Takisha McGee works (at least for now) as a Section Manager for the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, where their mission is to “interpret and apply the standards of practice for tax professionals in a fair and equitable manner.” Among her other duties, she travels around the country teaching IRS officials and tax preparers how to behave themselves. She gives lectures with titles like “When Your License To Practice Before the IRS Is On The Line.” You would think someone like that would watch her own back pretty carefully. But sadly, that’s not the case, at least as far as McGee herself is concerned.
This week’s story starts back in 2007, when McGee helped her future husband’s Aunt Rue collect $8,900 after an auto accident. At the time, McGee was two years out of law school, working on employee benefit issues at the Department of Labor, and had never handled a personal injury case before.
On July 21, 2008, the insurance company sent McGee a settlement check for $8,900. McGee kept $1,000 for herself and deposited the remaining $7,900 in her little “firm’s” trust account. Two weeks later, McGee gave her client $4,500, $4,700, or $4,900 (depending on whose affidavit you believe). McGee understood that she was also supposed to pay her client’s medical bills, which totaled $2,682.46. She withdrew $1,800 more in cash from the trust account, but none of it found its way to the doctors.
Apparently, that was when McGee decided she wasn’t cut out for a life of chasing ambulances, because that’s when she started her job helping supervise the IRS ethics cops. She also started not answering her email, and even disconnected her cell phone and fax machine “to reduce stress.” (Don’t you wish you could do that?)
With all that stress reduction going on, Aunt Rue eventually filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Bar Association. McGee defended herself with several inconsistent stories about paying the medical bills, but the Bar Association wasn’t buying it. They recommended disbarring her, based on “clear and convincing evidence of intentional misappropriation,” among other offenses. McGee apparently feels the heat, although she dismisses her shenanigans as a “one-time mistake.” Last week, she confessed to the Washington Times that it keeps her awake at night. “As it relates to my job, may I possibly lose it? Yes, I face that each and every day.” She says that she notified the IRS about the pending disbarment when she started working there, but an IRS spokesman said the Service was unlikely to comment. (Privacy issues . . . .)
The 18th-century frenchman Jean Baptiste Colbert, who worked as King Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance, once said that “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” The IRS employs almost 90,000 people in that pursuit. Most of them work hard at a thankless job. They don’t get a lot of love, and they don’t make a lot of money. So it’s probably fair to cut them at least a little slack for honest mistakes, even as we hiss at being plucked. But some people just don’t belong where they are, and McGee sure sounds like one of them.
Meanwhile, the other 89,000 people who work at the IRS are still on the job — and so are we. Which is why we’re reminding you that since it’s after Labor Day, tax planning season has officially begun! You’ve got less than four months until December 31, when the most valuable planning opportunities turn into pumpkins just like Cinderella’s carriage. So call us when you’re ready for a plan to pay the least tax possible!