Are IRS Revenue Agents Being Fair?

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Are IRS revenue agents treating taxpayers fairly? For the most part the answer is "yes", but the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has identified a couple of isolated incidents where IRS officers ignored the rules. The findings were published in a new report released by TIGTA (Review of Fair Tax Collection Practices Violations During Fiscal Year 2013, Ref. No. 2014-10-036, 5/27/214).

TIGTA is required by law to conduct an annual review of fair collection practices by the IRS as required by law (see sidebar). The latest report covers IRS administrative or civil actions resulting from violations in cases opened after July 22, 1998, and closed during Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13). FY13 spans October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013.

Specifically, TIGTA identified two fair collection violations in cases involving the IRS Human Capital Officer Workforce Relations' Automated Labor and Employee Relations Tracking System. Both employees in these cases were IRS revenue officers performing routine collection work. In each case, the agents contacted the taxpayer directly instead of the taxpayer's power of attorney, as required. The IRS took administrative action against both employees, although it does not appear that disciplinary matters went past admonishments.

In addition, TIGTA said that it did not identify any cases that were miscoded as fair tax collection violations or any that should have been coded as potential violations but were not. Also, there were no civil actions resulting in monetary awards for damages to taxpayers because of a fair tax collection violation.

Usually, TIGTA has plenty to say about how the IRS can do things better or more efficiently, but it offered no recommendations in this report. IRS management officials reviewed the report prior to being issued and agreed with the facts and conclusions presented within it.

Related articles:

Taxpayer Advocate Report Focuses on Tax Reform, Collection Issues, Health Care Reform
Ideas for Prompt Collections and Fair Practices

About Ken Berry

Ken Berry

Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a wide variety of newsletters, magazines, and other periodicals.           


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By Bixie
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Read: 26 code §6304 then tell me how, exactly, those harmed have any realistic chance for raising such issues and receiving commensurate remedy:
"U.S. Code › Title 26 › Subtitle F › Chapter 76 › Subchapter B › § 7433
26 U.S. Code § 7433 - Civil damages for certain unauthorized collection actions Current through Pub. L. 113-108. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
US Code Notes Updates
(a) In general If, in connection with any collection of Federal tax with respect to a taxpayer, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service recklessly or intentionally, or by reason of negligence, disregards any provision of this title, or any regulation promulgated under this title, such taxpayer may bring a civil action for damages against the United States in a district court of the United States. Except as provided in section
7432, such civil action shall be the exclusive remedy for recovering damages resulting from such actions.(b) Damages In any action brought under subsection (a) or petition filed under subsection (e), upon a finding of liability on the part of the defendant, the defendant shall be liable to the
plaintiff in an amount equal to the lesser of $1,000,000 ($100,000, in
the case of negligence) or the sum of— (1) actual, direct economic damages sustained by the plaintiff as a proximate result of the reckless or
intentional or negligent actions of the officer or employee, and (2) the costs of the action. (c) Payment authority Claims pursuant to this section shall be payable out of funds appropriated under section 1304 of title 31, United States Code. (d) Limitations (1) Requirement that administrative remedies be exhausted A judgment for damages shall not be awarded under subsection (b) unless the court determines that the plaintiff has exhausted the administrative remedies available to such plaintiff within the Internal Revenue Service. (2) Mitigation of damages. The amount of damages awarded under subsection (b)(1) shall be reduced by the amount of such damages which could have reasonably been mitigated by the plaintiff.
(3) Period for bringing action Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, an action to enforce liability created under this section may be
brought without regard to the amount in controversy and may be brought
only within 2 years after the date the right of action accrues. (e) Actions for violations of certain bankruptcy procedures (1) In general If, in connection with any collection of Federal tax with respect to a taxpayer, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service willfully violates any provision of section 362 (relating to automatic stay) or 524 (relating to effect of discharge) of title 11, United States Code (or any successor provision), or any regulation promulgated under such provision, such taxpayer may petition the bankruptcy court to recover damages against the United States. (2) Remedy to be exclusive (A) In general Except as provided in subparagraph (B), notwithstanding section 105 of such title 11, such petition shall be the exclusive remedy for recovering damages resulting from such actions. (B) Certain other actions permitted Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to an action under section 362(h) of such title 11 for a violation of a stay provided by section 362 of such title; except that—
(i) administrative and litigation costs in connection with such an action may only be awarded under section 7430; and(ii) administrative costs may be awarded only if incurred on or after the date that the bankruptcy petition is filed."

To me, this looks like an 'investigation' performed by a look-the-other-way 'bystander' authority, on behalf of an anchorless, unaccountable law enforcement agency - one that knows it has been given a free pass to torment/shake down the vulnerable at will. Would I like it to be different? I most certainly would. Am I holding my breath that anything real or fair or good will actually happen? Absolutely not.

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