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irs customer service number for tax refund

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Internal Revenue Service

Revenue service of the United States federal government

For the Indian tax body, see Indian Revenue Service. For the Ghanaian institution, see Internal Revenue Service (Ghana).

"IRS" redirects here. For other uses, see IRS (disambiguation).

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue service of the United States federal government, which is responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code, the main body of the federal statutory tax law. It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs, including the Affordable Care Act.[5]

IRS Building in Washington D.C.
IRS location sign on Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C.

The IRS originates from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a federal office created in to assess the nation's first income tax to fund the American Civil War. The temporary measure provided over a fifth of the Union's war expenses before being allowed to expire a decade later. Inthe Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified authorizing Congress to impose a tax on income, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue was established. Inthe agency was renamed the Internal Revenue Service, and in subsequent decades underwent numerous reforms and reorganizations, most significantly in the s.

Since its establishment, the IRS has been responsible for collecting most of the revenue needed to fund the federal government, albeit while facing periodic controversy and opposition over its methods, constitutionality, and the principle of taxation generally. In recent years the agency has struggled with budget cuts and reduced morale.[6] As ofit saw a 15 percent reduction in its workforce, including a decline of more than 25 percent of its enforcement staff.[7] Nevertheless, during the fiscal year, the agency processed more than million tax returns.

History[edit]

See also: Taxation history of the United States

American Civil War (–65)[edit]

In Julyduring the American Civil War, PresidentAbraham Lincoln and Congress passed the Revenue Act ofcreating the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacting a temporary income tax to pay war expenses.

The Revenue Act of was passed as an emergency and temporary war-time tax. It copied a relatively new British system of income taxation, instead of trade and property taxation. The first income tax was passed in

  • The initial rate was 3% on income over $, which exempted most wage-earners.
  • In the rate was 3% on income between $ and $10, and 5% on income over $10,

By the end of the war, 10% of Union households had paid some form of income tax, and the Union raised 21% of its war revenue through income taxes.[8]

Post Civil War, Reconstruction, and popular tax reform (–)[edit]

After the Civil War, Reconstruction, railroads, and transforming the North and South war machines towards peacetime required public funding. However, inseven years after the war, lawmakers allowed the temporary Civil War income tax to expire.

Income taxes evolved, but in the Supreme Court declared the Income Tax of unconstitutional in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., a decision that contradicted Hylton v. United States.[9] The federal government scrambled to raise money.[10]

Inwith the election of President Theodore Roosevelt, and later his successor William Howard Taft, the United States saw a populist movement for tax reform. This movement culminated during then candidate Woodrow Wilson's election of and in Februarythe ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

This granted Congress the specific irs customer service number for tax refund to impose an income tax without regard to apportionment among the states by population. By February36 states had ratified the change to the Constitution. It was further ratified by six more states by March. Of the 48 states at the time, 42 ratified it. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah rejected the amendment; Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida did not take up the issue.[11]

Post 16th Amendment (–present)[edit]

Though the constitutional amendment to allow the Federal government to collect income taxes was proposed by President Taft inthe 16th Amendment was not ratified untiljust before the start of the First World War. In the first edition of the form was introduced. A copy of the very first IRS form, can be found at the IRS website[12] showing that only those with annual incomes of at least $3, (equivalent to $78, in ) were instructed to file the income tax return.

In the first year after ratification of the 16th Amendment, no taxes were collected. Instead, taxpayers simply completed the form and the IRS checked the form for accuracy. The IRS's workload jumped by ten-fold, triggering a massive restructuring. Professional tax collectors began to replace a system of "patronage" appointments. The IRS new york community bancorp its staff, but was still processing returns in [13]

Income tax raised much of the money required to finance the war effort; in a new Revenue Act established a top tax rate of 77%.

People filing tax forms in

In the IRS was tasked with enforcement of laws relating to prohibition of alcohol sales and manufacture; this was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice in After repeal inthe IRS resumed collection of taxes on beverage alcohol.[14] The alcohol, tobacco and firearms activities of the bureau were segregated into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in

A new tax act was passed in as the United States entered the Second World War. This act included a special wartime surcharge. The number of American citizens who paid income tax increased from about four million in to more than forty-two million by [15]

Inafter a series of politically damaging incidents of tax evasion and bribery among its own employees, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was reorganized under a plan put forward by President Truman, with the approval of Congress. The reorganization decentralized many functions to new district offices which replaced the collector's offices. Civil service directors were appointed to replace irs customer service number for tax refund politically appointed collectors of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Not long after, the Bureau was renamed the Internal Revenue Service.[16]

In the filing deadline was moved from March 15 to April

The Tax Reform Act of created the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Bylimited electronic filing of tax returns was possible.

