IRS Levy and the Government Shutdown - holding
taxpayers hostage. Is the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" a
Shutdown leaves some U.S. taxpayers defenseless
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.
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
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,
"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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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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