Wednesday is Tax Day. Those of us who've yet to file (guilty!) our taxes have until midnight our local time on April 15 to get our returns (and money) to the Internal Revenue Service.
That means that these next three days are filled with frustration and anger, much of it directed at the IRS.
That's understandable, notes John Oliver, comedian and host of HBO's Last Week Tonight.
Dealing with the IRS is a dreaded obligation, says Oliver. "It often functions badly and it combines two of the things that we hate the most in life, someone taking our money and math."
But, Oliver still has some sympathy for IRS employees.
Congress, not IRS to blame: We shouldn't be angry at the IRS for the amount of tax we pay. That's has nothing to do with the IRS, notes Oliver. That's determined by Congress.
The Representatives and Senators make the tax laws, then leave them to be administered by the IRS.
Yes, sometimes the agency does that job poorly. Sometimes it screws up royally.
And some employees don't do their jobs well. But that's an issue that's not exclusive to the IRS.
The agency has and does, says Oliver, a "difficult, thankless and almost dangerously boring job that's been getting worse." Don't believe Oliver? Check out IRS employee complaints.
"The fact is, blaming the IRS because you hate paying your taxes is a bit like slapping your checkout clerk because the price of eggs has gone up," said Oliver. "It's not her fault. She's just trying to help you get out of the store."
You can hear Oliver's full defense of the IRS, a not necessarily likable but critically important government agency, in this video.
And stick around for the full segment. It wraps up with a serenade if not of love, at least of reluctant support for the IRS, by Michael Bolton.