As readers of this Georgia Tax Blog may know, the Internal Revenue Service has been at the center of a number of controversies during 2013, including allegations that the agency targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, questionable expenses the agency logged and IRS employees abusing agency credit cards. The latest hit that the IRS has taken to its public image comes from a report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that revealed that the IRS fails to follow the laws governing Seizures of Taxpayer Property 30 percent of the time.

The report selected 50 of the 738 Seizures that the IRS completed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 at random for an audit. In 15 of those Seizures, the IRS committed a total of 17 violations of taxpayers' rights. Some of the errors that the agency committed include inaccurately applying proceeds of the Seizure to the taxpayers' accounts and sending incorrect remaining balances in balance-due letters to taxpayers after the Seizure.

No one is questioning the right of the IRS to seize property of those who are delinquent in tax payments. However, when the IRS does choose to take property to satisfy tax debts, the agency needs to have better safeguards to ensure that it is not violating taxpayers' rights in the process.

Those who are facing IRS collection actions should be vigilant in checking that the information that the IRS is sending is accurate. Taxpayers should also consult with consult with an attorney knowledgeable in tax laws to make sure they are aware of all of their rights. 

Source: Forbes, "Many IRS Seizures Are Illegal, Government Report Concludes," Robert Wood, July 5, 2013