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Authors: Richard Yancey

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Confessions of a Tax Collector

BOOK: Confessions of a Tax Collector
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Confessions of a
Tax Collector
ONE MAN’S TOUR OF DUTY INSIDE THE IRS
 
 
 
Richard Yancey

 

 

 

 

 

 

HarperCollinsPublishers

Confessions of A Tax Collector. Copyright © 2004 by Richard Yancey. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.

HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use. For information, please write: Special Markets Department, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.

FIRST EDITION

Designed by Laura Lindgren

Printed on acid-free paper

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.

ISBN 0-06-055560-2

04 05 06 07 08 /RRD 10 98765432 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Revenue Officers

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book would not exist if not for the real people who occupy its pages. They were more than coworkers during my time with the Service. They were also my friends. I have struggled to portray them accurately and to the best of my recollection. Much time has passed since those days. Memory fades, but not the fondness I have for all of them. God bless and Godspeed.

I am extraordinarily fortunate to have Marjorie Braman, vice president and executive editor at HarperCollins, as my editor. Perceptive, empathetic, an enthusiastic lover of stories well told, she has been coach, cheerleader, and most avid fan throughout the entire process. All writers should be as lucky.

Brian DeFiore, my agent, advocate, and guide, championed the book. Always positive, but with stern pragmatism, he never hesitated in the early days of this project to take up my banner and recklessly charge up the hill.

I thank my three boys, who endured my mood swings and evening absences with grace, understanding, and patience. A father could not ask for better sons.

There are not enough words in the language to express my gratitude to my wife. I am convinced there is no one on the face of the planet with more courage, honesty, or unselfish devotion—particularly toward this most difficult of husbands. Brian charged up the hill, but she was ever the light on top of it, guiding me home.

CONTENTS

AUTHOR’S NOTE

CAST OF CHARACTERS

THE SERVICE

    
THE ORGANIZATION

    
THE OCCUPATION

    
THE FOUR PROTOCOLS

PART ONE: THE TRAINEE

CHAPTER 1:
CHALLENGER

CHAPTER 2:
SHOOT THEM ALL

CHAPTER 3:
DANCE LESSONS

CHAPTER 4:
THE PRINCE OF POWER

CHAPTER 5:
DRAIN BAMAGED

CHAPTER 6:
BYZANTIUM

CHAPTER 7:
SOMETHING IN THE WATER

PART TWO: THE REVENUE OFFICER

CHAPTER 8:
GINA’S CAT

CHAPTER 9:
LEVERAGE

CHAPTER 10:
IS IT SAFE?

CHAPTER 11:
WAR

CHAPTER 12:
VENGEANCE

CHAPTER 13:
DEMIGOD

CHAPTER 14:
ANNIE

EPILOGUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

No name in this book, with the exception of my own, belongs to anyone I know. I have changed the names of all other characters and have altered their personal appearances and histories. I have taken particular pains to protect the identities of those taxpayers with whom I dealt during my years of service, changing appearance, occupation, and, in some circumstances, gender.

I have also taken liberties with the arrangement of incidents, for clarity and to facilitate the narrative flow. I did not keep contemporaneous notes of my conversations with taxpayers, coworkers, or any other persons. I have relied on my own memory, such that it is, to reconstruct conversations. Throughout, however, I have striven to record the spirit of what was said, if not the actual words.

The Service is the largest civilian employer in the federal government. To claim that my experiences are common to all within it would not only be grossly inaccurate but monumentally unfair. This is the story of one employee among the thousands who serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
CAST OF CHARACTERS

 

JIM NEYLAND
, Grade 14 Branch Chief, Tampa Branch, Jacksonville District, Southeast Region

BETH,
Grade 12 Revenue Officer, Lakeside post-of-duty

GINA TATE
, Grade 13 Supervisory Revenue Officer (Group Manager), Lakeside post-of-duty

MELISSA CAVANAUGH
, Grade 12 Revenue Officer and On-the-Job Instructor, Lakeside post-of-duty

HENRY
, Grade 11 Revenue Officer, Lakeside post-of-duty Allison, Grade 7 Revenue Officer Trainee, Lakeside post-of-duty

RACHEL
, Grade 7 Revenue Officer Trainee, Lakeside post-of-duty Dee, Grade 7 Revenue Officer Trainee, Lakeside post-of-duty

CAROLINE
, Grade 7 Revenue Officer Trainee, Lakeside post-of-duty

TOBY PETERSON
, Grade 12 Revenue Officer and Union Steward, Lakeside post-of-duty

CINDY SANDIFER
, Grade 12 Revenue Officer and On-the-Job Instructor, Lakeside post-of-duty

BONNY
, Grade 5 Group Clerk, Lakeside post-of-duty

BRYON SAMUELS
, Grade 15 Collection Division Chief, Jacksonville District, Southeast Region

