The Taxpayer Bill of Rights became law in 1988, but it has yet to
sink into the hearts and memories of Internal Revenue Service
sleuths. The California Society of Enrolled Agents recently charged
that IRS agents routinely grill taxpayers over the phone without
first telling them of their right to say nothing until they've talked
to a tax adviser. Such omissions violate Section 7520 of the bill.
The offense is most likely to occur when an agent places a call to
schedule an audit meeting. Before the unwitting -- and often scared
witless -- taxpayer knows it, the revenuer is trying to pry out
information that will be used against the taxpayer at the audit.
Should you be telehounded in this manner, you can simply refer to the
Taxpayer Bill of Rights and say you wish to consult an attorney,
certified public accountant, enrolled agent or other tax pro before
you talk to the IRS. Then terminate the conversation. If the agent
persists, ask for the name of his or her supervisor, hang up and
promptly phone in your complaint.
This is an article from the Oct. 1, 1991 issue