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Is the IRS Bypassing Your Taxpayer Representatives?

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not included your taxpayer representative in all aspects of your case, you are not alone. A recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the IRS does sometimes ignore taxpayer representatives in the collection process.

Under IRS policy, taxpayers have a right to retain a tax attorney or an enrolled agent to represent them before the IRS.  The TIGTA review of closed field collection investigations in the Small Business/Self-Employed Division found that taxpayer representatives were not always included in discussions between the revenue officers and the taxpayer. Additionally, revenue officers did not always copy the taxpayer representative on correspondence and not providing the taxpayer with enough time to obtain counsel.

While the IRS has existing policies and procedure in place to ensure taxpayers the right to appropriate and effective representation, it appears the procedures are not always being followed.

“It is troubling that some IRS revenue officers deviated from longstanding procedures designed to protect taxpayers’ rights,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

IRS officials agreed with TIGTA’s recommendation and plan to take steps to ensure that existing procedures designed to afford taxpayers their right to appropriate and effective representation are followed during the field collection process.

To help ensure that you receive the proper representation, always hire a qualified tax attorney or enrolled agent who has experience working with the IRS on collection matters. It is important that your representative is thoroughly familiar with the IRS rules and procedures and can be a strong advocate for you.

Read the TIGTA’s press release and report.