For the beleaguered IRS, the hits just keep on coming. After the targeting scandal, a key IRS official claimed the Fifth Amendment. House Committee Votes IRS Official Must Testify Despite Fifth Amendtment. Then there were all the expense issues, including Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island and line dancing videos.
Then there were the abused credit cards. Who wouldn’t like a charge card with bills direct to Uncle Sam? See Audit Finds $119 of Unused Nerf Footballs in IRS Cabinet. A watchdog report says there’s little oversight.
But now, the increasingly popular Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reveals that 30% of IRS Seizures of Taxpayer Property don’t comply with the law. The report has an inglorious title but is worth a look: Fiscal Year 2013 Review of Compliance With Legal Guidelines When Conducting Seizures of Taxpayers’ Property.
Taking a taxpayer’s property for unpaid tax is called a “seizure.” Like any debt collector, the IRS can and does enforce collection in some cases. But there are many legal safeguards.
In fact, after a pendulum swing to a more aggressive IRS, in 1998 the IRS had its wings clipped. To ensure that taxpayers’ rights are protected, in 1998 Congress amended part of the tax code that deals with seizures. I.R.C. §§ 6330 through 6344. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is required to evaluate the IRS annually. One big area is to inspect IRS ’s seizures.
So are taxpayer rights being violated? It turns out they are. TIGTA reviewed a random sample of 50 of 738 seizures conducted from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. What did it reveal?