DARRIN T. MISH: Good morning! Welcome to the IRS Solution Attorney show. I am the IRS Solution Attorney, Darrin T. Mish.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m your cohost, Katrina Madewell. Thank you for joining us this morning.
DARRIN T. MISH: I don’t know if you can hear the smile in my voice, but we’re going to go out on a limb today. Today’s title of the show is the Seven Deadly Sins that can Get an IRS Employee Fired or Even Imprisoned.
KATRINA MADEWELL: This topic came up from a prior conversation on the air.
DARRIN T. MISH: We’re going to be fair today.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m surprised you were bold enough to do it.
DARRIN T. MISH: In search of the truth, you have to be controversial.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Controversial is fun. You’re an attorney, you would agree with that.
DARRIN T. MISH: Our society is going more towards this direction where the truth is becoming more controversial. It’s amazing and a little bit scary, but we’re going to talk about the seven deadly sins that can get an IRS employee fired or possibly imprisoned or jailed.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Before we do that…I’ve known you for a long time, but I just discovered something cool this week. Not only have my husband and me, Chris, been married for 19 years, as of May 2, but you and your wife have an anniversary one day earlier and have been married for 18 years!
DARRIN T. MISH: You found that out by the magic of social media, didn’t we?
KATRINA MADEWELL: It was during our chat on the way here!
DARRIN T. MISH: I brought it up as we were all driving into the studio today, which we don’t normally do. First time.
KATRINA MADEWELL: No, we don’t.
DARRIN T. MISH: There were some extenuating circumstances that made that a fun way to get to the studio today. I just happened to mention, happy anniversary to you guys and said ours was the day before. I’m a typical husband. Normally, for anniversaries, I’m miserable at commemorating them. This year I was fabulous about the buildup and the gifts, but I didn’t mention it on social media. Even though we’re talking about it and there are people listening…I’m not ashamed to be married by any stretch of the imagination. It just didn’t seem…
KATRINA MADEWELL: Maybe we should be bragging about that.
DARRIN T. MISH: I’m darn proud to have been married to the most fabulous woman in the world for 18 years. I’m a little bit proud of myself, just for a second. Not for putting up with her, but that she would keep me for that long.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m proud of my husband and his patience for being married to me for so long.
PAT GEORGE: I would agree with that.
DARRIN T. MISH: He’s here in the studio today.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I feel a little outnumbered here. I’m the only chick in the room.
DARRIN T. MISH: I feel the opposite at the office, which is primarily female. I spend my day with three lovely ladies.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah, all women.
DARRIN T. MISH: Chris is here today in the studio. He’s on Pat’s side. To say Chris is soft-spoken, do you think that’s an understatement?
KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah, put a microphone in his face and turn it on and see what happens, Pat. Chris is like, “NO!”
DARRIN T. MISH: He’s a great guy. He said like 20 words on the whole hour drive here today.
KATRINA MADEWELL: There’s only one way to change that.
DARRIN T. MISH: I know the way. The cool thing about Chris, and there are lots of cool things, when he speaks, it’s worth listening. You can’t say that about everyone.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Only speak when what you say will improve upon the silence.
DARRIN T. MISH: That must be his philosophy. Let’s talk about some of the seven deadly sins. I’m sure there are people that want us to get to it.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m so excited about this show. I can’t believe we’re doing it.
DARRIN T. MISH: As you listen to this, and we hope you listen to the whole show. Or, if you miss some of it, you can visit the podcast at irssolutionattorney.com and listen to the whole show. We’re probably going to say this gets violated a lot.
THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SERVICE
Now, anyone that’s listening to this show is thinking, “What?” You have the right to quality service, and anyone who has called the IRS in the last five years realizes that two hour hold times on the phone with a courtesy disconnect isn’t exactly quality service.
For those of you who don’t know, a courtesy disconnect is when you’ve been on hold for so long that even the IRS is embarrassed about your hold time, so they disconnect you out of common courtesy.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I don’t think that’s it. They don’t want to pay the toll-free 800 line.
DARRIN T. MISH: If the government is paying per minute for their toll-free service, then as a taxpayer, I’m not very happy with that.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Nothing would surprise me.
DARRIN T. MISH: They’re probably paying 50 cents a minute, and it probably goes back to some politician’s phone company.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Does the courtesy disconnect happen around lunchtime and time to leave?
