"For Whom the Bell Tolls: How the IRS Picks Audit Targets" by Bryan C. Skarlatos, The New York Law Journal. April 11, 2008.
As April 15 rolls around again, every citizen faces the task of voluntarily disclosing his or her own income tax liability. Of course, the concept of "voluntary disclosure" is a misnomer because filing a tax return and paying taxes is not really voluntary. There are stiff monetary and even criminal penalties for those who fail to file a return or pay the correct amount of tax. A more accurate description of what happens every April 15 is that Americans "self-assess" their tax liability.