The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a double standard for administering the nation's Federal income tax laws.
When it comes to low-and middle-income wage earners, the agency moves swiftly and often harshly, seizing paychecks and bank accounts to cover unpaid taxes of a few hundred dollars.
When it comes to upper income taxpayers and some businesses, the agency often moves in a more casual manner, allowing the taxpayer to go along for years and years without making any payment on a tax bill that may run into the millions of dollars.
If a taxpayer declares to contest the finding or additional tax an IRS agent says he owes following an audit, once the upper income taxpayer gets one break.
As a general rule, the more tax money you are said to owe after an IRS audit, the smaller the percentage of that money you will have to pay if you appeal the agent's recommendation.
The accompanying article, the second in the series, is a profile of one upper-income taxpayer, Dr. Robert M. Erdman, a Pottsville, Pa., physicians who IRS says owes nearly $1 million in back taxes.
Dr. Erdman's story is based in part on an examination of thousands and thousands of pages or court records and assorted legal documents in both state and Federal courts – in seven cities and five states.
A wide range of other documents also was used in preparing the article, including FBI reports, Federal income tax results and reports by a variety of state and Federal agencies.