I R S (serving who?)

Hoping to open space for maybe several threads for sharing info and experiences with the federal behemoth that prefers to bully the poor rather than spend the effort to find out who’s actually evading amounts that might come to revenue worth the effort to collect.

Among the things learned in my nearly 3-year tussle over less than $6,000:

  • There’s a form called “Offer in Compromise,” including two general options, (a) I cannot pay my full tax bill, and (b) I could pay, but if I did, it might contribute to a public impression that the tax laws are not administered fairly. You tell them what you are willing to pay, and they accept or reject it.
    Under (b), there’s a specialist group to which all such offers are supposed to be submitted, but collections agents do not follow their own rules.

  • The IRS Manual, even denser than tax law, but their policies and procedures, is available to the public on line, IRM | Internal Revenue Service, yes pronounced erm.

I’ve just filed against the Commissioner in Tax Court and am waiting for their answer. They do not intimidate me.

Thanks for sharing your story BKS, I really appreciate your tone. It helps to embolden me after years of debt exhaustion. I’m ready to do the offer in compromise but want to connect with people who have done it and others who want to join me and go through the steps. I don’t want to be on my own with this stuff anymore. I spoke with an attorney at a legal clinic last year that suggested I use the offer in compromise option for both back tax and student loan debt. He said that if you think your earning potential will be low for three years to come and you’ve had a low earning over time then they would rather forgive than collect. But I’ve heard all kinds of stories about people being run down by the IRS for years over small debts. The main thing is that they make it hard to find mercy. While in discussion with a friend about the court system I learned of the notion that the courts main objective is to be the arm of mercy for the people as it is commonly known the inequity among us. If we feel that we must beg for mercy it is a sign that the system is out of balance in such a way that requires relief and protections must be introduced for fear of unmentionable consequences. Collectively we put up with a lot before we are willing to confront the exploitation after all these years of gaslighting. We know it is going to be damn near impossible to stop our personal losses but when it becomes almost everybody in our family, well then, that’s a different story. This crucial information about mercy was introduced to me at 55 years of age after many years in the fist of institutional debt. I like to think that this debt problem and the issue of exploitation meets head on with this mandate for mercy. Especially now with economic consequences of Covid, I am hoping we can come together and utilize whatever tools are available for student loan and IRS debtors. I’d love to hear of the experiences people have had using the offer in compromise tool or succeeded in accessing debt mercy in some way. I am also interested in finding out more on how to protect against garnishment of disability and social security income due to debt strike. The call for strike cannot be met without protections for individuals. We know that from the Unions. Making the demand for mercy requires a tremendous effort and mental courage that is very difficult to muster when your basic survival needs are under threat. Did we really give our government this power to run us down? EVEN OUR MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US??? I mean, really. I believe there has been a misunderstanding.

Laurel, I don’t think the word “mercy” appears in the RM, but the word “respect” is all over it. That’s what we must demand. The workers at the IRS are demoralized and apparently rewarded per case closed rather than on the amounts collected. Thus they are motivated to our low-hanging fruit, mostly undefended by attorneys and accountants.

My own big tax bill hangs on the taxability of back disability payments, a punishment for managing to survive to be adjudicated disabled. Thus I could have paid the bill at the time, but felt it looked unfair to hand over almost 10% of what I’d been unable to earn over 5 years. Unfortunately, about the same time we took in our adult child and their partner, and feeding and housing them roared through the benefits. We got screamed at, literally (complained to TIGTA), for that by the OIC appeals agent and supervisor, and now we’re at inability to pay, appealed and denied.

I don’t know what to expect from Tax Court, which is its own system, other than that it’s me suing the IRS, and they have to prove where they got the idea I have $600/mo disposable income. This was declared, in my absence, through my Legal Aid rep.

The key to all of it, though, I’m convinced, is to be organized and knowledgeable. They expect us to knuckle to their bullying.

The IRS recently put me into collections for roughly $750, which I owe from the 2016 tax year. My annual income has never exceeded $20k. I called a while back and explained I couldn’t pay, and apparently they put a note in my file saying the tax was uncollectible. However, the uncollectible status was contingent upon staying in good standing with the IRS, filing on time going forward. I missed the October late deadline to file my 2019 taxes, and they put me in collections within a month.

Nicole, I’m really sorry to hear that. Not sure what you can do, but if you can bear to look through the IRM section on collections, you might find some help. Might also help to contact your legislators’ offices ad hope one of the three has a compassionate and knowledgeable staffer for IRS issues. I had one in Sen. Menendez’s office, but he kind of fell away and I’m afraid may have moved on.

I think it’s time to start organizing a campaign for major reform of the IRS.

Could not agree more with the reform suggestion. Nicole, I have a number of years in back taxes in “currently not Collectable” status. I do believe this is the right time to expose these heartless acts of economic terror on poor people. Sometimes I sit back and consider just how cruel the credit system is as it relates to being able to access housing. It’s been a big issue for me here in the Bay Area. Again, thank you both for sharing your experience, it helps me build courage. I plan on escalating my cases with the dept of ed and the IRS ASAP as I do believe the social discourse is ready for the conversation after 9 months of Covid19. I really enjoyed the Biden Jubilee zoom meeting with the debt collective yesterday. Smart people working through it. Feels good.