The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of ("RRA 98") changed the organization from geographically oriented to an organization based on four operating divisions.[17] It added "10 deadly sins" that require immediate termination of IRS employees found to have committed certain misconduct.[18]

Enforcement activities declined. The IRS Oversight Board noted that the decline in enforcement activities has "rais[ed] questions about tax compliance and fairness to the vast majority of citizens who pay all their taxes".[19] In Junethe IRS Oversight Board recommended to Treasury a fiscal year budget of $&#;billion for the Internal Revenue Service.[20]

On December 20,Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of It was signed into law by President Trump on December 22,

In the fiscal year, the IRS had 76, employees conducting its work, a decrease of percent from [21]

[edit]

From the s through the s, the IRS began using technology such as microfilm to keep and organize records. Access to this information proved controversial, when President Richard Nixon's tax returns were leaked to the public. His tax advisor, Edward L. Morgan, became the fourth law-enforcement official to be charged with a crime during Watergate.[22]

John Requard, Jr., accused of leaking the Nixon tax returns, collected delinquent taxes in the slums of Washington. In his words: "We went after people for nickels and dimes, many of them poor and in many cases illiterate people who didn't know how to deal with a government agency." Requard admitted that he saw the returns, but denied that he leaked them.[23]

Reporter Jack White of The Providence Journal won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting about Nixon's tax returns. Nixon, with a salary of $, paid $ in federal income tax in and $ inwith deductions of $, for donating "vice-presidential papers".[24] This was one of the reasons for his famous statement: "Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."

So controversial was this leak, that most later US Presidents released their tax returns (though sometimes only partially). These returns can be found online at the Tax History Project.[25]

Computerization (–present)[edit]

By the end of the Second World War, the IRS was handling sixty million tax returns each irs customer service number for tax refund, using a combination of mechanical desk calculators, accounting machines, and pencil and paper forms. In punch card equipment was used. The first trial of a computer system for income tax processing was inwhen an IBM installed at Kansas City processed million returns. The IRS was authorized to proceed with computerization inand purchased IBM and IBM systems for local and regional data processing centers. The Social Security number was used for taxpayer identification starting in Byall returns were processed by computer and punched card data entry was phased out.[26]

Information processing in the IRS systems of the late s was in batch mode; microfilm records were updated weekly and distributed to regional centers for handling tax inquiries. A project to implement an interactive, realtime system, the "Tax Administration System", was launched, that would provide thousands of local interactive terminals at IRS offices. However, the General Accounting Office prepared a report critical of the lack of protection of privacy in TAS, and the project was abandoned in [26]

Inthe IRS began to use the public Internet for electronic filing. Since the introduction of e-filing, self-paced online tax services have flourished, augmenting the work of tax accountants, who were sometimes replaced.

Inthe IRS struck a deal with tax software vendors: The IRS would not develop online filing software and, in return, software vendors would provide free e-filing to most Americans.[27] In70% of filers qualified for free electronic filing of federal returns.[28]

According to an inspector general's report, released in Novemberidentity theft in the United States is blamed for $4&#;billion worth of fraudulent tax refunds by the IRS. Fraudulent claims were made with the use of stolen taxpayer identification and Social Security numbers, with returns sent to addresses both in the US and internationally. Following the release of the findings, the Walmart eye center mexico mo stated that it resolved most of the identity theft cases of within days, while the average time to resolve cases from the / tax period was days.[29][30]

In SeptemberIRS Commissioner John Koskinen expressed concern over the organization's ability to handle Obamacare and administer premium tax credits that help people pay for health plans from the health law's insurance exchanges. It will also enforce the law's individual mandate, which requires most Americans to hold health insurance.[31] In JanuaryFox News obtained an email which predicted a messy tax season on several fronts. The email was sent by IRS Commissioner Koskinen to workers. Koskinen predicted the IRS would shut down operations for two days later this year which would result in unpaid furloughs for employees and service cuts for taxpayers. Koskinen also said delays to IT investments of more than $&#;million may delay new taxpayer protections against identity theft.[30] Also in Januarythe editorial board of The New York Times called the IRS budget cuts penny-wise-and-pound-foolish, where for every dollar of cuts in the budget, six were lost in tax revenue.[32]

