Keith’s post this morning referenced the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s blog post discussing the Mescalero case; her office reached out to us to provide some additional information that she had intended to share in a future blog post of her own. Below is the latest, straight from the NTA:
After my blog posted, an analyst from TEGE contacted my senior research advisor, asking how we had come up with the estimate that it took only 1 or 2 hours to identify the workers and their tax payments. My research advisor explained that there is a systemic way of searching and compiling the records. Apparently the IRS had been searching each worker’s record manually, which took hours and hours…..This made me feel very sad, because clearly this analyst cared deeply and wanted to do the right thing.
It appears to me that the CCA may have been driven by the IRS’s concerns that is it “did not have the resources” to do these manual searches. My office has committed to working with TEGE to show them how to do systemic searches, and then my office will go back to Chief Counsel and ask them to reconsider its CCA.
What is most disturbing about all this is that no one took seriously enough the taxpayer’s right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, such that someone would think to explore whether there was a systemic way to pull this information. This shows that there is still much work to do to embed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in every aspect of IRS activity.
Thanks to the NTA for reaching out to Procedurally Taxing, and allowing us to publish her views.
For an index to all of the NTA’s blog posts see here
The NTA plays an important role in highlighting when tax administration neglects to take into account fundamental taxpayer rights, as well as highlighting ways that tax administrators can embrace and promote those rights.
Relatedly, the NTA is convening the third international taxpayer rights conference in the Netherlands on May 3rd and 4th. I attended the first two conferences, and I learned a great deal about tax administration generally and how other countries (and the US) are faring in incorporating taxpayer rights into all facets of tax administration. Information about the conference, including an agenda and registration, can be found here.