Nothing to hide, you think? Perhaps you should rethink that:
Every April, I try to wade through mounds of paperwork to file my taxes. Like most Americans, I’m trying to follow the law and pay all of the taxes that I owe without getting screwed in the process. I try and make sure that every donation I made is backed by proof, every deduction is backed by logic and documentation that I’ll be able to make sense of three to seven years later. Because, like many Americans, I completely and utterly dread the idea of being audited. Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but the exact opposite. I know that I’m filing my taxes to the best of my ability and yet, I also know that if I became a target of interest from the IRS, they’d inevitably find some checkbox I forgot to check or some subtle miscalculation that I didn’t see. And so what makes an audit intimidating and scary is not because I have something to hide but because proving oneself to be innocent takes time, money, effort, and emotional grit.
IRS, of course, is utterly oblivious to that “innocent until proved guilty” shtick: as far as they’re concerned, you’re Al Capone in yoga pants. It’s like NSA with withholding.
And speaking of NSA, it’s not like they are interested in customer service, except to the extent that the shadowy goons of enforcement can be considered their “customers”: if some grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil-necked caller-ID spoofer pesters me on an extended basis, I can’t very well call up NSA and ask them “Who the hell is this, and can you arrange for a blast furnace with their name on it?”
This, unfortunately, is the case even if you’re not as grudge-ridden as I:
Sadly, I’m getting to experience this right now as Massachusetts refuses to believe that I moved to New York mid-last-year. It’s mindblowing how hard it is to summon up the paperwork that “proves” to them that I’m telling the truth. When it was discovered that Verizon (and presumably other carriers) was giving metadata to government officials, my first thought was: wouldn’t it be nice if the government would use that metadata to actually confirm that I was in NYC not Massachusetts. But that’s the funny thing about how data is used by our current government. It’s used to create suspicion, not to confirm innocence.