History of the IRS name[edit]

IRS and Department of the Treasury seal on lectern

As early as the yearthe Bureau of Internal Revenue began using the name "Internal Revenue Service" on at least one tax form.[33] Inthe name change to the "Internal Revenue Service" was formalized in Treasury Decision [34]

Current organization[edit]

The s saw a reorganization of the IRS. A bipartisan commission was created with several mandates, among them to increase customer service and improve collections.[35] Congress later enacted the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of [36]

Because of that Act, the IRS now functions under four major operating divisions: Large Business and International (LB&I), Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE), Wage and Investment (W&I), and Tax Exempt & Government Entities (TE/GE). Effective October 1,the name of the Large and Mid-Size Business division was changed to the Large Business & International (LB&I) division.[37] While there is some evidence that customer service has improved, lost tax revenues in were over $&#;billion.[38]

The IRS is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and does most of its computer programming in Maryland. It currently operates five submission processing centers which process returns sent by mail and returns filed electronically via E-file. Different types of returns are processed at the various centers with some centers processing individual returns and others processing business returns.

Originally, there were ten submission processing centers across the country. In the early s, the IRS closed five centers: Andover, MA; Holtsville, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Atlanta, GA; and Memphis, TN. This currently leaves five centers processing returns: Austin, TX; Covington, KY; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; and Ogden, UT. In October the IRS announced that three more centers will close over a six-year period: Covington, KY in ; Fresno, CA in ; and Austin, TX in This will leave Kansas City, MO and Ogden, UT as the final two submission processing centers after

The IRS also operates three computer centers around the country (in Detroit, Michigan; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Memphis, Tennessee).[39]

Commissioner[edit]

Main article: Commissioner of Internal Revenue

The current IRS commissioner is Charles P. Rettig of California. There have been 48 previous commissioners of Internal Revenue and 28 acting commissioners since the agency's creation in [40]

From May 22, to December 23,senior official at the Office of Management and BudgetDaniel Werfel was acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue.[41] Werfel, who attended law school at the University of North Carolina and attained a master's degree from Duke University, prepared the government for a potential shutdown in by determining which services that would remain in existence.[41][42]

No IRS commissioner has served more than five years and one month since Guy Helvering, who served 10 years until [43] The most recent commissioner to serve the longest term was Doug Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and served for five years.[43]

Deputy Commissioners[edit]

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is assisted by two deputy commissioners.

The Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support reports directly to the Commissioner and oversees the IRS's integrated support functions, facilitating economy of scale efficiencies and better business practices. The Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support provides executive leadership for customer service, processing, tax law enforcement and financial management operations, and is responsible for overseeing IRS operations and for providing executive leadership on policies, programs and activities. The Deputy assists and acts on behalf of the IRS Commissioner in directing, coordinating and controlling the policies, programs and the activities of the IRS; in establishing tax administration policy, and developing strategic issues and objectives for IRS strategic management.

The Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement reports directly to the Commissioner and oversees the four primary operating divisions responsible for the major customer segments and other taxpayer-facing functions. The Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement serves as the IRS Commissioner's key assistant acting on behalf of the commissioner in establishing and enforcing tax administration policy and upholding IRS's mission to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities.

Office of the Taxpayer Advocate[edit]

Main article: Office of the Taxpayer Advocate

The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, also called the Taxpayer Advocate Service, is an independent office within the IRS responsible for assisting taxpayers in resolving their problems with the IRS and identifying systemic problems that exist within the IRS.[44] The current head of the organization, known as the United States Taxpayer Advocate, is Erin M. Collins.[45]

Independent Office of Appeals[edit]

Main article: Independent Office of Appeals

The Independent Office of Appeals is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve their tax disputes through an informal, administrative process. Its mission is to resolve tax controversies fairly and impartially, without litigation.[46] Resolution of a case in Appeals "could take anywhere from 90 days to a year".[47] The current chief is Donna C. Hansberry.[48]

Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)[edit]

Main article: Office of Professional Responsibility (IRS)

OPR investigates suspected misconduct by attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents ("tax practitioners") involving practice before the IRS and has the power to impose various penalties. OPR can also take action against tax practitioners for conviction of a crime or failure to file their own tax returns. According to former OPR director Karen Hawkins, "The focus has been on roadkill&#;&#; the easy cases of tax practitioners who are non-filers."[49] The current acting director is Elizabeth Kastenberg.[50]

Criminal Investigation (CI)[edit]

Main article: IRS Criminal Investigation

Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) is responsible for investigating potential criminal violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes, such as money laundering, currency violations, tax-related identity theft fraud, and terrorist financing that adversely affect tax administration. This division is headed by the Chief, Criminal Investigation appointed by the IRS Commissioner.

Programs[edit]

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) are volunteer programs that the IRS runs to train volunteers and provide tax assistance and counseling to taxpayers.[51] Volunteers can study e-course material, take tests, and practice using tax-preparation software. Link & Learn Taxes (searchable by keyword on the IRS website), is the free e-learning portion of VITA/TCE program for training volunteers.

Structure[edit]

  • Commissioner of Internal Revenue
      • Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement
        • Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement
        • Large Business and International Division&#;&#; administers tax laws governing businesses with assets greater than $10&#;million
        • Small Business/Self-Employed Division&#;&#; administers tax irs customer service number for tax refund governing small businesses and self-employed taxpayers
          • Collection – collects delinquent taxes and secures filing of delinquent tax return
          • Examination – reviews returns to ensure taxpayers have complied with their tax responsibilities
          • Operations Support – centralized support services
        • Wage and Investment Division&#;&#; administers tax laws governing individual wage earners
          • Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education&#;&#; assist taxpayers in satisfying their tax responsibilities
          • Return Integrity and Compliance Services&#;&#; detecting and preventing improper refunds
          • Customer Account Services&#;&#; processing taxpayer returns
          • Operations Support – internal management and support services
        • Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division&#;&#; administers tax laws governing governmental and tax exempt entities
          • Government Entities/Shares Services&#;&#; manages, directs, and executes nationwide activities for government entities as well as provides divisional operational support
          • Employee Plans. – administers pension plan tax laws
          • Exempt Organizations – determining tax exempt status for organizations and regulating the same through examination and compliance checks
        • Criminal Investigation Division&#;&#; investigates criminal violations of tax laws and other related financial crimes
          • International Operations – conducts international investigations of financial crimes and provides special agent attaches in strategic international locations
          • Operations, Policy, and Support&#;&#; plans, develops, directs, and implements criminal investigations through regional field offices
          • Refund and Cyber Crimes&#;&#; identifying criminal tax schemes and conducting cybercrime investigations
          • Strategy – internal support services
          • Technology Operations and Investigative Services&#;&#; management of information technology
        • Office of Online Services
        • Return Preparer Office
        • Office of Professional Responsibility
        • Whistleblower Office
      • Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support
        • Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support
        • Chief, Facilities Management and Security Services
        • Chief Information Officer
        • Chief Privacy Officer
        • Chief Procurement Officer
        • Chief Financial Officer
        • IRS Human Capital Officer
        • Chief Risk Officer
        • Chief Diversity Officer
        • Chief Research and Analytics Officer
      • Chief of Staff
      • Chief, Communications and Liaison
      • National Taxpayer Advocate
      • Chief Counsel
      • Chief, IRS Independent Office of Appeals

Tax collection statistics[edit]

Collections before refunds by type of return, fiscal year

&#;&#;Individual income tax (%)

&#;&#;Employment taxes (%)

&#;&#;Corporate income taxes (%)

&#;&#;Excise taxes (%)

&#;&#;Estate taxes (%)

&#;&#;Other (%)

Summary of collections before refunds by type of return, fiscal year [52]

Type of returnNumber of returnsGross collections
to the nearest million US$
Individual Income Tax,1,
Employment Taxes29,,
Corporate Income Tax2,,
Excise Taxes,47,
Gift Tax,2,
Estate Tax28,16,
Total,2,

