The IRS and Your Right to Representation
The Internal Revenue Code makes it clear that any time you are dealing with the IRS, you have the right to representation in connection with contact with any employee or officer of the IRS.
IRC 7521(b)( 2)provides as follows: “If the taxpayer clearly states to an officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service during any interview that the taxpayer wishes to consult with an attorney, certified public accountant, enrolled agent, or any other person permitted to represent the taxpayer before the Internal Revenue Service, such officer or employee shall suspend such interview regardless of whether the taxpayer may have answered one or more questions.”
The above applies to all contact a taxpayer with all IRS employees. This includes Revenue Agents, Revenue Officers, Appeals or Settlement Officers, and contact by a Special Agent in connection with a criminal investigation.
When you make it clear to the IRS employee conducting an interview that you want to consult with representation or counsel before proceeding, the interview must stop at that point. Even if you have already begun cooperating with the agent, they must stop the interview and give you reasonable time to obtain representation.
What is reasonable time? The Internal Revenue Code does not state how much time a taxpayer must be allowed to obtain representation. IRM 184.108.40.206.1, Rights during interviews states: “Generally if a taxpayer states during any interview that he or she wishes to consult with an authorized representative, the employee will suspend the interview to permit such consultation. If the interview is suspected, allow up to 10 business days for the consultation with the authorized representative.”
The IRM, the Internal Revenue Manual, does not carry the force of law…it is IRS’s policies and procedures. Whether a ten-day window is a reasonable period depends upon the facts and circumstances. A minimum of 30 days may be necessary to find, interview retain competent representation in a tax matter. If you need 30 days to locate representation, Tax Crisis Institute can get you the necessary time. 10 days is not cast in concrete.
Even when a taxpayer has hired representation, it is common for IRS agents to attempt to intimidate inexperienced or incompetent counsel to force the taxpayer to appear before the IRS. This is particularly true in audits, but can take place in collection cases, particularly back payroll tax situations.
The intimidation is a bluff. When you are represented, the IRS does not have the right to speak with you directly and cannot force the situation without an administrative summons. When a Power of attorney is in effect, the IRS must deal with the representative!