Search Results for: public reading room

Correction on Making Offers in Compromise Public

On February 21, 2022, I wrote a post because of the FOIA case involving EPIC v. IRS, 128 AFTR 2d 2021-6808 (DDC 2021).  My description of the EPIC case was accurate and my conclusion on how to get information about offers in compromise from the IRS was accurate – use FOIA; however, my description of the IRS method for delivering information about accepted offers in compromise was outdated.  I thank Steve Bauman of IRS SB/SE Collection for setting me straight.

In the earlier post I wrote about the system the IRS had devised for allowing public inspection of accepted offers.  The system did not make sense to me and was criticized in a TIGTA report in 2016 to which I cited in the post.  The IRS took the criticism from TIGTA to heart and revamped the system for accessing accepted offers.  I cannot say that I find the new system very user friendly for reasons I will describe further below, but it is not a system which will cost $100,000 per offer viewed which is what TIGTA calculated was the per view cost of the prior system.


The IRS closed the public reading rooms as the depository of accepted offers back in 2018 and now keeps all accepted offers in a computer database that inquiring persons can access through the process described below:

Public Inspection files contain limited information regarding accepted Offers in Compromise such as the taxpayer name, city/state/zip, liability amount, and offer terms. View a sample Form 7249, Offer Acceptance Report PDF, to see the information you will receive by requesting a copy of a public inspection file.

The IRS makes available for public inspection a copy of Form 7249, Offer Acceptance Report, for one year after the date of acceptance.

If you wish to submit a request, complete and send the Offer in Compromise Public Inspection File Form PDF [aka Form 15086.] We will respond in 15 business days. Fax is the preferred method; if mailing, allow an additional 5 business days for a response.

If you link to the Offer Acceptance Report, you will see that you obtain very little information about the person or the offer.  As I mentioned in my original post several years ago about making offers public, I don’t find the information the IRS chooses to make public particularly helpful for stopping the type of abuse and scandal that caused offers to be made public in the first place.  Here’s my brief discussion of the history behind making offers public:

In the early 1950s, a scandal came to light in which an IRS employee used the compromise provisions to write off the liabilities of members of the criminal element.  The employee was prosecuted (see page 148 for a brief discussion of the events) and President Truman issued an executive order requiring that the IRS make accepted offers public.  Subsequently, Congress passed IRC 6103(K)(1) which provides for public inspection and copying of accepted OICs. 

You can look at the information provided on Form 7249 and decide for yourself if that information will assist in ferreting out inappropriate offers that might cause a scandal.

Moving past the information on the publicly available form which has not changed, I need to explain how the IRS has made its offer disclosure system better.  I think it is better but still not what it should be.  Gone are the remote reading rooms.  In their place the IRS has digitized its system for storing and retrieving Forms 7249.  Now, you send a request to the IRS via fax using the inspection file form linked above.  The problem with this form is that it will only cause the IRS to send you information about offers you already know about.  The first box on the form requests you to

Identify the Accepted Offer in Compromise (e.g. offer number, name, state) as specifically as possible below.

You can only do that if you already know about the offer.  How many people are looking for offers who already know an offer exists.  Maybe lots of people but I am unconvinced.  There is now way to browse through accepted offers to try to get a sense of what was accepted.  You must make a targeted request to use the new system.

The new system eliminates the wasteful reading room.  For that it is to be applauded.  If the goal is to prevent another scandal like the one in the 1950s, I think more information needs to be provided on Form 7249 and the accepted forms need to be browsed.

The IRM was updated in December of 2019 and provides the following guidance: (12-17-2019)

Public Inspection File

1. Public inspection of certain information regarding all offers accepted under IRC § 7122 is authorized by IRC § 6103(k)(1).

2. Treasury Reg. § 601.702 (d) (8) requires that for one year after the date of execution, a copy of Form 7249 Offer Acceptance Report, for each accepted offer with respect to any liability for a tax imposed by Title 26, shall be made available for inspection and copying. A separate file of accepted offer records will be maintained for this purpose and made available to the public for a period of one year.


Revenue Ruling 117, 1953-1 C.B. 498 complements Treasury Reg. § 601.702(d)(8) and explains that Form 7249 serves two different purposes. First, it provides the format for public inspection, which is mandated by Executive Order 10386. Second, it satisfies the filing requirement and other criteria arising under section 7122(b).

3. For each accepted offer, a copy of the Form 7249 should be uploaded to the PIF SharePoint site. Form 7249 must be free of any PII.

4. The office that has accepted the offer will be responsible for providing the Form 7249. The PIFs should be uploaded, without delay, to the PIF SharePoint site after acceptance.

5. The PIF must be:

– Maintained for one-year.

– Uploaded in the appropriate monthly folder and designated location based on the taxpayer’s entity address at the time of acceptance.