DARRIN T. MISH: I have not experienced a courtesy disconnect in quite some time because now I have a workaround to get to the IRS.
KATRINA MADEWELL: He’s got the VIP line for the IRS.
DARRIN T. MISH: I pay a private service a monthly fee so I can be talking to an IRS employee in about three minutes. For your average person, there would be no point in paying for this service. I don’t call the toll-free numbers all that often, maybe a couple of times a month. It’s still worth the fee that I have to pay. I am paying per minute to talk to them. I do find myself saying, “Come on, can you hurry up?”
KATRINA MADEWELL: Can we expedite this process?
DARRIN T. MISH: Why is this taking so long?
KATRINA MADEWELL: How is this a deadly sin?
DARRIN T. MISH: Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS. To be spoken to in a way that can be easily understood. To receive clear and easily understandable communications from the IRS and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.
KATRINA MADEWELL: If they’re rude to you if they say no, you’re not talking to my superior. Is that one of the things that can get them fired?
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, if they’re exceptionally rude to you, or they don’t explain something to you. If you don’t receive quality service, you can complain, and they can theoretically be fired. Probably not jailed for this one.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I hope not. I think you would be lucky to get them fired.
DARRIN T. MISH: Toward the end of the show, we’re going to talk about how to specifically make these complaints if you feel they’re appropriate. IRS representatives should listen objectively and consider all relevant information and answer questions promptly, accurately, and thoroughly. You can speak to an employee’s supervisor if you have a problem. When collecting a tax, the IRS should treat you with courtesy. The IRS should only contact you between 8am-9pm, which are long hours.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah it is.
DARRIN T. MISH: The IRS should not contact you at the place of your employment, if the IRS knows or has reason to know that your employer does not allow such contacts.
KATRINA MADEWELL: They have to follow the standard collection laws. If you tell them you can’t take personal calls at work, they can’t call you there.
DARRIN T. MISH: I would guess if they can only contact you between 8am-9pm and they call you at six in the morning, that’s probably a significant violation of this rule and I can imagine they would at least be disciplined for doing that if you can prove it. Especially if it’s not an accident.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Is that local time? There are IRS centers all over.
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, it’s local. It would be taxpayer time. Wherever the taxpayer is. It reminds me of this case I have that I’m working an offer. The offer specialist is in Memphis, TN, and her shift is from 5 pm eastern to 1 am eastern. She wants me to call her while she’s working. Ok, fine. If she would answer the phone between 5 and 6, that’s somewhat reasonable, but she doesn’t answer the phone. What she wants me to do is be at home and call her at 9:30-10pm at night. I just have to refuse as a matter of principle. This is unreasonable. So, circling back to you have the right to speak to a supervisor, I sent her a fax saying I want to talk to her supervisor. Not about anything she specifically has done, but I want to talk to the supervisor about the reasonableness of me being assigned this case with someone that works a crazy shift.
The reason she works that shift, most likely, is that’s a fairly convenient time to talk to taxpayers when they’re home after work. But if that taxpayer has a rep on the east coast, that doesn’t make any sense. So, if she’s working in Memphis and she’s working cases in California, with regular taxpayers, I get it.
KATRINA MADEWELL: She must want that shift.
DARRIN T. MISH: Even her local time it’s 4pm-midnight. I guess there are people that would like that shift. Not me.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That’s interesting.
DARRIN T. MISH: So, you have the right to quality service. I think this one gets violated quite a bit.
KATRINA MADEWELL: It’s so controversial. What does that even mean? Obviously, quality service does not have the same meaning to the IRS as it would to someone else that has a tax problem.
DARRIN T. MISH: It’s not like going to Chick-Fil-A where they’re overly polite. Everything is my pleasure.
KATRINA MADEWELL: “How may we serve you? My pleasure!”
DARRIN T. MISH: Exactly. Although those kids that work there, I think they’re going places. That’s good training.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That was my first job ever.
DARRIN T. MISH: Is that right? I didn’t know that.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I was 14 years old, that was my first job. They didn’t want to hire anyone 14.
DARRIN T. MISH: So, ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you work at Chick-Fil-A, you turn into a radio diva and a real estate mogul.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That guy, I still remember him, he was so awesome. He said they don’t usually hire at 14, but it seems like I had it figured out and could count on me.