SAM MASON
, Grade 12 Revenue Officer and lead instructor, RO Basic Training, Tampa post-of-duty

LARRY SIMON
, Grade 12 Offer-in-Compromise Specialist and Basic Training Instructor, Panama City post-of-duty

WILLIAM CULPEPPER
, Grade 12 Revenue Officer and On-the-Job Instructor, Lakeside post-of-duty

JENNY DUNCAN
, Grade 13 Supervisory Revenue Officer (group manager) and Acting Branch Chief, Orlando Branch

HOWARD STEVENS
, Grade 13 Special Agent-in-Charge, Criminal Investigation Division, Tampa post-of-duty

BOB CAMPBELL
, Grade 14 Branch Chief, Orlando Branch, Jacksonville District, Southeast Region

FRED NEWBERRY
, Grade 12 Occupational Development Specialist, Jacksonville District

ANNIE DEFLORIO
, Grade 13 Supervisory Revenue Officer (group manager), Orlando and (later) Lakeside post-of-duty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SERVICE
 
THE ORGANIZATION (C. 1991)

The American Taxpayer

The President of the United States

The Secretary of the Treasury

The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service

The Regional Directors

The District Directors

The Collection Division Chiefs

The Branch Chiefs

The Group Managers

The Revenue Officers

The American Taxpayer

THE OCCUPATION
[1]

Description of the Work

Internal Revenue Officers focus on the collection of delinquent taxes and functions directly related to that work. Cases, called taxpayer delinquent accounts (TDA) or taxpayer delinquent investigations (TDI) are assigned to a revenue officer for resolution…

Revenue officers have extensive face-to-face personal contacts with taxpayers, attorneys, accountants, and other representatives and spend a major portion of their time in fieldwork…

 

The Difficulty of the Work

Conditions affecting the difficulty and responsibility of revenue officer work include:

• pressure to resolve delinquent cases within deadlines;

• applying complex statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions to complicated situations;

• dealing with fearful, hostile, and defensive individuals and organizations;

• working in unstructured environments such as high crime areas; and

• dealing with prominent taxpayers or similar circumstances subject to news media coverage.

THE FOUR PROTOCOLS

“You will learn there are things you may say and things you may not say, and it is those things you may not say that are the essence of your work here.”

THE FIRST PROTOCOL:
Find where they are

THE SECOND PROTOCOL:
Track what they do

THE THIRD PROTOCOL:
Learn what they have

THE FOURTH PROTOCOL:
Execute what they fear

PART ONE
 
The Trainee
 

 

Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail a little and see the watery part of the world.


Moby-Dick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1
CHALLENGER

For most of the past thirteen years, I have used a different name, chosen by me and approved by our government, to perform the task appointed to me by the people of the United States. This name, my professional name, I will not tell you.

I am a foot soldier in the most feared, hated, and maligned agency in the federal government.

I work for the Treasury. I execute Title 26 of the United States Code, for the Internal Revenue Service—or the Service, as we in the trenches call it.

I collect taxes, but don’t call me a tax collector. Nobody wants to be a tax collector. Call me what the Service calls me. Call me a revenue officer.

And hear my confession.

NOVEMBER 1990

“Okay, Rick, let’s start. Why do you want to be a revenue officer?”

I was sitting in a small conference room in Tampa, across the table from Jim Neyland, chief of the Tampa branch of the Jacksonville District of the Internal Revenue Service. It was after-hours. His tie was loose around his neck and his shirtsleeves rolled to his elbows. He was about fifty, with thinning salt-and-pepper hair and a bushy black mustache. I had just turned twenty-eight, and was wearing a ten-year-old suit with a ten-day-old dark blue tie. The interview had been scheduled to begin an hour earlier, but I had waited in the reception area of the branch office, while his secretary fussed at her desk and his loud voice boomed throughout the office as he made dinner arrangements on the phone. There were no magazines to read, no television to stare blankly at while I waited. In one corner sat a dusty plastic palm tree. The carpeting was dark blue. The divider separating the secretary’s workstation from the waiting area was white. The ceiling was white. On the white wall directly opposite me were two large framed photographs, one of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and another of the space shuttle
Challenger.
The bridge had collapsed into Tampa Bay in 1980, killing thirty-five people.
Challenger
had exploded in 1986, seconds after the photograph was taken.

Jim Neyland did not want Chinese. He wanted barbecue. He had been thinking about it all day, and his heart was set on barbecue. He hated Chinese; he was always hungry again thirty minutes later. He wanted some barbecue pork and some beans and corn on the cob and some coleslaw and he didn’t give a good goddamn what everybody else wanted. No, not Italian, either. There would be no compromise where he was concerned. It was barbecue or nothing. The secretary flashed an apologetic smile in my direction and buzzed him again. “Mr. Yancey is here for his interview.” He apparently didn’t hear her.

BOOK: Confessions of a Tax Collector
9.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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