– Created with the established naming convention for uploading documents to the PIF SharePoint site.(Offer number. Name Control. Date Accepted) i.e. (1234567890.ABCD.MMDDYY)

– If within one year of acceptance a Form 7249 needs to be corrected (e.g. to remove periods that were discharged in bankruptcy, compromise of a compromise, or to obtain the signatures required in Delegation Order 5-1), the original Form 7249 should be deleted from the PIF SharePoint site, and the corrected Form 7249 uploaded with the same naming convention

6. Due to the potential disclosure of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) the Form 7249 will be reviewed and any PII will be redacted.

7. Memphis COIC will be the centralized PIF site which will monitor and track all Form 15086 PIF requests. Requests for OIC PIF will be provided by mail or fax per the instructions on, the taxpayer will complete and submit Form 15086. If a request is received to copy more than 100 pages, contact OIC Collection Policy.


A visitors log with the Form 15086 information will be retained on the PIF Sharepoint site. The visitor log book and the Form 15086 will be maintained by Memphis COIC.

I asked Steve how someone would make a broad request.  He said that for those seeking large volumes of data that would point to trends such as numbers of offer accepted, submitting a FOIA request would be necessary.  That’s why I said at the outset that although I wrongly described the continued existence of the reading rooms, the bottom line is that FOIA may be the only way to obtain meaningful information about accepted offers (as meaningful as you can get with the information provided on Form 7249) is by making a FOIA request.  I didn’t ask and it’s not clear to me if a FOIA request can allow someone to obtain information about offers going back past one year

Aside from my continued disappointment at the amount of information available and the process for getting the information, I want to thank Steve for taking the time to set me straight.  He disclosed useful information to me about the process of obtaining information about offers.

Public Policy and Not in the Best Interest of the Government Offer in Compromise Rejections

In the first year of this blog, I wrote a post on the case of Anderson v. Commissioner, 2013-261, questioning why the Settlement Officer (SO) in Appeals did not reject a taxpayer’s offer by citing public policy grounds.  In that case the Tax Court remanded a Collection Due Process (CDP) determination because the SO’s basis for rejecting an offer of a very sick taxpayer did not provide sufficient reasoning.  I pointed out in my post that the SO could have rejected the offer based on public policy grounds, and I thought it unlikely the Tax Court would second guess such a determination by the SO on the facts of that case since the taxpayer had criminal tax convictions.

Today, I write about a case in which the IRS rejected the taxpayer’s offer as not in the best interest of the government (NIBIG), a policy-based decision but one separate from public policy rejection according to the Internal Revenue Manual as discussed below.  The Tax Court sustains the determination in a CDP case.  The case of O’Donnell v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2021-134, does not involve an individual convicted of a tax crime, which I think provides a strong cover for the IRS in a challenge to a NIBIG or public policy rejection, but does involve someone with a long history of bad tax behavior.  Since many offer candidates come hat in hand seeking an offer after long periods of bad tax behavior, I found today’s case interesting.  The relative ease with which the Tax Court sustained the NIBIG rejection suggests to me that it will rarely second guess such a determination by the IRS.


I don’t know how many offers get rejected each year on NIBIG or public policy grounds.  As discussed in my recent post on the EPIC case, and the post to which it links discussing a TIGTA report with a suggestion to put this information online, public information about offers is hard to come by, making it difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain this type of information without trying a FOIA request.  Even if you get to the publicly available information, all you find is the rather sparse set of information on Form 7249 (Rev. 3-2017) (

No information is publicly available on rejected offers.  So, much of the information about IRS offer practice is passed from practitioner to practitioner by word of mouth.  Practices that handle large volumes of offers will have a better sense of what the IRS will accept but the information available reminds me a bit of the situation with private letter rulings.  While a prior post discusses the history behind making offers public through IRC 6103(k), that code section came into existence long before the modern offer practice at the IRS, which did not develop until 1990.  It might be time to take another look at not only how the IRS makes the information public but what information should be public.  Should the act of making an offer be public?

I mentioned in the Anderson post that at the time I wrote that post in 2013 I had recently represented an individual with a history of very bad tax behavior including a criminal tax conviction and the SO in that case had raised the specter of a public policy rejection.  Though the Villanova and Harvard tax clinics I have directed over the past decade have submitted a couple dozen offers each year, I have not since had an offer examiner or SO raise public policy as a basis for rejecting an offer.  I thought a few of the cases might have drawn such an objection based on the client’s history.  When with Chief Counsel’s Office, I reviewed hundreds of offers over a period of 15 years prior to retirement, suggested to collection that it consider a public policy rejection a few times, but rarely witnessed the IRS using public policy as a stated basis for rejection.   

So, based on my limited experience representing taxpayers, the IRS does not play the public policy rejection card very often.  Whether it formally states this as a basis for rejection, I believe that a taxpayer’s behavior giving rise to the liability for which a compromise is sought does factor into the offer examiner’s and SO’s position in unstated ways.  In the O’Donnell case, however, we have an explicit statement from the IRS rejecting his offer because of his bad behavior, allowing us to look at the reasoning behind the public policy rejection as well as the level of scrutiny the Tax Court applies in reviewing that decision.

