All you need to know about appealing your IRS findings
The Internal Revenue Service better known as the IRS is the governmental agency that ensures that you “give Caesar what belongs to Caesar”. In other words, it conducts the fundamental function of tax collection on a nationwide scale. And so given the importance of the functions performed by such an agency it is typical that such an organization would keep records, records that may in the future be used for reference when the need arises. Read More
The IRS has been increasing user fees to fund its operations. It recently increased or proposed to increase a wide range of fees including the fees for installment agreements (IAs), offers-in-compromise (OICs), pre-filing agreements (PFAs), private letter rulings (PLRs), and special enrollment examinations (SEE). I raised concerns about these increases in my 2015 and 2017 Annual Reports to Congress.
On Feb. 9, 2018, Congress enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), which addresses concerns about the IRS’s largest fee revenue generator – the IA fee increases. The law prevents the IRS from increasing the IA fee again without legislation. It also requires the IRS to waive or refund the fee for taxpayers with income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level who authorize the IRS to directly debit the IA payments (DDIA) from a bank account or who cannot set up a DDIA (e.g., because they do not have a bank account). This legislation suggests that Congress shares some of my concerns. This blog summarizes our concerns. Read More
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. Explore your rights and obligations to protect them.
1. The Right To Be Informed
Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes. Read More
About this time every year, my wonderful staff of attorney-advisors presents me with early drafts of the discussion of the ten most litigated issues in federal courts that are ultimately published in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Annual Report to Congress. Editing these drafts is one of my favorite tasks, because I get to review in a concentrated fashion a significant swath of tax litigation. There are always one or two cases I have missed over the year that leap out at me during the editing process. Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Commissioner is one such case. Read More
The mid-year report of the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, addresses several key problem areas with special note on challenges for the IRS and a special supplement on the recent 501(c)(4) controversy. Her observations on the IRS seem spot on to me. She states:
“Over the last few months, the Internal Revenue Service has been the center of public attention for several reasons, most notably its scrutiny of politically active social welfare organizations seeking recognition as tax-exempt entities. The public attention to these recent events has in many ways reinforced many taxpayers’ preconceived perceptions of the IRS as an agency that treats taxpayers unfairly. While all this is grievous enough and in fact calamitous for public respect for and compliance with the tax laws (because once lost, trust takes a very long time to be regained), these events are symptoms of broader problems festering at the IRS.”
“There is much that is good about the IRS – indeed, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has the deepest respect for the agency and its workforce, even when she vigorously disagrees with the IRS’s actions or policies. But today, the IRS is an institution in crisis. In the NTA’s view, however, the real crisis is not the one generating headlines. The real crisis facing the IRS – and therefore taxpayers – is a radically transformed mission coupled with inadequate funding to accomplish that mission. As a consequence of this crisis, the IRS gives limited consideration to taxpayer rights or fundamental tax administration principles as it struggles to get its job done.” Read More