A View of The IRS Through Corporate Insider Eyes – Corporate Tax Audit Survival – Part 4

Reference Cliff Jernigan's eBook Corporate Tax Audit SurvivalThis is Part [4] of a series of a Chapter in the eBook “Corporate Tax Audit Survival – A View of The IRS Through Corporate Insider Eyes” by Cliff Jernigan.

You can download the entire eBook here.

Sample From Chapter 4: “Big Brother”

When I first engaged the IRS voice messaging system, I was stunned by the message: “Welcome to the IRS voice messaging system. Unauthorized use of this facility could result in civil and criminal penalties.” After this admonition, I was almost afraid to use the IRS phone system.

A few days later I received an email message warning me that I could be disciplined if I did not pay my government credit card bill on time. I thought, “Am I working with a bunch of deadbeats?”

Shortly thereafter I received a sternly-worded message telling me there would be severe consequences, including possible termination of employment, if I incurred estimated tax payment penalties for underpayment of estimated taxes or if I made a mistake on my federal income tax return. I thought, “Am I working with a bunch of tax cheats?”

I considered the references to late payments of credit card bills and tax filing penalties.

Why would IRS employees be receiving these messages? Was I not working with some of the most honorable people in America?

I concluded that the messages were ill-advised and would never have been sent by management in the private sector. Messages like these can only breed hurt feelings and damage morale. To me, the messages are insulting, and I believe the practice should be eliminated.

In accordance with Circular 230 Disclosure


Cliff Jernigan is a long-time member of the California bar, with a law degree from Hastings College of the University of California and an advanced tax law degree from New York University Law School. He has been associated with a New York City international law firm and has held corporate tax counsel positions in the areas of banking, chemicals, food and real estate, and semiconductors, where he was Director of Tax and Global Public Policy for AMD. His last position was as a US Treasury Department appointee in the senior management of the IRS in the Large and Mid-Size Business Division, where he advised management on the major issues of the telecommunications, high-technology and media industries.

Jernigan has been a leader in promoting positive relationships between industry and the IRS. He was a founder and first president of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the Tax Executives Institute, the founder/director of the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group, the Chair of the Tax Committee of the American Electronics Association, and the Chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association.

For many years he was a part-time business school adjunct assistant professor at Golden Gate University and an instructor in the Graduate Tax Program at San Jose State University.

Jernigan has written three books. Two of the books dealt with the topic of international trade issues for the high-technology industry. The last book describes his experiences during his appointment to the IRS.

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