The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the prominent agency of the United States Federal Government, responsible for collecting taxes. When in typical conversation, the IRS is usually attached with disparaging comments, however, the agency is necessary to support a functioning society.
Much of the trepidation that surrounds the Internal Revenue Service stems from an unfamiliarity with the organization, most simply assume it is a government agency out to pillage individuals earnings. If broken down into function, as oppose to result, the IRS dealings may become comprehensible.
The Internal Revenue Service collects taxes through enforcement and interpretation of the United State’s federal tax law. The levying of taxes is the main source of revenue for all forms of government in the United States. In order to provide public services (on a federal level) such as health care, defense, national parks, social security, and transportation infrastructure the government must tax its citizens, and businesses.
Federal taxes are essentially a “toll” that citizens and corporations must pay to use the resources of the United States. Without taxes, our governments would fail to sufficiently supply the population with public services that are necessary to maintain a functioning society.
The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is the established tax law in America, which covers all forms of federal taxes:income tax, gift taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, and estate taxes. The IRC is implemented by the Internal Revenue Service, and enforces a comprehensive tax code to ensure the levying of various federal taxes. Prior to 1874, federal laws were not organized, they were not consolidated, but instead, fragmented into various acts passed by Congress.
Over the ensuing decades the federal laws were codified to establish an organized system. The USC (United States Code) was subsequently adopted, which solidified the federal law system in the United States. The Internal Revenue Code, which fundamentally acts as the framework for the IRS is the 26th of the 50 titles found in the USC.
To clarify the IRS and it’s functions, hierarchy, history, and methods we will breakdown and summarize the appropriate categories:
The chief executive of the IRS is known as the Commissioner.
Commissioners are appointed by the President, and must be approved by the Senate for ratification purposes.
Commissioners oversee all operations of the IRS:collection of taxes, processing of tax returns, enforcement of tax law, and interpretation of tax laws written by Congress.
The Commissioner serves a 5 year term.
The IRS is an extension of the federal government, the Secretary of the Treasury Department has the authority to administer the IRC, however, the secretary has delegated the majority of responsibility to the Commissioner.
How is the IRS organized?
The IRS is organized into four divisions:Individual taxpayers (wages and investments), small businesses, mid-to large cap corporations, and non profits or government entities. The categories exist because each enterprise is taxed differently.
These four divisions all possess unique operating departments which oversee the activities of the IRS:communicating with taxpayers, processing of tax returns, conduct audits, and collect taxes.
The four divisions that enforce tax laws for the varying categories are over sought by broad departments that impact the entire scope of the IRS. Human Resources, IT department, criminal investigations, and support services are all examples of the broad departments within the IRS.
History of the IRS
The first agency responsible for collecting and enforcing taxes in the United States was Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In 1862 the Bureau of Internal Revenue was disbanded due to income tax repeal following the Civil War.
The IRS was re-established in 1913 following the adoption of the 16th Amendment, which granted taxing power of income to Congress.
The institution of the Internet, and technological advancements of the 21st century, computerized the tax collection process of the IRS.
Contacting the IRS
For general tax inquiries, specific questions regarding tax returns, problems, or status inquiries involving refunds, individuals can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
For similar inquiries involving business taxes call 1-800-829-4933
Cases regarding identify theft (i.e. someone has filed a tax return using an incorrect social security number) contact 1-800-908-4490
Representatives who assist such matters are generally friendly and will help resolve any issues an individual, business, or non profit may have.