Part I: New TIGTA Report to Congress (Sept 30) Has International Emphasis on Collecting Taxes Owed by “International Taxpayers”: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

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TIGTA’s Semiannual Reports – Today’s Report with International Considerations – Part I

The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Justice (Tax Division) are the “soldiers” on the ground used to enforce U.S. federal tax law.  They interpret the law, in no small part based upon the expertise and input of the myriad of experts in the U.S. Treasury, IRS and DOJ.TIGTA Semi Annual Report - Cover

However, there are outside forces which oftentimes seem to have an “over-sized” influence on how, when and what priorities are identified in the IRS and DOJ.  One of those powers of course is the Administration which makes up the Treasury Department and the very Department of Justice.  The green book proposals of the Treasury and different policy proposals are an example.  The other organization, within the Executive Branch is the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

TIGTA is the sort of “watch dog” over the IRS that independently reviews the work undertaken and often times questions that work and the IRS’ efforts.  Per its own website it describes itself as:

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was established in January 1999 in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) to provide independent oversight of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) activities. As mandated by RRA 98, TIGTA assumed most of the responsibilities of the IRS’ former Inspection Service.

TIGTA is separate and apart from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (“TAS”).  See, excerpts of TAS reports here.

Another important influence is the Congress.  See a prior post from September 2014 on this topic:   How Congressional Hearings (Particularly In the Senate) Drive IRS and Justice Department Behavior

The latest semi-annual report to Congress from TIGTA (published today), has a number of highlights that affect Accidental Americans and other United States Citizens (“USCs”) and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who live principally outside the U.S.:
 *
The Internal Revenue Service Needs to Enhance Its International Collection
Efforts
 *
International tax noncompliance remains a significant area of concern for the IRS. The IRS’s collection efforts need to be enhanced to ensure that delinquent international taxpayers become compliant with their U.S. tax obligations.  Our review found that the IRS has not provided effective management oversight to international collection, contributing to several control weaknesses in the program. Most notably, international
collection does not have:
 *
• Adequate policies and procedures, position descriptions,or the training needed to ensure that international revenue officers can properly work international collection cases;
 *
• A specific inventory selection process that ensures that the international collection cases with the highest risk are worked;
 *
• Performance measures and enforcement results reported separately from domestic collection; and
 *
A process to measure the effectiveness of the Customs Hold as an enforcement tool.
 *
Customs Hold:  A notification to the Department of Homeland Security that, according to IRS records, a taxpayer owes Federal taxes. If the taxpayer should return to the United States or Commonwealth Territories without having paid the total amount due, he or she could be interviewed by a Customs and Border Protection Officer at the time of entry. The IRS will then be advised of the taxpayer’s arrival and will be provided with information enabling it to contact the taxpayer regarding payment of his or her outstanding tax liability.
 *
See pages 49 and 59 of latest semi-annual report to Congress from TIGTA (published today), April 1, 2014 –September 30, 2014.

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