For fiscal yearthe U.S. Congress appropriated spending of approximately $&#;billion of "discretionary budget authority" to operate the Department of the Treasury, of which $&#;billion was allocated to the IRS. The projected estimate of the budget for the IRS for fiscal year was $&#;billion.[53] By contrast, during Fiscal Year (FY)the IRS collected more than $&#;trillion in tax (net of refunds), about 44 percent of which was attributable to the individual income tax. This is partially due to the nature of the individual income tax category, containing taxes collected from working class, small business, self-employed, and capital gains. The top 5% of income earners pay % of the federal tax collected.[54][55]

As ofthe agency estimates that the United States Treasury is owed $&#;billion more than the amount the IRS collects.[56] This is known as the tax gap.[57]

The gross tax gap is the amount of true tax liability that is not paid voluntarily and timely. For yearsthe estimated gross tax gap was $&#;billion. The net tax gap is the gross tax gap less tax that will be subsequently collected, either paid voluntarily or as the result of IRS administrative and enforcement activities; it is the portion of the gross tax gap that will not be paid. It is estimated that $52&#;billion of the gross tax gap was eventually collected resulting in a net tax gap of $&#;billion.[58]

Inmillion tax returns were filed allowing the IRS to collect $&#;trillion out of which $&#;billion were attributed to mistake or fraud.[59]

Outsourcing collection and tax-assistance[edit]

In Septemberthe IRS started to outsource the collection of taxpayers debts to private debt collection agencies. Opponents to this change note that the IRS will be handing over personal information to these debt collection agencies, who are being paid between 29% and 39% of the amount collected. Opponents are also worried about the agencies' being paid on percent collected, because it will encourage the collectors to use pressure tactics to collect the maximum amount. IRS spokesman Terry Lemons responds to these critics saying the new system "is a sound, balanced program that respects taxpayers' rights and taxpayer privacy". Other state and local agencies also use private collection agencies.[60]

In Marchthe IRS announced that it would no longer outsource the collection of taxpayers debts to private debt collection agencies. The IRS decided not to renew contracts to private debt collection agencies, and began a hiring program at its call sites and processing centers across the country to bring on more personnel to process collections internally from taxpayers.[61] As of Octoberthe IRS has ceased using private debt collection agencies.

In Septemberafter undercover exposé videos of questionable activities by staff of one of the IRS's volunteer tax-assistance organizations were made public, the IRS removed ACORN from its volunteer tax-assistance program.[62]

Administrative functions[edit]

IRS appropriations, –

&#;&#;Nominal appropriations

&#;&#;Adjusted for inflation

The IRS publishes tax forms which taxpayers are required to choose from and use for calculating and reporting their federal tax obligations. The IRS also publishes a number of forms for its own internal operations, such as Forms and (which are used during the initial processing of income tax returns).

In addition to collection of revenue and pursuing tax cheaters, the IRS issues administrative rulings such as revenue rulings and private letter rulings. In addition, the Service publishes the Internal Revenue Bulletin containing the various IRS pronouncements.[63] The controlling authority of regulations and revenue rulings allows taxpayers to rely on them. A letter ruling is good for the taxpayer to whom it is issued, and gives some explanation of the Service's position on a particular tax issue.[64] Additionally, a letter ruling reasonably relied upon by a taxpayer allows for the waiver of penalties for underpayment of tax.

As is the case with all administrative pronouncements, taxpayers sometimes litigate the validity of the pronouncements, and courts sometimes determine a particular rule to be invalid where the agency has exceeded its grant of authority. The IRS also issues formal pronouncements called Revenue Procedures, that among other things tell taxpayers how to correct prior tax errors. The IRS's own internal operations manual is the Internal Revenue Manual, which describes the clerical procedures for processing and auditing tax returns in excruciating detail. For example, the Internal Revenue Manual contains a special procedure for processing the tax returns of the President and Vice President of the United States.[64]

More formal rulemaking to give the Service's interpretation of a statute, or when the statute itself directs that the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide, IRS undergoes the formal regulation process with a Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register announcing the proposed regulation, the date of the in-person hearing, and the process for interested parties to have their views heard either in person at the hearing in Washington, D.C., or by mail. Following the statutory period provided in the Administrative Procedure Act the Service decides on the final regulations "as is", or as reflecting changes, or sometimes withdraws the proposed regulations. Generally, taxpayers may rely on proposed regulations until final regulations become effective. For example, human resource professionals are relying on the October 4, Proposed Regulations[65] (citation 70 F.R. )[66] for the Section A on deferred compensation (the so-called Enron rules on deferred compensation to add teeth irs customer service number for tax refund the old rules) because regulations have not been finalized.

