November 23, 2009

IRS Freedom of Information Act

In a policy statement issued by the Internal Revenue Service about the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS states the following:

The Internal Revenue Service is committed to full compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The FOIA provides that agency records are to be made available to the public unless required or permitted to be withheld. The FOIA accommodates the countervailing interests in disclosure and nondisclosure. The IRS is committed to administering the FOIA with respect to agency records in a manner consistent with preserving the fundamental values held by our society, including public accountability, safeguarding national security, enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and the decision-making processes, protecting sensitive business information, and protecting personal privacy.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, provides public access to agency records unless protected from disclosure by one of the FOIA’s nine exemptions or three exclusions. The FOIA applies to records created by Federal agencies and does not cover records held by Congress, the courts, or state and local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws which should be consulted for access to state and local records.

The IRS provides guidance accessing FOIA information. Click on any of the following:

IRS FOIA Guide

How to Write Your Request

Example FOIA Letter

Optional Items

Proof of Identity and Right to Access

Fee Schedule

IRS Disclosure Offices

CAF Client Listing Request

Here's a sampling of frequently asked questions about FOIA:

This page answers Frequently Asked Questions about FOIA. Please also see How to Write a FOIA Request and the Guide to Accessing Treasury Records .

Who can make a request under the Freedom of Information Act?

What is a reasonable description of records?

What authorization is required if I make a FOIA requests about myself?

What authorization is required for FOIA information to be released to a third party?

What the FOIA does not require.

When can I expect a response?

How and Under what circumstances may I receive expedited processing?

What is the 30-day rule?

What will cause a delay in the processing of a request?

What if I can't specify exactly where the records are located, but I have some information?

Contract records, solicitation and winning bid records are sometimes available to the public. How do I know when a FOIA request is needed?

Will the FOIA allow me to see records on my neighbor/coworker who is being investigated by the Treasury?

Why should a request sent by fax also contain my signature?

Why should I send my request to the specific Treasury bureau and not one office at Departmental Offices (DO)?

Why should requests for tax records go to the IRS when the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized by law to make tax assessments?

Are there fees associated with a FOIA request and what are they?

What are the various requester fee categories?

What services are free and what are chargeable for the various fee categories?

How are fees determined?

Can a fee be waived?

Under what circumstances may records be withheld?

Can I appeal a denial of request?

November 19, 2009

California Tax Service Center

The Internal Revenue Service and California’s tax agencies (Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department and Board of Equalization) have formed a partnership called the Joint Tax Agency Communications Committee. The mission of the committee is to “speak with one voice” where feasible with regards to tax issues and to enhance education and outreach efforts by leveraging resources. The website is: California Tax Service Center.

These tax agencies have joined together to streamline and improve taxpayer resources and educational programs. One-stop tax help is the goal.

Income tax, payroll tax, and sales and use tax FAQs are now at one joint website. Information is available in one place for things like forms and publications, filing online, payment options, reporting requirements, rates and schedules, important dates, as well as credits and deductions.

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

For tax help from a tax lawyer, call Mitchell A. Port at (310) 559-5259.