DARRIN T. MISH: I was 14 at my first job as well.
KATRINA MADEWELL: But it wasn’t at a Chick-Fil-A.
DARRIN T. MISH: No, it was at a Carvel Ice Cream Parlor.
KATRINA MADEWELL: This is the IRS Solution Attorney Show, we’ll be back in just a minute with the seven sins.
DARRIN T. MISH: Welcome back, this is the IRS Solution Attorney show. I am that guy that handles and helps people with IRS tax problems, the IRS Solution Attorney, Darrin T. Mish.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I can verify that he is. I’m your cohost, Katrina Madewell. Welcome back to the show.
Pat cut me off earlier. I had five seconds left; I could have said that!
DARRIN T. MISH: You know Pat, he’s always trying to give us a hard time. He’s showing off today because there’s another guy in the studio.
KATRINA MADEWELL: He’s hanging out with Chris.
PAT GEORGE: We’re showing videos.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Hey, Chris, don’t you want to chime in on anything we’re saying? Pat will turn the mic on. You can be part of the show today.
DARRIN T. MISH: We wish we had video, the look she just got.
KATRINA MADEWELL: He’ll be sweating in a minute, Pat. See how red his face is? It’s as red as my hair. Now he’s leaving.
PAT GEORGE: He wanted me to tell you the next couple of days you will be working out every morning, too, by the way.
KATRINA MADEWELL: We always work out. I’ll be back 20 pounds heavier if I don’t. I want to eat. I like to eat; I’m not small.
DARRIN T. MISH: We’re discussing the seven deadly sins. We talked about the first one, which is the right to quality service. IF an IRS employee significantly violates your right to obtain quality service from the IRS, they can be disciplined or even fired. I have a hard time imagine them being imprisoned for the failure to provide quality service, but one never knows.
THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE THE IRS’ POSITION AND BE HEARD
The second one is the right to challenge the IRS position and be heard. I think this is important. The average taxpayer thinks the IRS can just say, ok, that’s it, you owe us “x” amount of dollars, and there’s no opportunity to complain.
KATRINA MADEWELL: You lose.
DARRIN T. MISH: It feels like that. I had an IRS employee tell me. This has never happened, she says to me on the phone, “You lose, you lose, you lose, and I don’t even know why we’re discussing this.” Just as a side note, I won that case three times in a row now with her. We ultimately go in to prevail, and NO, I do not lose. Not in that case, anyway. I’m not saying; I never lose, I’m not saying that at all.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m sure you want to make that final call and say, “You lose!” But you never know when you’re going to bump back into her again, so it’s probably not a good idea.
DARRIN T. MISH: I have another case with her right now. It started out rough. I asked to speak to the supervisor like we have the right to do. I didn’t get to speak to the supervisor, but the supervisor told her she was wrong and we circled back and fixed our issue we were having. The coolest thing about this, in a professional capacity, if you have those types of disagreements, if you handle them appropriately, that person will become your ally in future cases.
A bad rep, would just burn the bridge behind them, blow it up. You would have wreckage behind you, and it wouldn’t work out. There is one revenue officer here in town, and I won’t mention his name. Recently, he blatantly lied. He said he wasn’t going to do something and then he did it. He levied my client’s bank account over a trivial amount of money.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Is this one of the sins?
DARRIN T. MISH: I believe he did, I didn’t complain about it through official channels because that’s just going thermo-nuclear. I did tell him what I thought of him. I may have blown the bridge up, but I bet you I didn’t.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Just a little hole in the bridge.
DARRIN T. MISH: I told him what I thought, and I told him he wasn’t going to do that again.
We’re talking about the right to challenge the IRS’ position and be heard. Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions, or proposed actions, to expect the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.
In a nutshell, if the IRS notifies you your tax return has a mathematical or clerical error, you have 60 days to tell the IRS that you disagree. That’s good to know. They can’t just say, hey, you screwed up. It’s usually an arithmetic error. They can’t just unilaterally change the return and assess you an additional tax. They have to tell you about it. It usually comes out in a letter called a CP-2000. You have 60 days to respond. You can either agree, if you agree, then you usually owe more money. If you disagree, you have the right to respond within 60 days and provide the additional documentation.
