Over the past several years as taxpayers have endured the Great Recession the IRS has escalated the number of federal tax liens filed against delinquent taxpayers. The IRS aggressive use of liens has been criticized by the National Taxpayer Advocate in her annual report to congress and the IRS Advisory Council in its annual report to the Commissioner. IRS recently announced a new, more flexible attitude in policies and programs to help taxpayers pay back taxes and avoid tax liens.
Over the years the IRS offer in compromise program has been the subject of a great deal of criticism by Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate and taxpayer representatives. The new initiative represents the most dramatic liberalization of IRS settlement policies ever announced. It represents a welcome change from an agency which has always placed substantial roadblocks to those seeking to compromise their tax obligations.
And Chicago tax lawyer Robert E. McKenzie, who has defended rich folks claiming losses on everything from deer farms to race horses to yachts, says the Romneys -–despite the fact that Ann Romney’s statements on what dressage has done for her personally suggests lack of profit motive– likely did all the paperwork right and can assert they thought they’d make a profit, even if they never do. “The way I would argue it is `this horse competed in the Olympics and we’ll breed it and make money off the foal’,’’ says McKenzie. “When you’re that rich you can afford to have talented tax advisers.”