AICPA's Walker Urges Stronger Taxpayer Rights

Journal of Accountancy, June 1995 | Go to article overview

AICPA's Walker Urges Stronger Taxpayer Rights


At a hearing before the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee to explore the development of Taxpayer-Bill-of-Rights legislation, Deborah Walker, chair of the American Institute of CPAs tax executive committee, urged Congress to strengthen taxpayers' rights. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, originally enacted in 1988, sought to create a more level playing field between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service by enacting a number of procedural safeguards for taxpayers. Walker recommended provisions for inclusion in a second Taxpayer Bill of Rights that is being developed during the 104th Congress.

"Many of our members are tax practitioners who are deeply concerned with IRS standards of accuracy, timeliness, fairness and consistency and how those standards are applied to taxpayers and practitioners," Walker said. She said the AICPA recognized the IRS's need for an efficient and effective system and that changes to the law needed to balance the needs of both the taxpayers and the IRS.

When the hearings were announced, Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.), chairperson of the House subcommittee, said the relationship between the taxpayers and the IRS is often a one-sided contest. "Taxpayers have a duty to pay their lawful tax liability but should not be put at a disadvantage by procedural rules and IRS policies," Johnson said.

Walker made a number of recommendations that would have a great impact on tax practitioners, including

* Requiring abatement of interest attributable to unreasonable IRS errors and delays. Currently, Internal Revenue Code section 6404(e)(1) says the secretary of the Treasury may abate interest on any deficiency due to IRS errors and delays. …

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