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IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE IN THE IRS

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To the editor:

On Dec. 1, at 8:30 a.m. in Northern Utah, four IRS agents knocked on the door of a taxpayer who owed the IRS delinquent taxes. They handed him a Writ of Entry, signed by a federal magistrate allowing the IRS to enter his home and seize his personal property, including piano, tables, chairs, china, sofas, lamps, lawn mower, desk and other personal effects.They were accompanied by two moving vans and approximately 20 movers who within two hours packed and removed all of the man's personal property. The IRS prepared a list of the items and their estimated auction value, handing it to the man as they left his empty home.

This intrusion into the privacy of the American taxpayer is the fourth in Utah within the past year. It was done without a notice or court hearing, based only upon the affidavit of the IRS agent. The taxpayer is not entitled to notice or a hearing to refute the IRS affidavit nor question the propriety of granting such a court order.

The IRS ignored the bills of sale showing that the taxpayer had five years prior gifted the property to his daughter. The IRS ignored letters from the taxpayer's attorney two months prior requesting that IRS accept a payment from the taxpayer's children to buy the personal property at a value acceptable to IRS.

The net result of this intrusion into the privacy of an American taxpayer is the increased government expense, storage costs, personal trauma to the elderly taxpayers and finally, the sale of assets for far less than the IRS was offered by the taxpayer's children.

Certainly, the taxpayer could sue in federal court for a return of his property, but this is expensive and time consuming. Only provable actual damages are allowed, with no regard for the intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress to the taxpayers.

I previously worked for the IRS for 10 years, and for the past 12 years I've handled hundreds of tax problems in private practice. This example is only one of thousands throughout the nation which are examples of the inconsistent and arbitrary treatment of taxpayers by the IRS.

When the tax system is used to harass and intimidate taxpayers, without regard to whether or not it actually results in increased tax collection, it is time for a change.

My concern is that such a system that allows the personal invasion of taxpayer rights and privacy, without notice or a hearing, is not consistent with the fundamental principles of fair play and due process upon which America was founded.

Craig P. Orrock

Tax attorney

Salt Lake City