Treas. Reg. 301.7122-1(c)(3)(ii)(A) provides that a “history of noncompliance with the filing and payment requirements of the Internal Revenue Code” indicates that acceptance of the offer would tend to undermine compliance with the tax laws.  The IRS signals that it does not want its offer examiners using this basis for rejection lightly by requiring the approval of the second level manager if the examiner seeks to reject an offer as NIBIG or on public policy grounds. 

IRM gives details about offer rejections.  Since over half of submitted offers that pass the processability review get rejected, this IRM provision gets a fair amount of use.  IRM details the basis for a NIBIG rejection while IRM details the basis for public policy rejections.  I confess some confusion on the reason the IRS would choose a NIBIG rejection over a public policy rejection.  In the first paragraph describing NIBIG rejections the manual cites to Rev. Proc. 2003-71 and states:

The decision whether and when to accept an offer to compromise a liability is within the discretion of the Service. In keeping with IRM, Policy Statement P-5-100, an offer will only be accepted if it is determined to be in the best interest of both the taxpayer and the Service. In addition to the criteria discussed in Section 4.02, the Service may take into account public policy and tax administration concerns in determining whether an offer to compromise is acceptable.

This seems like public policy to me, but the manual clearly distinguishes between the two types of rejections.  While I mentioned above that a criminal tax conviction could provide an easy basis for a public policy rejection, the manual provision dealing with public policy rejections, IRM provides

(4) An offer will not be rejected on public policy grounds solely because:

– It would generate considerable public interest, some of it critical.

– A taxpayer was criminally prosecuted for a tax or non-tax violation.

You should definitely read the manual provisions if you have a client facing a potential NIBIG or public policy rejection.  Because case law on offers only occurs in the context of CDP, the decisional law remains sparse, making the O’Donnell case all the more important for the potential insight into this type of decision that it provides.

Judge Lauber describes Mr. O’Donnell’s tax behavior in his opinion:

Petitioner failed to comply with his Federal income tax obligations for a very long time. For two decades (if not longer) he failed to file returns and failed to pay the tax shown on substitutes for return (SFRs) that the IRS prepared for him. Among the years for which he failed to meet his obligations were 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. The IRS for those years assessed deficiencies, additions to tax, and interest totaling more than $430,000. As of May 2016 petitioner’s outstanding liabilities for all open years exceeded $2 million.

Pretty bad but not so bad that the IRS sought to bring a criminal case against him for failure to file or evasion of payment.  As the manual suggests the IRS need not have a criminal case in order to reject based on NIBIG or public policy and a criminal conviction does not automatically result in such a rejection.

When Mr. O’Donnell submitted his offer, the IRS first rejected it because he had not paid his estimated taxes for the year of the submission.  Offer examiners love this type of rejection because it requires little effort in order to move a case off of their desk.  Unfortunately, Mr. O’Donnell’s representative wrote back and pointed out he did not have an obligation to make estimated tax payments during the year at issue, sending the offer examiner back to the drawing board.  Despite his long-term bad tax behavior, Mr. O’Donnell offered the IRS $280,000, which is not chump change and the IRS calculated that his reasonable collection potential (RCP) was $286,744.  So, his offered amount closely fit the IRS criteria.  Mr. O’Donnell’s licenses related to his insurance and financial business had been revoked so his representative argued that his future earnings potential was not at all clear. 

Upon reconsideration, the offer examiner, presumably having gotten the higher level approvals required by the manual, rejected the offer on a NIBIG basis.  Because a notice of federal tax lien (NFTL) had been filed while the offer was pending (raising serious questions why the NFTL had not been previously filed with an outstanding liability of this amount), Mr. O’Donnell took the opportunity to bring a CDP case.  The SO reviewing his case sustained the determination to reject the offer, stating:

acceptance of his offer was not in the Government’s best interest given his history of “blatant disregard for voluntary compliance.” Because offer acceptance reports are available to the public under section 6103(k)(1), the Appeals Office concluded that acceptance of petitioner’s OIC would “diminish future voluntary compliance.”

Apparently, the SO had not read my prior blog post or the TIGTA report and did not realize how few people actually read offer acceptance reports and how little those reports could possibly diminish the public’s view of voluntary compliance, but it’s hard to argue with the conclusion that Mr. O’Donnell had exhibited a blatant disregard for voluntary compliance.  Despite the determination, the SO offered a partial pay installment agreement that seemed pretty reasonable.  While orally agreeing to this offer, Mr. O’Donnell did not follow through to sign the agreement, resulting in the determination letter sustaining the filing of the NFTL.

In the Tax Court, the IRS filed a motion for summary judgment.  The Tax Court notes that it is only looking to see if the decision to reject the offer was “arbitrary, capricious, or without sound basis in fact or law.”  Mr. O’Donnell argued that he offered an amount equal to 97.6% of the RCP.  The Court cites to the NIBIG manual provisions discussed above and to Mr. O’Donnell’s long history of non-compliance while he ran a successful insurance and finance business in finding that the decision to reject the offer was “well within the guidelines set forth in the IRM. We have repeatedly held that an SO does not abuse his discretion when he adheres to published IRM collection guidelines.”

