It is a political tool which can be, and often has been, indiscriminately used against opponents of the doctrines of the establishment elite 2%.
It doesn't take conspiracy theory rhetoric to come to that conclusion, it has been out in the open in the political literature, legal opinions, and even in the media for ages.
In fact, the misuse of a taxing authority was one of the King of England's favorite tools, leading those who established the U.S. Constitution to not attempt to carry those practices over into the new country, the new nation.
Author John Sbardellati pointed out what Supreme Court Justice John Marshall once famously stated:
Titled after Chief Justice John Marshall's all-too prescient dictum that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy," John A. Andrew's final book uncovers the myriad ways the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations politicized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), misusing its immense powers in order to exert heavy pressure on political and ideological foes. Published posthumously, the finished product benefits from the labors of friends and family, colleagues and publisher. The result is invaluable portrait of a renegade government agency seldom studied by researchers. According to Andrew, there is a good reason for the dearth of studies on the IRS. Researchers are hindered by what Athan ...(Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 7, Issue 3: Sbardellati, John. “Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon”, emphasis added). Those who inhabited the White House long ago noted that power to destroy increases exponentially during times of war:
War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.(Greatest Source of Power Toxins, quoting James Madison, 4th U.S. President, emphasis added). These illicit techniques were habitually practised by the King of England, which led to these statements in The Declaration of Independence:
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power ... imposing taxes on us without our consent(The Unanimous Declaration). These practices seem to be insidious, engrained in the lizard brain, and constantly re-emerging through the toxins of power:
When it comes to secrecy, however, the CIA may not be the worst offender. Another federal agency shares a passion for the shadows. Ducking disclosure and hiding from its past, this agency is far larger and more intrusive than the CIA. It touches the lives of millions of Americans, yet it reveals surprisingly little about itself. Another spy agency, perhaps, sporting a "black budget" and official "nonexistence"? Far from it. It's the Internal Revenue Service ... In a series of well-publicized disclosures last April, word surfaced that IRS employees were snooping through Americans' personal tax returns. Outraged members of Congress crafted a quickie legislative fix, outlawing illicit browsing and promising criminal penalties for the inveterately curious. The bill was symbolically rushed through just in time for tax day. Americans, presumably, were supposed to feel relieved ... What we should feel is frightened. The uproar of browsing obscured a far more serious problem plaguing the IRS: its deep-seated culture of secrecy. Hiding behind a well-intentioned law gone horribly wrong, the agency shields itself from effective public scrutiny. Ironically, this passion for secrecy helps make the IRS politically vulnerable, contributing to its popular image as an overpowerful, unaccountable federal agency.(Tax History Project). The despotic practice of using IRS as a secret weapon against any dissent continues:
Richard Nixon was known for his infamous “enemies list” that started as a list of 20 political opponents and then grew to include hundreds. The purpose of the list was revealed in a 1971 memorandum from White House Counsel John Dean to Lawrence Higby titled “Dealing With Our Enemies.”(IRS As A Political Weapon). It hardly takes genius to realize that Bush II and Cheney I would consider using the IRS as a political weapon to be a fundamental right, seeing as how they still openly declare torture to be fine with them.
In the memo, Dean explained that, “This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration. Stated a bit more bluntly - how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.” ... Nixon’s use of the IRS as a political tool was an abuse but hardly anything new. One of the most egregious offenders of this type of abuse was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In Roosevelt’s first term as President, Andrew Mellon became a primary target for investigation. Mellon was Roosevelt’s polar opposite in economic philosophy. Mellon, a former Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Coolidge, Harding, and Hoover, was widely popular and he was critical of Roosevelt’s use of expansive government spending programs as a solution to the depression. Through his longtime friend and Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau and his Attorney General Homer Cummings, Roosevelt went after Mellon with a vengeance. According to author John Morton Blum (From the Morgenthau Diaries: Years of Crisis,1928-1938, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959, I p324-5), when Elmer Irey, the head of Morgenthau’s intelligence unit at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later renamed the Internal Revenue Service) hesitated to go after Mellon, Morgenthau called him personally and demanded Irey conduct the audit. Morgenthau told the prosecutor in the case that “You can’t be too tough in this trial to suit me.”
The lizard brain of the IRS knows no bounds once it is unleashed upon the citizenry.
This search using IRS as the keyword will bring up Dredd Blog posts on the subject "IRS". By popular demand, there will be more.