KEY. Do your research. Learn. Read Ron Paul information. RESEARCH the situation like many of us have and PLEASE tell me a solution. BTW: Without notice nor provocation my house was raided, complete with automatic rifles and battering ramp and I have NEVER BEEN ARRESTED, NOR DO I OWN A GUN AND AM A LAWFUL ABIDING AMERICAN. My only SIN was to believe that the Constitution is the Law of the Land and I defended it in a public venue. So, what IS the answer? Please, I am willing to listen BUT WE NEED A SOLUTION..NOT MORE REAR-KISSING OF THE EVIL THAT IS IN OUR MIDST.

Anonymous February 24, 2010, 12:03 PM

He was not a hero, but a whack job.

Lisa February 24, 2010, 7:51 PM

Hi Anonymous….I find it interesting and perhaps a coincidence that you posted your replies twice after I have posted my comments. I am sure it is nothing more than a “chance” posting, but it WOULD be good if you could give us a name and be a little more communicative in your response. After all, I would not want to think that a government shill was posting here. That might induce fear. Thank you.

Terry Bogard February 24, 2010, 8:45 PM

Lisa, you don’t need any more fear. It’s pretty obvious from your rantings that you are, at the very least, exceptionally paranoid, if not delusional.

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