When a taxpayer applies for a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO), Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 7811(d) extends the deadline for the IRS to assess or collect tax. Thus, if the IRS significantly harms the taxpayer financially and he or she must ask TAS for assistance, IRC § 7811(d) rewards the IRS and punishes the taxpayer. The law is a trap for the uninformed because it only applies to taxpayers who ask for assistance in writing, not to those who call the toll-free line. The IRS has thus far not implemented § 7811(d) because it is unnecessary and impossible to administer. However, a recent decision will generate litigation about whether IRC § 7811(d) extends a taxpayer’s deadlines, and if so, for how long, bringing the issue to a head. Congress should either repeal or fix IRC § 7811(d).
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