TIGTA – Shows That IRS Violated the Restrictions on Directly Contacting Taxpayers 11.5% of the Time!
September 16, 2013
A review of the
IRS Office of Appeals, which resolves disputes between the agency and taxpayers, found officials did not always follow proper procedures when dealing with taxpayers or their legally designated representatives.
A review of a statistical sample of 96 of 72,239 cases closed by Appeals between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, showed that Appeals personnel are generally involving the power of attorneys in case activities.
However, the documentation in case activity records in the ACDS (Appeals Centralized Database System) and in the physical case files that we were able to obtain did not always show that Appeals personnel adhered to procedures that help ensure compliance with the direct contact provisions of the I.R.C. and that taxpayers obtain appropriate and effective representation.
Specifically, we identified the following conditions in 11 of the 96 cases reviewed.
- In 2 cases, Appeals personnel attempted to contact the taxpayer directly by telephone instead of contacting the representative designated on the power of attorney in the ACDS or Integrated Data Retrieval System. There was no evidence indicating the power of attorney was delaying the process or that Appeals personnel contacted their manager for approval to contact the taxpayer as required by direct contact provisions of the I.R.C.
- In 9 cases, there was no evidence that copies of taxpayer correspondence were sent to the power of attorney identified on the ACDS or Integrated Data Retrieval System. For 6 of the 9 cases, this occurred as part of the initial contact. IRS policy requires that all original correspondence be sent to the taxpayer and a copy sent to the taxpayer’s authorized representative, unless the taxpayer has indicated otherwise on Form 2848.
o For 6 of the 9 cases, this occurred as part of the initial contact. IRS policy requires that all original correspondence be sent to the taxpayer and a copy sent to the taxpayer’s authorized representative, unless the taxpayer has indicated otherwise on Form 2848.
o For 4 of the 9 cases, neither the documentation in the hard copy case files nor the case activity records in the ACDS showed that copies of the taxpayer correspondence were mailed to the power of attorneys.
o For 5 of the 9 cases, Appeals personnel did not document in the ACDS case history narratives whether copies of taxpayer correspondence were sent to the power of attorneys. Although we were unable to obtain the hard copy case files for these cases, Appeals guidelines require that all key actions be documented in the ACDS.
When the sample results are projected to the population, we estimate that the deviations may have Negatively Affected 8,277 Taxpayers.
Moreover, the deviations also leave the IRS vulnerable to a greater risk of taxpayers seeking to recover monetary damages from the IRS if they believe its personnel are intentionally disregarding the direct contact provisions of the I.R.C.
We tell our clients that if IRS contacts them directly, even after we have filed our Power of Attorney, they should be polite and advise them that they are represented by Marini & Associates, P.A and then give them our phone number and ... Say Nothing Else!
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