The decision does not surprise me.  I think the hardest thing for the IRS was having an offer examiner willing to get the necessary approvals for the NIBIG rejection but after that, with these facts, the result was hard for Appeals or the Tax Court to second guess.  Although the IRS’ abysmal practices in the public display of offer information makes it impossible to easily know how many times it makes a NIBIG or public policy rejection, my experience tells me it does not do so very often.  When it does, the taxpayer will struggle to overcome the determination even when offering an amount equal to the RCP.  To get this offer accepted, I think Mr. O’Donnell may have needed to have offered something high enough above the RCP to make it an offer the IRS could not refuse.

Making Offers in Compromise Public

I wrote a post several years ago about the public reading rooms that exist in a few cities around the country where the IRS makes public, for one year, the offers in compromise for the region covered by the city which houses the reading room.  I would be curious to learn how accessible those reading rooms have been during the pandemic considering they were not very accessible prior to the pandemic.  Because I believe very few people visited these reading rooms prior to the pandemic, I doubt that much has been lost if they have been relatively inaccessible the past couple years.  Back in 2016 when I wrote that post, TIGTA estimated that it cost the IRS about $100,000 per public viewing to maintain its Rube Goldberg system of publicly disclosing accepted offers.

TIGTA suggested that putting accepted offers online would provide a meaningful method for making offers public.  To my knowledge nothing has been done to implement TIGTA’s suggestion even though it would potentially save the IRS money while granting the public access.  Perhaps if the IRS had accepted TIGTA’s proposal, the case discussed in this post would not exist.

If you want to know more about accepted offers and are unwilling to seek to visit the public reading rooms, a better path may exist as suggested by a recent case.  This better path, if that accurately describes multi-year litigation, is not better than TIGTA’s suggestion to put this information online but may be better than cross-country travel to the well-hidden reading rooms.  Read on.


The recent case of EPIC v. IRS, 128 AFTR 2d 2021-6808 (DDC 2021) provides another way to learn about offers in compromise – the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  EPIC is an acronym for Electronic Privacy Information Center.  It sent a FOIA request to the IRS seeking, inter alia, certain tax records related to offers in compromise (OICs) involving former President Donald Trump and business entities associated with him.  As you might expect, the IRS opposed this request but before it opposed the request in court it failed to respond to the FOIA request, causing EPIC to bring a suit in order to seek to have a district court order the IRS to turn over this information, some of which might have been available in the OIC reading room in Buffalo, N.Y. based on the discussion in the prior blog post and where the former President lived.

EPIC requested:

((1)) All accepted offers-in-compromise relating to any past or present tax liability of Donald John Trump, the current President of the United States.

((2)) All other “return information…necessary to permit inspection of [the] accepted offer[s]-in-compromise” described in Category 1 of this request. Records responsive to Category 2 include, but are not limited to, “income, excess profits, declared value excess profits, capital stock, and estate or gift tax returns for any taxable year,” as applicable.

Similarly, with respect to the records of business entities associated with the former President, EPIC requested:

((3)) All accepted offers-in-compromise relating to any past or present tax liability of any entity identified in Appendix A [a fifteen-page list of the business entities associated with President Trump] of this request.

((4)) All other “return information…necessary to permit inspection of [the] accepted offer[s]-in-compromise” described in Category 3 of this request. Records responsive to Category 4 include, but are not limited to, “income, excess profits, declared value excess profits, capital stock, and estate or gift tax returns for any taxable year,” as applicable.

The IRS seeks to dismiss the suit, arguing that the FOIA request fails because it falls within Exemption 3 which “allows an agency to withhold records `specifically exempted from disclosure by statute’ if the statute meets certain criteria.”  The court notes that the parties agree that the requested records would fall within the ambit of FOIA but for the exception.  It states:

Thus, whether EPIC has stated a claim turns on whether the records at issue are covered by any of the thirteen exceptions such that the IRS must disclose them, which would in turn subject them to EPIC’s FOIA request. EPIC relies on § 6103(k)(1), which provides that “[r]eturn information shall be disclosed to members of the general public to the extent necessary to permit inspection of any accepted offer-in-compromise under section 7122 relating to the liability for a tax imposed by this title.” 26 U.S.C. §§ 6103(k)(1).

The IRS argues that the exception applies because EPIC lacks the taxpayer’s consent to receive these records and has no qualifying material interest in the records as described in § 6103(e).  EPIC says it doesn’t need consent or a qualifying material interest because of the requirement to make OICs public.  The court states:

There is no basis in the statute’s text or structure to import these requirements into § 6103(k)(1), which, after all, permits disclosure to “members of the general public.”

So, the IRS next argues that (k)(1) does not create a disclosure obligation to produce records to EPIC but the court quotes from the statute that Section 6103(k)(1) states that return information “shall be disclosed to the extent necessary to permit inspection of any accepted offer-in-compromise.”