The IRS oversaw the Homebuyer Credit and First Time Homebuyer Credit programs instituted by the federal government from Those programs provided United States citizens with money toward the purchase of homes, regardless of income tax filings.[67]

Labor union[edit]

Further information: Labor unions in the United States

Most non-supervisory employees at the IRS are represented by a labor union. The exclusive labor union at the IRS is the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). Employees aren't required to join the union or pay dues. The IRS and NTEU have a national collective bargaining agreement.[68]

In pursuing administrative remedies against the IRS for certain unfair or illegal personnel actions, under federal law an IRS employee may choose only one of the three forums below:

Employees are also required to report certain misconduct to TIGTA. Federal law prohibits reprisal or retaliation against an employee who reports wrongdoing.[70][71][72]

Controversies[edit]

See also: List of allegations of misuse of the Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has been accused of abusive behavior on multiple occasions.[73][74][75][76] Testimony was given before a Senate subcommittee that focused on cases of overly aggressive IRS collection tactics ncesc com to des nc gov considering a need for legislation to give taxpayers greater protection in disputes with the agency.

Congress passed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights III on July 22,which shifted the burden of proof from the taxpayer to the IRS in certain limited situations. The IRS retains the legal authority to enforce liens and seize assets without obtaining judgment in court.[77]

Inthe IRS accused James and Pamela Moran, as well as several others, of conspiracy, filing false tax returns and mail fraud as part of the Anderson Ark amazon flex customer service phone number scheme. The Morans were eventually acquitted, and their attorney stated that the government should have realized that the couple was merely duped by those running the scheme.[78]

Inthe law licenses of two former IRS lawyers were suspended after a federal court ruled that they defrauded the courts so the IRS could win a sum in tax shelter cases.[79]

Inthe Internal Revenue Service became embroiled in a political scandal in which it was discovered that the agency subjected conservative or conservative-sounding groups filing for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny.[80]

On September 5,16 months after the scandal first erupted, a Senate Subcommittee released a report that confirmed that Internal Revenue Service used inappropriate criteria to target Tea Party groups, but found no evidence of political bias.[81] The chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations confirmed that while the actions were "inappropriate, intrusive, and burdensome", the Democrats have often experienced similar treatment.[82] Republicans noted that 83% of the groups being held up by the IRS were right-leaning; and the Subcommittee Minority staff, which did not join the Majority staff report, filed a dissenting report entitled, "IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups".[83]

On May 25,the agency announced that over several months criminals had accessed the private tax information of more thantaxpayers and stolen about irs customer service number for tax refund in fraudulent returns.[84] By providing Social Security numbers and other information obtained from prior computer crimes, the criminals were able to use the IRS's online "Get Transcript" function to have the IRS provide them with the tax returns and other private information of American tax filers.[85] On August 17,IRS disclosed that the breach had compromised an additionaltaxpayer records.[86] On February 27, irs customer service number for tax refund, the IRS disclosed that more thanSocial Security numbers and other sensitive information had been stolen.[87][88][89]

The Internal Revenue Service has been the subject of frequent criticism by many elected officials and candidates for political office, including some who have called to abolish the IRS. Among them were Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Richard Lugar.[90] Ina Republican congressman introduced a bill to repeal the Internal Revenue Code by [91] InThe Republican Study Committee, which counts over two-thirds of House of Representatives Republicans as its members, called for "the complete elimination of the IRS", and Republican Representative Rob Woodall of Georgia has introduced a bill every year since he entered Congress in to eliminate income taxes and abolish the IRS.[92]

The IRS has been criticized for its reliance on legacy software. Systems such as the Individual Master File are more than 50 years old and have been identified by the Government Accountability Office as "facing significant risks due to their reliance on legacy programming languages, outdated hardware, and a shortage of human resources with critical skills".[93]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^"Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Created by an act of Congress, July 1, )". mynewextsetup.us. Retrieved October 21,
  2. ^Internal Revenue Service. "The Agency, its Mission and Statutory Authority". mynewextsetup.us. Retrieved October 21,
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Learn what tax identity theft is, what you can do to guard against it, and what to do if it happens to you.

