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From the category archives:


Taxes from A to Z: O is for Offset

17 March 2011

If you owe money to the federal government, your federal income tax refund can be seized to satisfy your debt. This is often referred to as “offset” since the seizures are part of the Treasury Offset Program (TOP); the program is administered by Financial Management Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Examples […]

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IRS Reverses Course on Collections

7 March 2009

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman has announced that the IRS will not renew its contracts with two private debt collection agencies. Those contracts expire this year. You may recall that I was not a fan of turning over collections matters to private companies. Like many other tax professionals, I had concerns about the tactics used by […]

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Fix The Tax Code Friday: Offers in Compromise

2 November 2007

My recent post about an Offer in Compromise (where a taxpayer pays less than their existing liability as part of a deal) gone bad is in stark contrast to a rosier picture painted by CBS News. CBS seems to imply that offers are a bad idea because they reward those with outstanding tax liabilities by […]

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Are IRS employees actually responsible for anything?

1 November 2007

Apparently not. It’s rare that I blog about client matters. I like to keep them private for a variety of reasons not the least of which are ethical considerations. But a recent client matter has me steamed. Really steamed. And it’s blog worthy. I’ll keep it generic. Client had a tax matter that needed immediate […]

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House Cleaning.

10 October 2007

The House has approved legislation that would end the extremely unpopular program that allows private collection agencies to collect tax debts for the IRS. The IRS had previously argued that the policy was not financially viable. Of the $32 million brought in since the collection bill went into effect, the IRS collected $7 million on […]

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You Mean the IRS is Going to Collect Taxes?

19 July 2007

What? You think that’s crazy talk? You would if you have been following the debacle that is allowing private debt collectors to pursue the collection of taxes even though it is more expensive and is expected to collect fewer tax dollars. Government at its finest, no? Concerns about privatizing tax collections have included privacy issues, […]

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The Poll Tax is Gone But…

8 July 2007

Voting and paying taxes are still hand in hand. The IRS has admitted that it has collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states, while vowing that it has never used the information. This, of course, begs the question “why do it?” The states for which political party affiliation data were […]

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Tax Court Just Got a Little Busier.

23 May 2007

The US Supreme Court ruled this week in Hinck v. U.S., 06-376, that only the U.S. Tax Court may review refusals by the Internal Revenue Service to reduce interest payments for underpayment of taxes. John and Pamela Hinck initially brought their case in the US Court of Federal Claims seeking an $18,000 refund of interest, […]

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A Not So Private Matter

16 November 2006

Word on the Street (Wall Street, that is) is that one of the items on the Dems’ new agenda will be to reverse the prior decision to outsource IRS Collections activities to private collection agencies.  Democratic leaders have been among the most vociferous opponents to the change, which was to take effect in September 2006.

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Please sir, can I have some more?

14 November 2006

As previously reported, the IRS appears to be on a fee raising binge…  And they’ve struck again! According to the IRS, as of the first of the year (January 1, 2007) fees for installment agreements will increase as follows: The fee for new direct debit installment agreements, where payments are deducted directly from a taxpayer’s […]

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