Next the IRS argues:

that the phrase “to the extent necessary to permit inspection” gives it discretion to decide both the records it must disclose and the means necessary to disclose them. The Court agrees that phrase limits the records the IRS must disclose to those necessary to permit inspection of any accepted offer-in-compromise. But the IRS’s interpretation goes further. In its view, because the Secretary of the Treasury has by regulation established Public Inspection Files and a related non-FOIA in person inspection process—and determined that nothing more is “necessary” under § 6103(k)(1)—the exception does not afford EPIC any disclosure rights under FOIA.

The court disagrees.  It sees nothing in the statute that prohibits disclosure to EPIC and finds also that case law does not support the position that the IRS has no disclosure obligations to EPIC under (k)(1).  It finds that the IRS must disclose information to EPIC “to the extent that information is necessary to permit inspection of an accepted offer-in-compromise.”  The court does, however, make it clear that EPIC cannot receive former President Trump’s tax returns as part of this request.

I don’t know if EPIC received anything in the end.  I would think that if it did we would have learned about it in the popular press.  The case is not important to me as a way to learn the former President’s tax information but as a way of opening a window to offers in compromise generally.  The court does not seem to limit the time frame of the requirement to respond to the request.  So, FOIA might allow a party to obtain offer information beyond the information for only one year provided in the remote and relatively inaccessible reading rooms.  It might allow targeted requests for OIC information regarding individuals or entities but also might allow for broad based information requests that could save someone the time and effort of getting to one of the reading rooms. 

I do not have any projects going where I want to learn about offers the IRS has accepted.  If I did, EPIC seems to have laid out a path for using FOIA to bypass the remote and inaccessible reading rooms.  Hope springs eternal that the IRS might adopt TIGTA’s suggestion to put this information online, but until it does FOIA seems a better path than frequent flier miles.

Making Offers in Compromise Really Public

The IRS must publicly display accepted offers in compromise (OIC). In the early 1950s, a scandal came to light in which an IRS employee used the compromise provisions to write off the liabilities of members of the criminal element.  The employee was prosecuted (see page 148 for a brief discussion of the events) and President Truman issued an executive order requiring that the IRS make accepted offers public.  Subsequently, Congress passed IRC 6103(K)(1) which provides for public inspection and copying of accepted OICs.  Prior to 2000, these public inspection sites existed in each IRS district and districts generally followed state lines.  At some point the IRS consolidated the inspection sites into seven “conveniently” located sites around the country. These sites are depicted in Figure 1 of the recent Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) report entitled “The Offer in Compromise Public Inspection Files Should Be Modernized.”  For example, if I want to view the publicly available OIC records for someone in Boston, all I need to do is head over to Buffalo within a year after the offer becomes public and find the IRS public reading room.

In the 1950s when the IRS first started making OICs public and up until about 1992, the IRS only approved a handful of offers each year. I do not know if it was the prosecution of the IRS official for accepting offers or a general feeling that offers were not worth the trouble but the IRS did not like to accept OICs.  In the Richmond district during the 1980s, one revenue officer had the duty of examining offers.  From my observation, he would carefully research all of the finances of the person or business submitting an OIC before saying no.  The taxpayer seeking the OIC received plenty of attention but had a very low chance of the revenue officer accepting the offer.  For the one offer a year that was accepted in the Richmond District, the procedure was cumbersome and led to a document that was then usually ignored in many respects.  I provide some additional background on why the IRS decided to begin accepting OICs in an earlier post.  As TIGTA notes in its report, though without explaining the reason for the significant increase, the number of offers accepted today greatly exceeds the number of offers accepted at the time of the creation of the current system.  The dramatic increase occurred because in the early 1990s the IRS was trying to combat the large uncollected receivables on its books and to counter the impact of the increase in the statute of limitations on collection from six to ten years.  To do this, the IRS decided to begin accepted OICs on a grand scale.  Yet, little has changed since the public display of OICs began.  It is a labor intensive, costly process that leads to public views of OICs by almost no one.  I picture these seven reading rooms as having lots of cobwebs.

TIGTA proposes to change the system of making offers public. It proposes to put them online.  I fully support their suggestion.  I have made a similar proposal previously with respect to the notice of federal tax lien (NFTL) and Tax Court filings.  Both of my suggestions raise significant policy questions about what can, because of identity issues with NFTLs, and should, because of privacy issues with Tax Court filings, be public.  TIGTA does not get into policy considerations of how putting OICs online will change the very private nature of the current nominally public process of displaying OICs.  For the reasons I discuss below, I think it will have little impact on the individuals but may have an impact of our view of the system.


TIGTA’s report first finds a number of flaws in the way the IRS administers the current system. In the normal style of a TIGTA report it reviews how the IRS handles the public inspection of offers and bangs the IRS for its mistakes.  One common mistake concerns whether the OIC gets publicly displayed at all.  TIGTA found a number of OICs that never made it to the allegedly public reading rooms.  I was not surprised by this news and it does point to a significant flaw in a system even if it is a system that no one cared about anyway because of the way it operates.

