The latest audit conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (aka TIGTA, aka “Big Brother”) looked for instances of harassment, oppression, and abuse in the tax debt collection practices of the IRS. But I don’t think they looked hard enough.
According to the audit report:
[T]here were no cases involving Fair Tax Collection Practices (FTCP) violations for which an IRS employee received administrative disciplinary action in FY 2011, and no taxpayers received civil damages for an FTCP violation.
Ok fine, but what does that really say about IRS debt collection practices? The conclusion that was drawn in the report (and the same conclusion that has been drawn year after year in this annual report) is that “taxpayers have reasonable assurance that communications with the IRS in connection with the collection of unpaid taxes generally did not violate the FTCP statute.”
So, let me get this straight. Because no IRS employee was disciplined for harrassing taxpayers and because no taxpayers prevailed in a civil suit under the FTCP statute, then we are to assume that everything is on the up and up? This is pure ridiculousness! From my point of view (my point of view being a tax attorney who has clients come to me on a regular basis complaining about how they were treated by IRS personnel), all this statement means is that IRS management is either too conservative with their discipline, or they are actually going out of their way to protect employees who cross the line. And as for the finding that no taxpayers have received civil damages for a FTCP violation in 2011, well . . . geez, could it be that it is practically impossible to prevail in a civil suit when the claim is that an IRS employee abused his authority and chewed you out?
This report is a slap in the face for those who have been treated unfairly by IRS employees.