After a dozen years as an enforcer for the IRS, our fervent author reveals how he practiced his despised profession and struck fear in the hearts of the non-taxpaying citizenry.
Novelist Yancey (A Burning in Homeland, Feb. 2003) devotes a good portion of this memoir to his training in the business of confiscating property to satisfy delinquent taxes. It is surely a tough job, confronting simple deadbeats, duped spouses, and enraged small-business owners, as well as lunatic tax protesters who categorically deny the government’s right to collect. But we, the people, must get the current bills paid (never mind the debt), and the minions of the Service must defend the fortress of democracy against the tax brigands. Here, then, are the usually civil servants who protect the American fisc and, ultimately, the whole system. The occupation’s jargon is covered in footnotes: “TP” is a taxpayer, an “RO” is a revenue officer, and a “round filing cabinet” is, of course, a trash can. The provisions of the Internal Revenue Code under which Yancey operated are not really the point here. It’s a Manichean struggle, the forces of light against the evil crooks and hapless dopes in the darkness. This is a parable of individual IRS workers and sad delinquent taxpayers. With sporadic flights of fancy prose, it tells a personal coming-of-age-in-a-government-agency story, detailing the breakup of one relationship and the burgeoning of a new romance, interlaced with growth of whiskers and urgent bodybuilding monitored by satisfying nude posing before a mirror. This is an individual tale suspended on the unusual dramatic framework of tax collection. It is certainly not a manual for the distraught taxpayer with a deficiency notice in hand.
Histrionic text with an IRS setting that’s less about what the Service can do to TPs and more about what it does to ROs.