Another mistake TIGTA found concerned the public display of the OIC in the wrong regional reading room. This type of mistake occurred regularly with the largest example cited involving almost 300 OICs that were intended for display in California which instead were displayed in Colorado.  The more serious mistake concerns the display of un-redacted information.  TIGTA found numerous instances of information being displayed that should not have.  Since almost no one goes to these reading rooms, I do not think that the taxpayers had their information compromised, but the concern is legitimate and correction appropriate.  The most interesting of the flaws TIGTA found concerns the lack of guidance to IRS employees about the public display of OICs.  It cites several examples.  The one I liked the best was the rules employees at the reading rooms imposed upon individuals looking to read the public OICs.  Some let visitors look at the entire year of OIC acceptances, some a few months and one employee limited visitors to looking at the public OICs only if they could give “a specific taxpayer’s name.”  This view changes the nature of public even more than locating the files in seven places around the country.

After going through the obligatory litany of IRS failures, the TIGTA report gets to the meat of the report where it points out that “we believe that the infrequent inspections could be the results of the combination of inconvenient file locations, limited information available in the files, and the unsearchable paper based format.” Yes, Yes and Yes.  In December, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget issued the Open Government Directive.  The directive “instructs agencies to respect the presumption of openness by publishing information online in order to increase accountability and to promote informed participation by the public.”  TIGTA also cites internal IRS directives with a similar bent.  It points to the significant cost of running the little used paper system.  In this section, it uses a cost per viewing that surprises me and I think the viewings are very low.  It says that “it costs approximately $455,000 annually to administer the program, equating to around $15 per offer and more than $100,000 per viewing.”  I interpret that as saying only four OICs were viewed in the average year.  Wow.

The report does not talk about what you would actually view if you drove or flew to Buffalo on a fine winter’s day. It would have been helpful to the discussion to see a sample of a publicly displayed OIC.  It has been a long time since I saw a publicly displayed OIC but, if the IRS properly does the redactions it is instructed to do, I do not think you get to see much more than the taxpayer’s name and the accepted amount of the OIC.  You do not get to see how much was written off, how old the taxes were, whether the fraud or other penalties existed as a part of the forgiven liability, etc.  The dearth of information on the publicly displayed OIC not only protects the privacy of the individual but it protects the IRS from criticism since it is hard to criticize what you do not know.  I think a useful part of the discussion about publicly displaying OICs during the discussion of how should a system change that has been frozen in time for a long period, is what information should be public in order to allow it to make an informed decision on whether an OIC was appropriate. The file contains redacted Forms 7249 and a related redacted transcript(s) of account. Several provisions of the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) address the public display of offers and provide good background for anyone embarking on a quest for information from accepted offer.  Before you go, look at IRM (describing a host of public tax information and IRM for OICs specifically) and  IRM (describing what the IRS displays publicly from the OIC file).   Notice that if you try to take a picture of the offer displayed for public inspection, the on-site IRS employee is directed to call local security or the police.  So bring a pencil and paper if you want to take notes.  If President Truman wanted to make this information public in order to avoid another instance of bad taxpayers getting OICs from bad IRS employees, his idea is totally frustrated by the current amount of information made available.

TIGTA’s suggestion to put the information online deserves attention. The IRS apparently agrees with the suggestion.  Congratulations to them both.  Now, talk about what you are going to put online in the spirit of President Truman and the whole idea anyway.

Tax Court Practice & Procedure Updates from the 2023 ABA Tax Midyear Meeting

On February 10, the Court Practice & Procedure committee of the ABA Tax Section hosted Special Trial Judge Peter Panuthos and Robert Wearing, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (P&A), for a recent developments session moderated by Allison Baker.


Updates from the Tax Court

Judge Panuthos first presented some figures on Tax Court filings in fiscal year 2022. These can be found in the Court’s 2024 budget justification, which Keith blogged about here. The following charts are reproduced in Keith’s post:

  • Tax Court cases filed and closed
  • Cases filed based on jurisdiction type
  • Percentage of paper and electronic petitions
  • Trial sessions held

I recommend reading that post and Carl Smith’s comment on the categorization of cases.

Judge Panuthos noted that 80% of petitions filed were without counsel. 61% of cases were filed under Regular case procedures and 39% under Small case procedures.

Limited Entry of Appearance: Practitioners can now enter a limited appearance any time after a case is set for trial and before the adjournment of the trial session. See Administrative Order 2020-03, issued May 29, 2020, and revised June 19, 2020. The Order can be found on the Court’s Covid-19 Resources page.

Since 2020 the number of limited appearance filings has grown steadily. About 40 were filed in FY 2022. Judge Panuthos noted that the option is available to paid practitioners as well as pro bono counsel. In cases where the taxpayer has some ability to hire counsel but cannot afford briefing, it may be worth offering “unbundled” representation for the pretrial period and/or the trial session only.

