Tax Payer Rights to Counsel
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report on September 12, 2012 requiring IRS employees to stop an interview if the taxpayer requests to talk to a representative. The IRS employee may not bypass a representative without supervisory approval.
TIGTA took a sample of 73 cases of 25,000 Small business collection investigations. Of the 73 cases, TIGTA found 14 Revenue Officers, or almost 20 per cent violated the law! This is flagrant and outrageous.
How the IRS May Violate your rights
We know the IRS is a law unto itself, but in the sample of cases found the Revenue Officers violated the law by:
- Contacting the taxpayer directly, rather than the authorized representative on the initial contact, and
- Not sending copies of taxpayer correspondence to the authorized representative.
This negatively impacts taxpayers to obtain appropriate and effective representation during collection investigations. Further the IRS can be sued if personnel are intentionally disregarding the direct contact provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
In their response to the report, IRS officials agreed with the recommendations and plan to take corrective actions.
How to protect your rights
As a taxpayer if you are contacted by a Revenue Officer while you are represented, do not hesitate to initiate an investigation with TIGTA. Their e-mail address is TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov; the phone number is (202) 622-6500. As members of Dan Pilla’s Tax Freedom Institute, representatives are aggressively moving to see these laws enforced. I was the initial founding member of this group 20 years ago.
Dana M. Ronald
Tax Crisis Institute