Written by: Theodor M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee
- No IRS Fun
- IRS Interest Rates
- Nickels and Dimes for Teachers
Boy, how things have changed. I started my career in the tax world as an IRS agent trained in Newark, New Jersey, and assigned to an IRS office on Ellison St., Paterson, NJ. It was one of the least sophisticated places you can imagine. The same door that led to a staircase to the second floor where the IRS offices were located made you walk past the barstools in the rather seedy bar downstairs. The big windows overlooking Ellison Street had gold lettering announcing Internal Revenue Service. I absolutely loved the place. It had a down-home environment and a certain esprit de corps among the agents who worked there. No one had cubicles everyone had the same government-issue gray metal desks in a big, wide open space. Those of us who were in the examination division also had a side chair designed for the poor taxpayers we dragged in for audit. I remember the light fixtures were oversized frosted glass bowls hanging from metal supports on the ceiling that reminded me of my days in grammar school at St. Joseph’s. But it was the people who worked there that really made the place special. For a relatively small office, we had representation in all three branches: examination, collection, and criminal division. I immediately started fantasizing about becoming an IRS special agent. They were the fraud investigators authorized to carry guns on special occasions and assigned to assist Secret Service should the need arise to protect the president. They were a pretty intense bunch. While I am sure they loved their work, it was serious going. On the other hand revenue officers assigned to the collection branch seemed to be having a damn good time. Way back then there were few women who became revenue officers. It was a tough job. These folks are unarmed and go out visiting taxpayers trying to wring additional dollars out of them for the taxes they owe. Whenever you see an IRS agent is assaulted or even killed the odds are it is a revenue officer. We’re talking ancient history now when IRS officers had the right to seize the taxpayer’s assets with little advance notice. These guys would leave the Ellison Street office on what amounted to a tax treasure hunt. I can recall one man carrying what looked like an oversized doctor’s bag with his various tools for snipping and cutting wires, locks and things of that sort. There was one story that circulated at our office that one unfortunate taxpayer called the police as his brand-new truck had been stolen right from his driveway. The police eventually got to us and the revenue officer assigned was pleased to tell them it was a federal seizure and that the truck would be offered for sale. Personally, I’ve always thought that this style of tax-enforced collection procedures produced the correct result. But like all things, many instances of abuse existed and led to the drawn-out procedures that now exist for revenue officers to complete the seizure process. Working on this side of things for the last forty years, it was my job to see to it that the seizure process was done correctly with perhaps as much difficulty as possible for IRS. Many revenue officers grew tired and frustrated and opted for retirement when the new statutes allowed collection due process hearings drastically taking the fun out of being a revenue officer. But it is about to get worse. As part of a larger transformation effort the IRS is now ending unannounced visits to taxpayers by agency revenue officers. They say the purpose is to reduce public confusion and enhance overall safety measures for taxpayers and employees. So a mailing advising that the revenue officer is coming must be given. Advance notice. Oh, Heck. I’m sure the guy with the doctor’s bag has already retired. If not this would certainly be the last straw.
- Interest rates that IRS charges for underpayments that is amounts taxpayers owe, as well as for overpayments for refunds that are due will rise to 8% for the quarter starting October 1.
- Demonstrating once again how teachers get the short end of the tax stick, the IRS issued a new school year reminder for educators. The maximum educator expense deduction is $300 for 2023. A whopping $50.00 increase. They can claim this miserable pittance even if they also claim the standard deduction. We should all be embarrassed.
Questions or Comments should be sent to:
Theodore M. David, Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com