Remote Trial Sessions. Judge Panuthos noted that the Notice Setting Case for Trial invites the parties to file a motion for a remote trial session if they desire one. To date, all such motions have been filed by the petitioner; none have been filed by respondent. The Court has been liberally granting these motions.

Public Access. Judge Panuthos responded to Keith’s post about the removal of one computer terminal in the court’s records room. He explained that between June 2022 and February 2023, only 22 people visited the Tax Court to look at records. According to the Court, there has never been an instance of someone needing to wait to use a terminal. The Court’s intent was not to limit the public’s access; rather, they did not believe there was a need for two computers.

I can understand that rationale – computers do require maintenance, as anyone trying to work on a computer that has not had updates run for months (or years) will find out. Villanova has gradually removed nearly all of its clinic workroom computers over the last five years, for the same reason as the Court removed the second public access terminal.

Judge Panuthos stated that the Court continues to consider ways to expand access to the public, but remains concerned about inadvertent disclosure of confidential information.

Tax Court Rule Changes. Judge Panuthos thanked those who submitted comments on the Tax Court’s proposed rules last spring. The comments were given serious consideration. New rules will be coming “soon” – no date was promised.

Quarterly Webinar. The next quarterly Tax Court webinar will be held on March 16. The topic is expert witnesses. The flyer is here. Register at

Tax Trailblazers. The next Tax Trailblazers webinar will feature Larry D. Bailey. View the flyer and sign up here: Engagement & Outreach | United States Tax Court ( The program is February 22 from 7 to 8:15 PM ET.

Clinic & Calendar Call program. Judge Panuthos thanked ABA Tax Section volunteer attorneys and members of the Pro Bono and Tax Clinics committee for their commitment to improving access to justice in the Tax Court. 126 organizations are currently enrolled in the Court’s calendar call program.  

Updates from the Office of Chief Counsel, IRS

Robert Wearing, Deputy Associate Chief Counsel (P&A) presented highlights from the Office of Chief Counsel’s Fiscal Year 2022 Report to the ABA. The report consists of 27 PowerPoint slides providing a wealth of information. The slide deck can be downloaded here.

Mr. Wearing first noted that the Office of Chief Counsel’s statistics do not perfectly match the Court’s; indeed they never have. It is not clear why there are slight differences.

The docketed inventory numbers show that we may be over the coronavirus-caused backlog, or at least the trend is in the right direction.

It is no surprise that the spike in cases following the pandemic mainly came from service centers. Practitioners have complained about the IRS functions prematurely issuing notices of deficiency (and also making premature assessments). This is likely contributing to the high volume of small dollar cases.

Small dollar cases make up the vast majority of cases petitioned, but 83% of the dollars in dispute come from just 420 cases.

Taxpayers were self-represented in 90.5% of cases petitioned during FY22.

I hope that some feedback loop exists, and there are some incentives or consequences in place for executives in charge of programs like AUR, AQC, and correspondence exam, so that the IRS will put resources into improved service center compliance processes. These processes look cheap, but in reality they often shift work downstream to Chief Counsel, the Tax Court, and calendar call programs.

Tax Court’s 2024 Budget Justification 

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas is seeking applications for a Graduate Assistantship to assist with their work on a USDA-funded tax education project for farmers and ranchers. This Taxpayer Education and Asset Protection Initiative, funded through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will provide tax resources for new and underserved farmers and ranchers, as well as educators and tax professionals who work with rural and agricultural clients. Interested attorneys and graduating 3Ls should complete the LL.M. application and indicate their interest in this GA position. Contact or call (479) 575-3706 for additional information.  

As it does each year the Tax Court submitted a budget justification to Congress.  It did so on February 1, 2023, and placed a link to the document on its website.  Like any self-respecting arm of the government it seeks more money for the coming year, 14% more, primarily to cover the increased salary costs resulting from the cost of living adjustments triggered by the recent period of high inflation but also in anticipation of new judges to fill current vacancies and other court needs. 

These budget justification requests contain a lot of data about the Court.  This post seeks to highlight the data I found most interesting.

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The Mission and Expeditious Resolution of Disputes

The report starts off with a statement about its mission:

The mission of the United States Tax Court is to provide a national forum for the expeditious resolution of disputes between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service; for careful consideration of the merits of each case; and to ensure a uniform interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code. The Court is committed to providing taxpayers, most of whom are self-represented, with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the Court, with as little inconvenience and expense as is practicable. The Court is also committed to providing an accessible judicial forum with simplified procedures for disputes involving $50,000 or less. (emphasis added)

It’s a good mission and one the Court has generally done well in meeting except for the expeditious resolution part. 

As we posted last October, those of us at PT do not believe the Court has done a good job of expeditiously resolving its cases.  Based on non-empirical observation of the length of time it takes for the Court to resolve cases such as the discussion in this post, it moves way too slowly, though that statement is not true of all judges.  The report provides no information regarding the timeliness of the outcomes in its cases though it does say on page 21 that “[w]hen a case is tried, the judge generally issues a written opinion within one year.”  Working with my RA, I hope over the coming months to provide a more data based view at the timeliness of outcomes resulting from decisions.  I welcome the assistance of anyone who wants to engage in a data dive into the timeliness of Tax Court outcomes.  Perhaps such an effort will assist the Court in future reports regarding its mission.

