In Nina Olson’s recent report to Congress, the head of National Taxpayer Advocate, addressed challenges and concerns facing US taxpayers when dealing with the IRS.
In the report to Congress, Nina Olson discussed the impact of the recent government shutdown. A major point of discussion before and during the shutdown was the permissible scope of IRS levies, bank accounts, wages and other enforcement activities. Under the Anti-Deficiency Act, federal funds may not be spent in the absence of an appropriation except where otherwise provided by law. One exception provided by law is for “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property”. Although not stated in the law or Justice Department guidance, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel has interpreted the “protection of property” exception to apply only to the protection of government property and not to taxpayers’ property such as bank accounts.