What Is Tax Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or for work. People often discover tax identity theft when they file their tax returns.

How To Protect Yourself from Tax Identity Theft

Taking steps to protect your personal information can help you avoid tax identity theft. Here’s what you can do to stay ahead of identity thieves.

Protect documents that have personal information

Keep your tax records and Social Security card in a safe place. When you decide to get rid of your tax records, shred them. If you don’t have a shredder, look for a local shred day.

Protect your information from scammers online and on your phone

If you use tax preparation software like TurboTax, TaxAct, or TaxSlayer, use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication offers extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories: something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app, or something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.

Don’t give your personal information to someone who calls, emails, or texts and says they’re with the IRS. It could be a scammer impersonating the IRS to steal your information or money. If you need to contact the IRS, call them at

What To Do If Someone Steals Your Tax Refund

If someone uses your Social Security number to file for a tax refund before you do, you’ll usually find out when you file your return with the IRS.

If you file by mail, the IRS will mail you a letter explaining that they received more than one return in your name. Follow the instructions in the irs customer service number for tax refund you try to submit your tax return online or through a tax preparer, the IRS will reject your tax return as a duplicate filing. If this happens, go to mynewextsetup.us and report it. mynewextsetup.us will create your

  • FTC Identity Theft Report
  • IRS Identity Theft Affidavit
  • Personal recovery plan

If you choose, mynewextsetup.us will submit the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS online so that the IRS can begin investigating your case. You can also get the Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form ) from mynewextsetup.us and submit it by mail.

What To Do If Someone Uses Your Social Security Number for Work

If someone uses your Social Security number for work, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your Social Security number. When you file your tax return, you wouldn’t have included those earnings because they weren’t yours. But the IRS doesn’t know that. Their records will show you failed to report all your income.

The IRS will mail you a letter explaining you had earnings that you didn’t report. If you get a letter like this from the IRS, follow the instructions in the letter.

If you haven’t gotten a letter from the IRS but you think someone is using your Social Security number for work, review your Social Security work history. Create an account at mynewextsetup.us If you find errors, contact your local Social Security Administration office.

Other Steps To Take

Whether someone used your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or for work, go to mynewextsetup.us to learn what other steps to take to limit the damage that identity theft can cause.

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Tax refunds and stimulus checks delayed by identity fraud crossfire

Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jeff Lavigne plans to use a tax refund this year for long-delayed medical help.

Yet his refund, almost $2, has been in limbo since mid-March, when Lavigne filed his tax return, records show.

The IRS flagged the return for potential identity theft — as it did for nearly 2 million Americans last year.

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The money has been withheld until Lavigne can verify his identity. The process has proven difficult — phone lines are clogged and online authentication is unavailable.

Lavigne, 42, has chronic back pain that makes work difficult over sustained periods. The former restaurant manager doesn't have a full-time job or health insurance. An extra $2, which includes pandemic stimulus funds, would help pay for monthly premiums and let him visit a specialist.

"I started making plans in my head, in terms of getting the help I need," said Lavigne, who lives in a suburb of Dallas. "I'm trying to take one step at a time, and this is step one."

Delayed tax refunds

Jeff Lavigne, 42, filed his federal tax return in March. He hasn't yet received his refund. The IRS flagged the return for potential identity fraud.

It's unclear how many taxpayers' refunds have been delayed during the filing season. But it's an issue for a growing number of Americans.

The IRS flagged million tax refunds for fraud last year, a nearly 50% increase overaccording to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS.

Of those, about million were flagged for identity screening. (The rest were earmarked for income verification.)

Basically, the IRS wants to ensure a crook isn't using a taxpayer's identity to claim a tax refund. The agency mails letters (either a C or C letter) to taxpayers if it suspects foul play. The IRS can't process a tax return or issue a refund until the person responds.

However, most flagged returns aren't fraudulent. In63% of the refunds vetted for identity theft turned out to be legitimate, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Ultimately they might get their money but they're not getting their money now.
Executive director and founder of the Center for Taxpayer Rights

While the IRS ultimately issues the money (with interest) in these cases, taxpayers sometime wait months. About 18% of refunds flagged for identity verification took longer than days to arrive, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service. (Most take less than 21 days for online filers or six weeks for mailed returns, the IRS said.)

