The IRS has a number of policies and procedures to help ensure that taxpayers are afforded the right to designate an authorized representative to act on their behalf in a variety of tax matters.
TIGTA selected a statistically valid stratified sample of 105 taxpayers from a population of 1,365 taxpayers who had collection actions documented in case history narratives by Field Collection employees between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.
TIGTA Reviewed The Case History Narratives For
These Sampled Taxpayers And Found "No" Instances
In Which The Field Collection Employee Violated
A Taxpayer’s Rights Under I.R.C. § 7521 And
Fair Tax Collection Practices Of I.R.C. § 6304(A)(2).
While the majority of Field Collection employees appeared to be familiar with the direct contact provisions and fair tax collection practices, not all revenue officers are familiar with the requirements of the provisions.
TIGTA interviewed a judgmental sample of 20 revenue officers out of the 2,505 Field Collection employees as of September 30, 2021. When presented a hypothetical situation involving a revenue officer’s response to a taxpayer asking to speak to a certified public accountant for an opinion on the issue at hand, four of the 20 revenue officers did not state that they would suspend or reschedule the interview. Sixteen of the 20 who would end the interview would allow consultation times that ranged from two to 30 calendar days. The revenue officer is to allow a minimum of 10 business days for the consultation with an authorized representative after a suspended interview.
When presented hypothetical situations involving taxpayers requesting or already having a power of attorney, the majority of revenue officers would require the appropriate form to designate a power of attorney but do not know to request an updated form when all open tax periods are not covered.
TIGTA recommended that the IRS issue a reminder memorandum to all revenue officers and group managers reemphasizing the importance of revenue officers following established guidelines and procedures on the taxpayer’s right to representation and direct contact. The IRS agreed with our recommendation and plans to issue a formal reminder to all revenue officers and group managers.
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