A Gallup Poll released in April 2014 found that two-thirds of Americans believe that the Internal Revenue Service abuses its power. Yet few people realize exactly how much arbitrary power the IRS has through the Courts and the Laws of the United States.
Remember that the IRS like any government agency has a purpose to enforce the laws and like other government agencies the IRS will use all means available to achieve this purpose. For one thing the IRS will conduct undercover operations sometimes even masquerade as professionals to entice other citizens to violate tax laws.
The most common and for many people most cartographic use of power by the IRS is levying bank accounts, paychecks and other sources of income. Unlike a typical creditor, the IRS is able to do this without having to hire an attorney and for the most part does not even require a person to initiate this action. Instead it is the IRS computers that scour taxpayers’ accounts and when seeing that there is an outstanding balance sending out those dreaded Notices of Levy. What is even more tragic is that many times the amount that the IRS is seeking to collect is more than what the taxpayer should actually owe.
Take, for example, the case of Melvin Powers. In 1983 the IRS decided to investigate Mr. Powers’ 1978 and 1979 tax returns. Mr. Powers was a Houston builder and owner of five office buildings; he had only an eighth-grade education. The IRS had made no effort to examine Mr. Powers’ tax returns during the three years of the statute of limitations. Six weeks before the statute was to expire, an IRS agent asked Mr. Powers to sign a waiver of his statute of limitations, allowing the IRS to investigate him for another three years. Mr. Powers willingly agreed. In 1986, the IRS disallowed almost all of Mr. Powers’ business deductions for 1978 and 1979 and demanded $7,145,266.71 in back taxes, interest and penalties.
Shortly after the IRS’s assessment, a bankruptcy court trustee seized all of Mr. Powers’ operations, caused Mr. Powers to vacate his office premises, and took possession of his books and records for all years. Then, in early 1991, the IRS reversed itself and conceded that Mr. Powers actually had legitimate losses for the years under scrutiny and thus owed no taxes for those years. After IRS officials canceled the $7 million tax bill, Mr. Powers successfully sued the IRS to cover his legal costs for the case but it was already way too late as the IRS had devastated his life.
Another amazing position that the IRS maintains is that the IRS is entitled to impose penalties or seize property for overdue taxes even after the agency admits sending tax deficiency notices to the wrong address.
Take for example the case of Clayton and Darlene Powell. In late 1987 the Powell’s moved from Adelphi, MD, to Mitchellville, MD, and filed a tax return with their new address in early 1988. A few weeks after the IRS received the Powell’s’ new address, the agency sent a notice of deficiency for their 1984 tax return to their old address. The local post office — though it had the forwarding address — returned the notice to the IRS. Though the three-year statute of limitations had expired on the Powell’s 1984 return, on Dec. 28, 1988, the IRS sent a tax bill to their new address giving the couple 10 days to pay $6,864 in back taxes, interest and penalties or have their property seized. The Powell’s paid and then sued the IRS to get a refund.
The Federal Appeals Court ruled that “the Powell’s are entirely innocent” and ordered the IRS to issue a refund. The IRS then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, contending that as long as the IRS mailed a tax deficiency notice to a taxpayer’s “last known address”, the taxpayer must be presumed to have received the notice — even when it is indisputable that he did not receive it.
The Justice Department, in its brief on this case, noted that the IRS “issues more than 2 million notices of deficiency each year and approximately 240,000 of those notices were returned undelivered during the past year.” The Justice Department whined that requiring the IRS to actually notify citizens of tax assessments before final seizure notices would impose “unmanageable detective burdens” on the IRS. The government went on to say that “This case threatens to create a ‘window of time’ during which the Internal Revenue Service may be helpless to protect its rights in pursuing delinquent taxpayers”.
The Supreme Court denied the government’s request to re-examine the Powell case. Yet even though the IRS lost in Federal Appeals Court on this issue and paid back the Powell’s, the agency has formally chosen to disregard that court’s verdict — to follow a policy of “nonacquiescence,” in legal terms. The IRS believes the court made a mistake and thus that the agency has no obligation to respect its decision.
So what is one to do when it is the IRS’ perspective that the citizen has an unlimited obligation to comply with its demands — even when the IRS fails to inform the citizen of its demands? You need to hire an experienced and local tax attorney who is accountable to you and will act in your best interest to defend you from the IRS and get an acceptable resolution. Having experienced tax counsel will level the playing field and take the IRS out of the driver’s seat.
Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.
Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems to allow you to have a fresh start.