Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tax Attorney 6330 - abuse of discretion -

II. Section 6330

Section 6330(a) provides that no levy may be made on any property or right to property of any person unless the Secretary has notified such person in writing of the right to a hearing before the levy is made. If the person makes a request for a hearing, a hearing shall be held before an impartial officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service Office of Appeals (Appeals Office). Sec. 6330(b)(1), (3). At the hearing, a taxpayer may raise any relevant issue, including appropriate spousal defenses, challenges to the appropriateness of the collection action, and collection alternatives. Sec. 6330(c)(2)(A). A taxpayer may contest the existence or amount of the underlying tax liability at the hearing if the taxpayer did not receive a notice of deficiency for the tax liability in question or did not otherwise have an earlier opportunity to dispute the tax liability. Sec. 6330(c)(2)(B); see also Sego v. Commissioner, 114 T.C. 604, 609 (2000).

Following a hearing, the Appeals Office must make a determination whether the proposed levy action may proceed. The Appeals Office is required to take into consideration: (1) Verification presented by the Secretary that the requirements of applicable law and administrative procedure have been met, (2) relevant issues raised by the taxpayer, and (3) whether the proposed levy action appropriately balances the need for efficient collection of taxes with a taxpayer's concerns regarding the intrusiveness of the proposed levy action. Sec. 6330(c)(3).

Section 6330(d)(1) grants this Court jurisdiction to review the determination made by the Appeals Office in connection with the section 6330 hearing. Where the underlying tax liability is not in dispute, the Court will review the determination of the Appeals Office for abuse of discretion. Lunsford v. Commissioner, 117 T.C. 183, 185 (2001); Sego v. Commissioner, supra at 610; Goza v. Commissioner, 114 T.C. 176, 182 (2000). An abuse of discretion occurs if the Appeals Office exercises its discretion "arbitrarily, capriciously, or without sound basis in fact or law." Woodral v. Commissioner, 112 T.C. 19, 23 (1999).

The standard for "abuse of discretion" is whether the IRS determination was arbitrary, capricious, or without sound basis in law or fact. See Woodral v. Commissioner, supra at 23.

Alvin S. Brown, Esq.
Tax Attorney
703 425-1400

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