I had a gentleman come in yesterday, and that was the position. The IRS was saying he owed about $21,000 and change. He had already gone to a tax preparer, and their position was no, I owe more money, but it’s only like $11,000. That’s a pretty big swing. Ten grand. It wasn’t a great case for me, so what I did was I sat down with him and explained what to do. And make sure to get it postmarked by the deadline.
Before the IRS takes enforcement action to collect a tax debt, by levying, for example. By levying your wages or bank account, they have to give you notice. They have to send you a final notice of intent to levy, and they have to give you 30 days with intent to appeal. That’s the other thing people are afraid of is that the IRS is going to take their paycheck. I get to explain to people almost every day, that no, they can’t do that unless they’ve followed the proper steps.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Even if they do it, your account’s not frozen, that’s a common misconception.
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, it’s not frozen.
KATRINA MADEWELL: They swooped whatever’s in there at that time.
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, the funds are frozen for 21 days, but you can use your bank account the second day after the levy is imposed.
KATRINA MADEWELL: One of our questions is, if someone owes taxes and they’ve not filed for several years, do they have to file before you can help them? Most of the time, your clients have not.
DARRIN T. MISH: Most of my clients are non-filers. I would prefer that they don’t file before they come in. I would prefer to help them all the way through that process to get those returns prepared because there are some strategies that go into that thought process. I can still help you. Let’s say you haven’t filed for six years, and you go to someone else and get the returns prepared, and they’re filed. But you owe a bunch of money. I can help you, for sure.
KATRINA MADEWELL: But if they’re not filed, don’t file them to try to get a head start.
DARRIN T. MISH: Here’s an example why. If you’re a non-filer for ten years and you go to Sam, the tax preparer on the corner, Sam’s going to go ahead and prepare ten years of returns. We know, from doing this show, that you don’t have to file all ten years of those returns, you only have to file six of the ten. I just saved you with that one comment, four years’ worth of taxes plus interest plus penalties. I’ve seen it many times where they go to someone who doesn’t handle IRS tax controversy work. That doesn’t know that six-year rule. I’ve seen 13-year-old returns filed. It just makes you smack your head. Like, wow, that’s some epically bad advice.
KATRINA MADEWELL: You don’t know what you don’t know.
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s right. If you’re a CPA or an unenrolled tax preparer, or even an enrolled agent, and you don’t do a lot of tax problem work, you may be unaware of that rule, and that’s costing clients’ money.
KATRINA MADEWELL: If you’ve listened to this show for any period, you probably don’t know, because Darrin doesn’t tell you, but he will put on seminars in front of CPA’s to teach them this kind of stuff, and more.
DARRIN T. MISH: I’m kind of like a proud papa.
KATRINA MADEWELL: He doesn’t brag on himself.
DARRIN T. MISH: There are some good guys and gals all around this country. There’s even one in this marketplace that I’ve trained. I’m proud because it’s kind of like a mentorship. If you’re doing quality work…what’s weird is I’m teaching competitors.
KATRINA MADEWELL: There’s plenty of fish in the sea. The likelihood of you competing with the same client is slim to none.
DARRIN T. MISH: There’s plenty of work, so for me, it’s not about that. It’s about making sure that, number one, these students of mine can make a great living providing for their families. And number two, they'[re providing superior service to taxpayers all around the country. Making sure taxpayers get treated right and they’re getting the help they need.
Let’s talk about the third possible deadly sin. That’s off-duty conduct.
OFF DUTY CONDUCT
KATRINA MADEWELL: I imagine that applies like it would for any of us. You have to watch what you do in your outside life and what you’re posting on social media.
DARRIN T. MISH: It says they will not engage in….
KATRINA MADEWELL: Way to cut it off there, Pat.
DARRIN T. MISH: When we come back, we can talk about what kind of off-duty conduct can get people fired. This one can get them imprisoned.
KATRINA MADEWELL: We were just talking about this in our house, how the stuff you post on social media and everywhere, it follows you into your life, your jobs, and your future. It will be interesting to see how this affects an IRS employee.
If you want to reach Darrin direct, you can get at his off-air number 888-GET-MISH.
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s 888-438-6474.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That’s 888-GET-MISH.
DARRIN T. MISH: 888-438-6474. Visit the website at getirshelp.com. Podcasts, apps, all that stuff, look it up. IRS Solution Attorney.
