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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release

June 15, 2011
TIGTA - 2011-29
Contact: Karen Kraushaar
(202) 622-6500

TIGTA Report: IRS Generally Complies with Guidelines When Seizing Taxpayer Property

WASHINGTON – In most instances, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) follows all legal and internal guidelines when conducting seizures of taxpayer property, according to a new report publicly released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

TIGTA is required by statute to annually evaluate the IRS’s compliance with the legal seizure provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) to ensure that taxpayers’ rights were not violated while seizures were being conducted.

In conducting its statutory review, TIGTA reviewed a random sample of 50 of the 578 seizures conducted from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, to determine whether the IRS is complying with all requirements and guidelines when conducting each seizure.

In the majority of seizures, the IRS followed all guidelines, and TIGTA did not identify any instances in which the taxpayers were adversely affected. However, TIGTA found instances in which the amount of the liability for which the seizure was made was not correct on the notice of seizure provided to the taxpayer, and the sale of the seized property was not advertised as required.

“It is extremely important that the IRS comply with all requirements and guidelines when seizing a taxpayer’s property,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “Failure to follow legal and internal guidelines could result in the abuse of taxpayers’ rights,” he said.

Over the past several years, the IRS has implemented procedures and controls significantly improving compliance with legal and internal guidelines. For example, in the Fiscal Year 2008 review, TIGTA identified 25 instances in which the IRS did not comply with a particular I.R.C. requirement, involving 19 of the 50 seizures reviewed.

This year, TIGTA auditors identified nine instances in which the IRS did not comply. TIGTA did not make any recommendations in this report, but provided IRS officials an opportunity to review the draft report. IRS management did not provide any report comments.

Read the report.


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