Refund delays were among the top 10 most serious taxpayer problems inthe Taxpayer Advocate Service said.

Dan Herron, a certified financial planner and accountant, waited almost a year for a tax refund after filing his return inwhich got flagged for possible identity fraud.

"It was a pretty lengthy, drawn-out process," said Herron, a principal of Elemental Wealth Advisors in San Luis Obispo, California.

"I wish [the IRS] had something more streamlined," he added. "They're so archaic in the way they do things."

Delays were likely exacerbated by the Covid pandemic since the IRS had to temporarily suspend some of its in-person operations, according to Nina Olson, executive director and founder of the Center for Taxpayer Rights.

And the wait may cost taxpayers more than usual this year. The IRS is using tax returns to determine eligibility for pandemic stimulus checks and advanced payments of the child tax credit, which will be paid monthly starting in mid-July.

The agency uses information (such as annual income) on a return if a return hasn't been processed. But that may lead to reduced payments — or no payments — depending on a taxpayer's situation.

"Ultimately they might get their money but they're not getting their money now," Olson said.

'Insufficient resources'

Taxpayer advocates don't dispute that stopping thieves from ripping off individuals and the government is a worthwhile goal.

"Identity theft has been on this upward curve since ," Olson said. "It's a huge issue.

"And thieves are getting smarter."

The IRS fraud measures protected $ billion in revenue inaccording to the agency. (About $ billion was due to identity theft filters.)

And 98% of tax returns claiming a refund aren't ensnared by the process, the agency said.

Mark Mazur, deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"We understand the concerns of how refund delays can impact taxpayers, and we continue to collaborate with internal and external partners to refine and automate refund fraud filters where appropriate," the IRS said in response to a Taxpayer Advocate Service report to Congress last year.

Without proper validation, the IRS risks issuing improper refunds, the agency said.

However, IRS systems, staffing and processes are combining to delay too large a share of refunds, taxpayer advocates said.

For example, many people are given the option of verifying their identities online using an IRS website. To do so, they must first go through an authentication process called "Secure Access." But less than half succeeded inaccording to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Such taxpayers must then interface with an IRS agent, over the phone or at a field office, for a resolution. Right now, the IRS doesn't have enough staff to manage the volume efficiently, Olson said.

IRS technology also doesn't leverage machine-learning — meaning the system can't adapt automatically if it's tripping up too many legitimate taxpayers, she added. It requires a manual fix.

The IRS has had insufficient resources to meet enforcement and administrative challenges and to deliver customer service to taxpayers.
deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department

"You are setting a goal to stop fraud, but not setting a goal to minimize false positives," Olson said of the IRS. "And good systems do both."

While fraud letters request a response within 30 days, the IRS will continue to work with taxpayers regardless of the amount of days that have passed, according to the IRS.

The IRS budget — which largely covers personnel — has fallen by 20% in real terms over the last decade, Mark Mazur, deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, said Thursday during a House of Representatives hearing.

"The IRS has had insufficient resources to meet enforcement and administrative challenges and to deliver customer service to taxpayers," Mazur said.

Technology upgrades would also improve service, by letting taxpayers communicate with the IRS in a "clear, timely manner," he added.

A stroke of luck

Lavigne had been thwarted at each juncture by the time CNBC initially spoke to him on Tuesday.

He was unable to verify his identity online and couldn't reach a phone representative due to a high volume of calls into the agency. He hadn't been able to schedule an appointment at a local branch.

Lavigne wasn't even sure he could physically attend an in-person meeting — traveling for long stretches is prohibitive due to his spine problems, he said.

However, Lavigne's luck changed on Thursday. He was able to reach someone by phone at the local office in Farmers Branch, Texas. After an hour and a half, a representative completed the identity verification over the phone, Lavigne said.  

"She explained there is hsbc contact number online banking very long list of filters in place to reduce ID theft and nobody can know how it exactly works so that thieves cannot create a way to work around that," he recalled of their discussion.

Now, the funds will take up to nine weeks to arrive.

"She said I am definitely good to go now," Lavigne said. "But if I do not receive my check or another letter between now and the end of the nine weeks, which is sometime in August, [she said] to call back."

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irs customer service number for tax refund

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