To the Editor:
After reading your article on the Internal Revenue Service (Oct. 13th issue — see Archives) I felt compelled to express my feelings.
In 30 years I have been working, I never had bad relationship with the IRS agents—except for one who was a liar.
We have been late paying some taxes, but we have paid them, including the penalties and interests. Yet I have the following complaints:
Privacy. In IRS Literature, the word privacy appears often. You wonder then why everyone is aware that you are not paying your taxes. It gets published!
Penalties. This is a menacing tactic. They should not be applied if the tax has been paid, but the IRS cannot find out where the money went— even when provided proof of payment!
Credit bureaus. When all taxes have been paid, normally your credit bureau should be able to pick up this information. If an error has been made by the IRS, the IRS should take the initiative in notify whomever it has told that you failed to pay your taxes.
I have written to our Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., to find out how credit firms work, who pays them and where they get information. I have not yet received a reasonable answer.
We do not have the money to bring a civil suit against credit bureaus, but they are never up to date.
The Consumer Response Center reported July 1 that: “A consumer-reporting agency may issue a consumer report to a person it has reason to believe has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction. When permissible purposes exist, parties may obtain and consumer reporting agencies may furnish consumer reports without the consumer’s permission.”
(But have you ever tried to obtain a credit report for you personally or for your company?)
If you are tenacious, you may obtain a report from the IRS on what data it has concerning an audit or other disagreement concerning your taxes. For some unknown reason, however, the dates are never chronological.
These reports should be sent immediately when a problem arises and be easy to understand so they clarify and resolve the situation rather than adding to the confusion.
Taxpayers are at a disadvantage when the IRS cannot explain the source of dates and amounts used in their calculations and we cannot afford a lawyer or CPA to represent our interests.
Trust between the taxpayer and the IRS needs to improve.
signed // Annie Y. Sweeney, Puyallup