KATRINA MADEWELL: We’re here at the studio, if you have a question, call Pat. He’s back there at 888-404-1010. We’ll be back in a minute.
DARRIN T. MISH: Welcome back, to the IRS Solution Attorney Show. I am the IRS Solution Attorney, Darrin T. Mish.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m your cohost, Katrina Madewell. Thanks for sticking around through the break. That’s me, forgetting to turn on the mic. Thanks, Pat!
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s Pat George, he is our producer today.
PAT GEORGE: No, both of those mics were on, and she turned them off.
KATRINA MADEWELL: It was my fault, but he caught it. You didn’t let me fall.
PAT GEORGE: Oh, yeah, I would.
DARRIN T. MISH: I have headphones on, I can hear her just talking, and she’s not coming through the headphones.
PAT GEORGE: I was waiting for you to start dancing when I played that song.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m surprised he didn’t just pop the mic on, that’s what I would have done.
PAT GEORGE: Trying to get this party started today.
DARRIN T. MISH: Somebody’s getting ready to have a fun party this weekend, right?
PAT GEORGE: Don’t you bring that up! Some of us have to stay here in civilization.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Cinco de Mayo.
DARRIN T. MISH: Before we were so abruptly cut off in the last segment, we were talking about off-duty conduct that could get IRS employees in trouble. It’s just the kind of things you would think about. If they’re charged with a crime or infamous, dishonest, or notoriously disgraceful conduct. Or any conduct prejudicial to the government.
KATRINA MADEWELL: What does that even mean?
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s like lawyer language.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Just think about that little phrase, notoriously disgraceful conduct. Really?
DARRIN T. MISH: Lois Lerner.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Really?
DARRIN T. MISH: Although she wasn’t even disciplined. I don’t think she works at the IRS anymore. Lois Lerner was the woman that was accused, never convicted. Although she plead the fifth when questioned before Congress. She was accused of basically discriminating against conservative non-profits. And slow-walking or denying their applications. I would suggest that’s probably wildly inappropriate if proven.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I think it would fit more into the next sins even better than this one.
DARRIN T. MISH: I don’t know this to be true, I’m just giving an example, but an IRS revenue officer who is engaged in any theft or dishonesty, or any immoral behavior. That ought to get you fired, don’t you think?
KATRINA MADEWELL: Yeah. Most of us have to pass background checks and follow a certain code of ethics to even remain in our job. If you do stuff like that, Darrin, you can get disbarred.
DARRIN T. MISH: Haha, you think?
KATRINA MADEWELL: So, why should the rules be any different for them?
DARRIN T. MISH: If an attorney is charged with a crime, particularly a drug or alcohol related crime, then it has to be immediately reported. I forget how long we have; it’s not very long.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Same for us. If you have a real estate agent and they get a DUI, you have to report it to the state.
DARRIN T. MISH: I think it’s appropriate. Particularly with attorneys, I can’t speak for real estate agents, but attorneys are often in charge with taking care of clients’ money and things like that. If there’s a drug or alcohol crime, the bar’s interested in heading that off before it turns into something bigger. The bar, for most of this low-level stuff like DUI’s and even some drug charges, the bar is more interested into diverting you into a program so you can get your treatment so you can stop whatever it is you’re doing.
KATRINA MADEWELL: They want to make sure you pay those student loans, so you’re not a client like Darrin’s.
DARRIN T. MISH: There’s absolutely a zero-tolerance policy for the Florida bar in a theft of client funds. Even a penny is a problem. Unfortunately, I’ve known many lawyers over the years who have forgotten that ethical rule and have “borrowed” money.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Oh, you’re talking about if they give you a….
DARRIN T. MISH: Think of it like this. In a personal attorney’s case, they represent a client, and the insurance company is going to cut the check to the lawyer.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Gotcha, ok.
DARRIN T. MISH: The lawyer has the big pot of money.
KATRINA MADEWELL: They’ve already got a contract that says what their percentage is going to be.
DARRIN T. MISH: The lawyer is supposed to cut his share out and give the lion’s share of the money to the client. I’ve known guys over the years that have not adhered to that scrupulously and have gotten disbarred.
KATRINA MADEWELL: But you’re supposed to have a contract clearly outlining what that settlement is going to be?
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, you do. But human beings sometimes make poor choices. That’s what we’re talking about.
The next one would be, any bias-motivated conduct.
