Says you. Try having the IRS owe you a few grand. Still waiting on that check from several years back. In the IRS' defense, the mailman could have cashed it, since banks rarely do pesky stuff like read anymore. I've also had them unilateraly apply tax credits that I wasn't legally eligible for (thank heaven I can't be held liable for their mistakes... yet). That said, it was a big tax giveaway (making work pay act) in an election year so I can't say I'm too surprised. Their behavior can appear quite baffling unless you have looked deeply at the history of their actions.
Seriously, read a few Inspector General's reports before you defend an organization that you know little about. They regularly violate their own rules; especially the ones about not keeping an "enemies list" of tax protestors and not auditing because of RO's personal vendettas. Practically every administration since (and including) FDR have used them as a political weapon against their opponents. Judges and Jurors who decide against them get singled out for audit. Repeated studies by lawyers have shown the Revenue Code to be so self-contradictory that prosecution is effectively discretionary. As such "following the law" is basically whatever they feel like at the moment. Oh, and there's a special tax court that is exempt from due process if they so choose to subject you to it (usually reserved for aformentioned protestors).
But, you are right in saying it's not about the money. It's mostly about Revenue Officers and their self-aggrandizement. The way to get promoted is to maximize seizures, and that has been the case from the beginning. The money comes naturally with those incentives. The frequent strong-arm tactics they use to achieve said siezures (and the above bending of rules) is why they are considered little different from a private criminal organization running a protection racket. The things the tax money is spent on (international murder, political blackmail, crony arrangements) is also little different in practice, so you can forgive why a person could mistake the IRS for a mafia organization. Duck rule and all that.
Now I know some 'a youse are thinking -- "but the government does X charitable thing! They're not all bad, they're compartmentalized, blah blah..." Well, the Mafia runs charities too. Both organizations rely on the forebearance of their victims, so they gotta have some way to paint a positive image over the majority of their activities being rotten. And there will always be fools that believe they can join the Mafia to do good -- however, they will not achieve influence because of the incentive structure (the most rapacious get promoted).
Get over yourselves, people. It's a tough world out there, and a government funded by invoulntary contribution doesn't make any of that go away. Doing Evil that Good May Come (TM) doesn't work out in the long run, so either get used to doing things the hard way, or living in a world dominated by evil. By and large, we've chosen the latter, and we need to accept that rather than getting Stockholm Syndrome about the whole affair. Quit defending people who would kill you with your own money without thinking twice about it.
So, I hope you guys reading TFA realize what this is really about: A bunch of ROs got together and figured out a plausible enough justification to pull in more siezures (and hence more promotions/$$$). They win, the taxpayer loses, the Bureacracies doesn't really care because at the end of the day they have a printing press and whole lots of trigger-pullers. The politicians will continue to try and avoid the subject of the IRS altogether, as that makes people think too much about how the sausage is made rather than the delicious *free* sausage they want to offer up. The courts can be relied upon not to rein in the IRS, as they would prefer not to bite the hand that feeds them. The people (in general) cannot be relied upon because they are widely bamboozled that voting can somehow dislodge such ingrained corruption of incentives. The only person you can rely on is yourself -- If you want this to change, you have to be the change you want to see in others.