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IRS Levy and the Government Shutdown - holding taxpayers hostage.  Is the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" a sham?

Shutdown leaves some U.S. taxpayers defenseless against IRS

Remember during the October, 2013 Government Shutdown?  American taxpayers were essentially left defenseless against IRS seizure actions. Calls to the IRS resulted in no response because IRS offices were closed.

Working from the TaxSOS.com  IRS contact list, the one IRS employee who could help with respect to a levy situation was contacted. But that person was about the only one in his office. Even the IRS Commissioner's Office was closed. Further, the extremely limited IRS contacts were not apparently well known by others, including other tax professionals.

On the other hand, the government closed National Parks and the National Mall, and the used armed guards to keep Americans out (at additional expense).  But during this same period, tax seizures continued.

Such is another clear warning to any American, who is not brain dead or asleep, as to how rogue officials embedded within and running the U.S. Government are totally out of control, not accountable, and are doing whatever they desire. It is distressing that these same rogues are going to be in charge of  your healthcare.  To see government run health care - look at how the VA treats our veterans.

So, when the government discusses your "Taxpayer Bill of Rights",  the word hypocrisy may come to mind when your family can't eat because of a seizure of the family bank account.  

The reality is that during this "shutdown", the government  threw the burning lantern into the barn,  sealed you and your family inside, and prevented any rescue.

Thus, it is argued that such "rights" exist at the convenience and pleasure of government officials. It is their "best interest" which is forefront, not the taxpayer.  Of course during this  shutdown, the IRS  continued sending out the levies and seizures.     

Below is an article from Reuters discussing the situation.

By Patrick Temple-West

WASHINGTON | Wed Oct 2, 2013 5:58pm EDT

WASHINGTON Oct 2 (Reuters) - The shutdown of the federal government has left some tax delinquents defenseless against U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asset seizures, tax professionals said on Wednesday.

Some IRS tax collectors who pursue individuals and businesses that are delinquent are working through the shutdown, but IRS staff who help these taxpayers defend themselves from collectors have been furloughed, lawyers said.

"The IRS can levy, but we can't get the help to stop the levy," said Diana Leyden, a tax lawyer and director of the low-income taxpayer clinic at the University of Connecticut. "This is a real problem."

Leyden said her group assists as many as 140 people a year in fighting IRS disputes.

Asked about the situation, a U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman referred questions to the IRS's shutdown-contingency plan, which says the agency is continuing activities "necessary for the protection of government property," including "seizure cases." She declined to comment further.

An IRS spokeswoman said the agency's "shutdown plan is consistent with (its) legal requirements."

Under tax law, the IRS can seize property from Americans who have not paid their taxes. Known as levies, such seizures can target bank account balances, real estate or other assets.

With the shutdown two days old and continuing, other parts of the IRS are closed, including its customer-service phone lines and its staff of full-time taxpayer advocates. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers are also closed.

The U.S. Tax Court, which handles about 90 percent of challenges by taxpayers to the IRS, is also closed.

Despite this, tax levies are still being mailed automatically and enforced by IRS agents who were not furloughed.

IRS levies can often be halted before a seizure occurs, but only when help is available, lawyers said.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, Alicia Mitchell said she has two clients who are losing about $150 a month from their Social Security checks because of IRS levies.

"That's the really frustrating part about the shutdown," said Mitchell, director of the low-income taxpayer clinic at the University of Arkansas that serves up to 150 clients a year.

"There's no access for people who are really suffering from levies," she said.

Levies are different from tax liens. A lien is a claim used as security for a tax debt, while a levy actually takes the assets or property to satisfy the tax debt.

The IRS has furloughed all Taxpayer Advocate Service staffers, according to the IRS' Sept. 30 shutdown plan. Created in 1996, this service offers free help to taxpayers facing problems with the IRS in all 50 states.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service did not exist in its current form during the last government shutdown in 1995-1996.

For the six-month period ending in March, the Taxpayer Advocate handled 4,261 levy cases, down from 5,600 cases in the year-before period, according to a June report.

Without Taxpayer Advocate Service help, "there's no avenue for relief. You're unduly harming a taxpayer," said Laurie Conner, who represents taxpayers before the IRS in Atlanta.

End of Article.

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    If you desire assistance, please contact TaxSOS.com to resolve your IRS levy or IRS wage garnishment problem. Call for a free consultation:  1-866-482-9707.  

Above limited information is intended for informational purposes only.  If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought, and this general information should not be relied upon without such professional assistance.

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For assistance please contact A. Nathan Zeliff, Attorney at Law

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