KATRINA MADEWELL: On, or off duty.
DARRIN T. MISH: Abusive, derisive, profane, or demeaning statements, conduct or gestures evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice. Love that, that’s interesting. To or about another person or group because of race, color, or religion, national or sexual orientation, age, or disability. This is common sense.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I wonder how often the race card comes up.
DARRIN T. MISH: I’ve never seen it. Not even anything remotely close. I’m going to give the IRS kudos here. Never seen it. Maybe I’m blind to it, but I’ve never seen any kind of behavior, at least on duty, from an IRS employee that ever came close to the line. As far as that bias goes, I think they go through a whole lot of training about that.
PARTICIPATION IN HATE GROUPS
KATRINA MADEWELL: The next one is almost comical. They say participation in hate groups. Really?
DARRIN T. MISH: It’s a sad testimony that it even has to be said. Obviously, a representative of the United States government and all that entails should not be participating in hate groups of any kind. There are hate groups on both sides, in my opinion. Most people only think of hate groups like Nazis and whatnot. But there are all kinds of hate groups or prejudicial groups.
PROHIBIT THE SALE, USE, OR POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
KATRINA MADEWELL: The next one is funny too. If you look at how this is worded and let’s really talk about this.
DARRIN T. MISH: The Treasury rules of conduct prohibit the sale, use or possession of controlled substances.
KATRINA MADEWELL: This is their alcohol and drug policy.
DARRIN T. MISH: Every big company has an alcohol and drug policy.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I know, but read it. It’s interesting.
DARRIN T. MISH: It says the Treasury rules of conduct prohibit the sale, use, or possession of controlled substances and intoxicants by employees while on departmental property while on duty or in a manner that adversely affects their work performance.
KATRINA MADEWELL: So, technically they can do whatever they want when they’re not on duty. That’s what I’m reading from that. Do you not read it like that? You’re a lawyer. If it doesn’t affect their performance at work.
DARRIN T. MISH: Ok. Back in the 70’s, and I’m not old enough to remember this as an adult, but back in the 70’s, lawyers and judges would go to lunch and…
KATRINA MADEWELL: Sex, drugs, and rock n roll, baby!
DARRIN T. MISH: They’d have three martinis, no problem. The judges would assume the bench and go about their day. I think our societal attitudes about alcohol have changed over the years. You can see it happening with marijuana now. Ten years ago, the discussion of legalizing marijuana was laughable. Now it’s legal in an “x” number of states.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Now if you say you live in Colorado, people are like, “we know what you do in your free time.”
DARRIN T. MISH: I knew a lot of people in Colorado, some that are watching on Facebook live right now, and they don’t.
KATRINA MADEWELL: It’s funny how that’s the status quo. If you live in Florida, you don’t know how to count.
DARRIN T. MISH: I think this comes up a lot with IRS employees. Revenue officers or even special agents who drive or carry firearms. It shouldn’t have to be said, but it is. Any substance that can impair their ability to safely carry a firearm, operate a motor vehicle, or otherwise perform their duties, that anytime during their duty day, they can’t participate in that. I think this makes sense.
If you have a TIGTA guy who, basically a TIGTA person has two roles, TIGTA is one of the places you complain. TIGTA is the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Affairs. They’re internal affairs and they’re like secret service. They investigate IRS employee issues, but they also protect them. On a couple of occasions, I’ve had taxpayers who insisted they’re going to go down and do harm to IRS employees.
What the public doesn’t realize is, you can tell a lawyer about a past crime, and there’s attorney-client privilege. Someone can say they walked into my office and say he killed a guy and he’s buried in the back yard. There’s nothing I can say. I’m prohibited by law from telling anybody that. But if come into my office and say, “I’m going to kill the guy and bury him in my backyard”, that changes everything.
What happens is I have to report that. This has happened on two occasions, that I can think of, where some clients got a little over zealous and they continue to insist they’re going to do harm to people at the IRS building. I told them, I need you to recant that because I have to call…I have to do something about it if I really think you’re going to do it. They wouldn’t recant it so I had to call TIGTA on a couple occasions.
KATRINA MADEWELL: You don’t want that on your hands.
DARRIN T. MISH: I eventually became friends with the local TIGTA guy, and he’s a great guy. It’s sort of interesting that TIGTA has that dual role. The protection and investigation.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Sounds like the union.
