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Confessions of a Tax Collector: One Man's Tour of Duty Inside the IRS Hardcover – March 2, 2004
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Imagine if Brad Meltzer or John Grisham's first book had been a memoir about working for the Internal Revenue Service and you have an idea of just how thrilling Richard Yancey's Confessions of a Tax Collector: One Man's Tour of Duty Inside the IRS really is. Serving as a revenue agent--or, more informally, a tax collector--of the IRS for two years, Yancey went through strange transformations--from a tall, pencil-thin theater major, in an unforgiving relationship with no steady income, to a mean, muscle-wielding, unyielding revenue officer at the top of his game. What happens in between this tax collecting, money-hungry metamorphosis makes this memorable memoir the stuff of great fiction.
The Americans who shirk tax laws and responsibilities are inevitably tracked, coded, analyzed, pursued, and in general, marked for tax collection by a legion of government workers take center stage. "We have superior intelligence; we know more about our enemies' lives than they know about themselves. We know where they are. We know what they do. We know what they have. We will execute what they fear," Yancey writes. Just envision the line-up of misfits and average joes who populate the screen on Cops or America's Funniest Home Videos and you'll be close to imagining the range of people Yancey tangles with. Vengeful middle managers, hard-working small business owners, mean-spirited tax protestors, hardened tax evaders--the list of characters goes on and on. Every one of the people tracked within the walls of Yancey's local IRS office has the same, pitiful problem: the tax man cometh and the "beast needs to be fed." Equal parts love story, business tale, high-speed chase, and self-evolution, Yancey's Confessions of a Tax Collector packs plenty of human drama--all of it experienced and survived by one man. --E. Brooke Gilbert
From Publishers Weekly
After failing at a number of jobs, Yancey joined the IRS as a revenue officer in 1991 when he answered a want ad in the newspaper. As a revenue officer, Yancey was charged with collecting taxes from delinquent taxpayers. At the start of his career, Yancey was ambivalent about working for the IRS, but the longer he stayed with the organization the more seriously he took the job. A turning point came during a seizure (when the IRS seizes property from people who have been unable or unwilling to pay taxes), when Yancey stumbled across a band of tax protesters and took it as a personal challenge to root out as many protesters as possible-and in the course of doing so found himself living for his job. Yancey's account of his 12-year career starts out as a lighthearted look at his early days as an IRS trainee, but the tone is more somber and reflective as he becomes more enmeshed in his job, breaks up with his girlfriend, and finds himself isolated from nearly everyone outside of his workplace. There is a happy ending to the story, however, as Yancey marries his supervisor, quits the service and fulfills his dream of writing a book. His description of what life is like inside the IRS is generally engaging and shows the fallibility of a system that comprises, after all, men and women who have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
It is an interesting concept, but wow the protagonist is vicious and malicious when it comes to collecting. Even his coworkers (fellow tax collectors) don't go to the depths he goes to when it comes to collecting.
I found it difficult to have any sympathy whatsoever for the guy. Confessions imply that he is coming clean as a way of repentance. Take a cue from Zacchaeus in the Bible when it comes to confessions of a tax collector.
He comes across more as boastful and less as confession. They should title the book Bragging of a Tax Collector.
Jerry R., in California
Yancy is honest in his reporting (details have been altered, a point noted up front). But he is profoundly dishonest about his own moral character.