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Tax Notes Today Quotes Christopher Rizek: In Search of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights With Teeth

March 28, 2014, Tax Notes Today

Christopher S. Rizek appeared with National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson and former Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Alan J. Wilensky at a conference on the IRS's readiness for adopting a taxpayer bill of rights, sponsored by Tax Analysts. The proposed bill of rights includes the right to be informed, the right to quality service, and the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. Although a good idea in principle, it will not be effective unless there is an enforcement mechanism and taxpayers are empowered to seek redress when rights are violated. For the complete article, please visit Tax Notes Today's website (subscription required).

Excerpt taken from the article "In Search of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights With Teeth" by David van den Berg for Tax Notes Today.

"People are very concerned that they're not going to get a fair appeal [that goes beyond] just a repetition of the Service's position," said Christopher S. Rizek of Caplin & Drysdale, a former Treasury associate tax legislative counsel and trial attorney in the Justice Department Tax Division. "You've got to have some sort of remedy to fix that, and merely having a lovely bill of rights that says you should have this doesn't mean anything if there isn't a commitment within the organization to change it and some enforcement mechanism."

The best way to further taxpayer rights now is to ensure the IRS has adequate funding and training, Rizek said. The agency has to be disabused of its current mind-set that all taxpayers are "evil," as it was in the early 1990s, and employees have to be trained so they know what the rules are, he said. The current circumstances are difficult for practitioners, Rizek said.

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