RACIAL PROFILING AND OTHER BIAS BASED LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
Racial profiling and other bias based law enforcement actions, that’s another one.
DARRIN T. MISH: Again, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, identity, or disability. Some that aren’t necessarily protected, there’s policy against treating people like that. They can’t say, well, this person is of a particular ethnicity, I don’t like those people.
CAN’T PROMOTE PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN YOUR PROFILES OR POSTINGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES
KATRINA MADEWELL: The next one is cool. This one outlines the personal use of social media.
DARRIN T. MISH: This specifically deals with TIGTA officials. It says that they can’t promote their professional responsibilities in your profiles or posts on social media websites. So, you couldn’t brag about being a TIGTA official. They don’t want you to provide details regarding your work colleagues, official position duties, or training. They don’t want you to use your personal accounts to access social media sites for official business. In other words, if they’re doing an investigation on John Smith, suspect, they don’t want you logging into your personal Facebook account and looking at John Smith’s Facebook profile.
Don’t know if I totally agree with that.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I don’t know how you would possibly do that. You have to have a personal Facebook account before you can have a business page. Is it a theoretic Facebook user?
DARRIN T. MISH: It’s not clear here. Probably what they do is they create an official government fake profile…
KATRINA MADEWELL: An official government fake profile. Got to love it.
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s probably what they do. They use it in an investigative capacity and then go about it that way. It kind of makes sense. The military has some of these policies as well. I have a good buddy who is a lieutenant color in the Air Force. He doesn’t have any social media profiles. I would love it if he did. Because we would be able to keep in touch better. His wife does. In the military, I think an officer, they don’t want you to be on social media because there are terrorism concerns.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Many law enforcement officers choose to not partake in social media, or not even have an account.
DARRIN T. MISH: I have a couple of buddies that are cops and they use synonyms and stuff like that. It makes sense, they don’t want the bad guys finding them or their kids.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That’s why they mask all their information from public records. You’re listening to the IRS Solution Attorney show. Today’s show is the seven deadly sins that can get an IRS employee fired or even imprisoned. We’ll be back in just a minute to chat about the rest.
DARRIN T. MISH: Despite the fact that I want to listen to this song, this is a great song.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Pat is rocking it out this morning.
DARRIN T. MISH: Welcome back to the IRS Solution Attorney show. Darrin T. Mish, here, the IRS Solution Attorney.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m your cohost, Katrina Madewell, thanks for sticking around. And to the wonderful intro music that Pat George slid in there.
DARRIN T. MISH: What movie was that from? Eddie Murphy?
KATRINA MADEWELL: Pat will know.
PAT GEORGE: Rocky.
DARRIN T. MISH: Oh, that was Rocky IV.
PAT GEORGE: Yeah, with Apollo Creed. It was Rocky 23.
KATRINA MADEWELL: I’m the wrong person to ask about movies. We were talking about this on the way in. I know nothing about anything.
DARRIN T. MISH: I’m putting that song on my phone and I’m listening to that on the way to the office today. We’re talking about the seven deadly sins the IRS can commit to getting them fired or even imprisoned.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Let’s list them all quick.
DARRIN T. MISH: I don’t think we have time. We promised we were going to tell people. Let’s tell them how to complain. What you do, if you really have what you think is a legitimate complaint, you’re going to call the Treasury Inspector General, that’s TIGTA that we’ve been talking about. Their phone number is 1-800-366-4484. 1-800-366-4484.
Do not call my office if you have a complaint about the behavior of an IRS employee. No offense, I understand, I respect it, but it’s not a good case for us to work on together. TIGTA does this for a living, this is what they do. 1-800-366-4484. You can file a complaint with them by phone or you can mail a written complaint. Just go ahead and Google TIGTA and the address will on a web page someplace. It’s in D.C. Or you can email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org and that goes to them as well.
KATRINA MADEWELL: TIGTA is “TIGTA”.
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, TIGTA, that’s how you’re going to Google it. They treat complaints seriously. There will be an investigation. I can’t say anything will come of it, but there will be an investigation. I think IRS employees have a love/hate relationship with TIGTA because there’s some fear involved. But then they’re also charged with making sure IRS employees remain safe. It’s an interesting dynamic.
KATRINA MADEWELL: If you missed any part of this show today, you can catch it in its entirety at The IRS Solution Attorney show. Just search?
