Taxpayer Bill of Rights  

Press Release #105-278

Roth Bill Addresses Issues Raised by
Witnesses in Hearings

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth's IRS reform bill would have prevented many of the problems that taxpayers brought before the Finance Committee last fall and earlier this year.

How the Roth IRS Reform bill would have helped the taxpayers who testified before the Finance Committee:

1. Katherine Lund Hicks:

Problem: Case began when the IRS came after Mrs. Lund Hicks for her ex-husband's tax liability.

Solution: Innocent spouse changes: Mrs. Lund Hicks would not have been held responsible for the $7000 tax liability on the money her ex husband earned.

Problem: The IRS could not answer the question of how much she owed.

Solution: All notices that Mrs. Lund Hicks received would have had a name, phone number and address of an IRS employee that she would have been able to contact regarding the notice. This person would have had to get her an answer.

Problem: The IRS would not tell her whether her ex husband had paid the tax liability.

Solution: Treasury Inspector General would have ensured that IRS notified Mrs. Lund Hicks of the amount they collected from her ex husband.

Problem: The IRS filed a (inappropriate) tax lien against Mrs. Lund Hicks and her husband without notice:

Solution: Lien would have not been allowed because original tax debt was less than $5000.

Solution: There would have been many more safeguards in the system to prevent an inappropriate lien.

Solution: Mrs. Lund Hicks and her new husband would have had due process rights to prevent or delay the lien.

Problem: IRS continued collection activity while Mrs. Lund Hicks was trying to resolve problem.

Solution: Not allowed under Roth bill.

Problem: IRS Fresno office would not provide Problem Resolution Officer with necessary documents to prove that Mrs. Lund Hicks owed nothing.

Problem: Collection agent told Mrs. Lund Hicks that he knew the tax had been paid and that she did not owe the money but she still had to pay the $8000 to get rid of the lien.

Problem: After Mrs. Lund Hicks paid the IRS, she received a Certificate of Release of Lien. However, five years later she received a Notice of Intent to Levy. She was told that the Release of Lien was meaningless. She then went to the problems resolution office and found that they acted like an arm of the collections division.

Solution: Taxpayer Advocates office will be independent and would have been much more helpful to Mrs. Lund Hicks under the Roth bill.

Problem: Later the IRS levied against her husband's salary, allowing him to keep $18 a week to support his family.

Solution: Offers in compromise program would have allowed her husband to keep much more.

2. Tom Savage

Problem: IRS went after Mr. Savage for money owed by a non related sub contractor. The IRS asserted falsely that Mr. Savage and the subcontractor were partners so that the agency could go after Mr. Savage for the sub's tax liability.

Solution: Employee who created this false partnership would have been terminated under the Roth bill.

3. Monsignor Lawrence Ballweg

Problem: Eight month ordeal with the IRS because of their bureaucracy.

Solution: Under the Roth bill, all IRS notices and correspondence must include the name,phone number and address of an IRS employee the taxpayer should contact regarding the notice. If Monsignor Ballweg had had a point of contact at the IRS, he could have gotten the problems straightened out.

4. Nancy Jacobs

Problem: 17 year ordeal due to mix up with various employer identification numbers. This led to erroneous lien filed against her and her husband for unpaid back payroll taxes. The Jacobs paid the erroneous lien because they didn't want to fight it. Later, they were hit with a second lien. IRS still owes the Jacobs thousands of dollars.

Solution: The agency under the Roth legislation as well as the Rossotti reforms would have been much more willing to help the Jacobs.

5. Innocent spouses

Problem: IRS harassing taxpayers for ex spouse's tax liability.

Solution: All of the women at our innocent spouse hearing could not be held responsible for any of the tax liability under the Roth bill.

And, while our innocent spouse changes will not be retroactive, any cases that are still pending will be covered by our changes to the innocent spouse law.

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