DARRIN T. MISH: There’s a website that’s the irssolutionattorney.com. You can visit the main website, getirshelp.com, and there are links all over the place. Podcasts or app. All different ways to listen to the show.
KATRINA MADEWELL: The Seven Deadly Sins of the IRS Can get them Terminated or Jailed
DARRIN T. MISH: They have to follow their own internal rules. AS a taxpayer, you should either learn the rules or hire someone who does.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Those seven, really quick:
Right to Quality Service
Violating the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, meaning the right to challenge and be heard.
Off-duty conduct in general.
Bias motivated conduct.
Member or participation in hate groups.
Alcohol and drug policy
Racial profiling or other bias-based law enforcement action.
Personal use of social media
DARRIN T. MISH: To complain, get in touch with TIGTA. Go ahead and Google it and there will be a lot of ways to communicate with them.
DARRIN T. MISH: It’s about that time.
KATRINA MADEWELL: The train’s right on time this week.
DARRIN T. MISH: It’s time for the IRS Train Wreck of the Week.
KATRINA MADEWELL: This one is going to be fun.
DARRIN T. MISH: This is the segment of the show where we talk about a win.
KATRINA MADEWELL: For me, this is always like Bob and Sally Jones, there’s never any names.
DARRIN T. MISH: Katrina usually checks out during this segment of the show. She thinks, “This is Darrin’s thing, he’s going to tell me some story.”
KATRINA MADEWELL: Somebody I never met.
DARRIN T. MISH: Somebody you’ll never know. In this case, it’s kind of cool, it’s different because Katrina and I joined forces on this one. It was like a team of superheroes on this one. Go ahead and lay it out a little bit.
KATRINA MADEWELL: The story behind this one is I had long time client. She originally wanted to buy a bigger house in a different area. At the time, she did not have enough equity to sell this property, so we rented it. This is probably three or four renters later. It’s a little townhouse. But it’s a nice little newer place.
We put this tenant in the property a year ago. She was talking about selling the house. We determined this was a good time to sell. The couple that were the tenants that lived in the property is an older couple. A little bit older, very end of their working years. He’s already on social security and one of them works. Just to give you a foundation of who they are. If you can imagine what moving would be like. You get maybe a couple of months’ notice, and even to have showings in and out of your house when it’s not your place. Super inconvenient.
When we did the rental pre-screening, we’re more lenient than a lot of other companies, but it was on the fence. They were just such a sweet couple, we gave them a chance.
I approached her and said we did the credit pull a year ago, and I think we can make this happen for you if you want to buy the property. When we pulled the credit, there was a tax lien on there that was kind of old. It was almost $5700. I called Darrin and asked for his help.
DARRIN T. MISH: The statute of limitations is ten years from the date the tax is assessed. When I heard about the $5700 tax lien, I thought it wasn’t for sure, but almost certainly could get it released with minimal difficulty. So, we teamed up. We had trouble finding it. It was filed in a different county. They had a common name, and it was filed in a big, urban county.
We thought they owed $5700 plus interest and penalties. It turns out, they owed almost $28,000 plus interest and penalties. That wasn’t even the part of the story we got.
KATRINA MADEWELL: Here’s the thing for us, it would have come up during the title search in the end, that’s where it would have held it up.
DARRIN T. MISH: It would have been the day of or three days prior.
KATRINA MADEWELL: A little more now, but still, right at the end.
DARRIN T. MISH: Yeah, it would have been at the end, and it would have been a disaster. Long story, short, we got the liens released! And this nice elderly couple got to stay in their house. They didn’t have to move. They got to experience a little slice of the American dream.
KATRINA MADEWELL: When I called her they were so thrilled we were able to get them in with the money they had and they didn’t have to pay this. We made the biggest burden they ever have go away, by making a few phone calls.
DARRIN T. MISH: That’s a beautiful thing, I love that story.
KATRINA MADEWELL: She told me, Darrin, she said, “I was contemplating divorcing my husband over this because I didn’t think it was ever going to go away.” Isn’t that crazy?
DARRIN T. MISH: I feel happier for him, at this point. So, he didn’t have to go through that.
KATRINA MADEWELL: That’s our train wreck of the week. It was a delightful one, we had the privilege of knowing the person and working on it together.