One More Special Trial Judge

The report indicates that the Court seeks to add one more Special Trial Judge.  Doing so would raise the number to six still four less than the Court had in the 1980s.  The hiring of a Special Trial Judge is done by the Court and does not require a Presidential appointment.  For this reason I expect this will happen unless Congress completely guts the Court’s budget, something unlikely to happen.

Access to Court Records

There is a section in the report on “Electronic Filing and Case Management System.”  This section describes the Court’s fix to its case sealing problems as though fixing a problem was an enhancement.  It also describes sending letters to pro se petitioners alerting them to Low Income Taxpayer Clinics in their area as though this was a new feature in 2022 and not something the court had done for a decade.

Nonetheless the last sentence of this section provides a small glimmer of hope that the Court might consider its practice of making public documents difficult to access:

After DAWSON’s first full year in production, the Court reviewed technological demands and was able to consolidate the application’s cloud hosting environments, resulting in significant savings. DAWSON is integral to Court operations and there is continual evaluation of how to make engaging with the Court for the public as easy and straightforward as possible, while protecting the data stored in DAWSON. (emphasis added)

I don’t have any great hope for greater electronic access based on this statement but hope springs eternal.  There are ways to make this happen if the Court becomes truly interested.

 Filing Fee

The report, like the report from the previous year, suggests that the Court seeks to raise the filing fee from $60 to $100.  Doing so would make the Tax Court only slightly less a fantastic bargain than it is now.  The Court’s filing fee has been fixed at $60 for decades.  It is one of the greatest bargains around.  The low fee and the Court’s willingness to waive the fee for qualified applicants demonstrates its desire to be available to all petitioners.  Raising the fee, if it happens, makes sense to me.

Practice Fee

The Court explains why it has no plans to impose a periodic practice fee for those authorized to practice before it.

Judicial Conference

The report indicates that it will not have a judicial conference this year.  It has not had one since 2018 due in large part to Covid.  I anticipate it will do something big in 2024 to celebrate its 100th anniversary.  One of the best parts of the 2018 conference occurred for me when Les and I were told that we were considered by the Court to be part of the press.  I don’t really think of myself that way but it was fun to hear that the Court did.

Caseload information

The report provides the following charts on the Court’s cases.  The first chart shows the number of cases filed in each of the most recent years:

The second chart shows the types of cases filed in FY 2022:

The third chart shows the number of electronic versus paper petitions filed in FY 2022:

The fourth chart shows the number of trial calendars and type – remote version in person.  Note that for FY 2022 remote sessions outnumber those held in person.  It will be interesting to see if that trend holds in FY 2023 or if the Tax Court goes back on the road more.  Remote motions sessions, probably not counted here, remain a terrific innovation.

The fifth chart shows the continued decline in number of cases tried and opinions issued.  This may be the lowest number of opinions ever issued by the Tax Court.  There is a chart in an article by Caitlin Hird and me, linked through the last sentence of this post, showing the number of trials in prior years.

This is just an overview of the report.  These annual reports provide a rich source of data about the Court and are worth reading if you want to better understand how it works.

Innocent Spouse Bench Opinion – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I noted that Judge Holmes issued a bench opinion in the case of Bacigalupi v. Commissioner, Dk. No. 20480-21.  I also noted that the bench opinion itself caught my eye because of the handwritten edits on the opinion.  Between the time the judge read the opinion into the record prior to the close of the trial calendar in San Francisco on September 19, 2022, and the entering of the order making the bench opinion public in written form, the judge made the type of editorial corrections one expects occurs in the writing of any opinion but which we do not have the opportunity to view.  The opinion made me start thinking about bench opinions again.  Since we have not posted about them for some time I wanted to separately address that aspect of this case.


We have written about the process of bench opinions here and their non-precedential effect here.  Building on the blog post about this process, I wrote a longer article on bench opinions published in the Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure in 2015 available here. I have not done the work to count the number of bench opinions issued by the Court since 2015 to see if the practice has changed at all in the past several years.

The rules generally make it tough for the judges to issue bench opinions because they must do so within a very short time frame.  These opinions get their name from the fact that the judge issuing such an opinion literally sits on the bench and reads the opinion into the record.  In many instances the judge does so to a courtroom populated only by the trial clerk and the court reporter.  Some judges reach out to the parties before reading the opinion causing one or both of the parties to attend the reading.

This process has been around for 40 years.  Code Sec. 7459 provides in part:

(a) Requirement. —A report upon any proceeding instituted before the Tax Court and a decision thereon shall be made as quickly as practicable. The decision shall be made by a judge, in accordance with the report of the Tax Court, and such decision so made shall, when entered, be the decision of the Tax Court.
(b) Inclusion of findings of fact or opinions in report.—It shall be the duty of the Tax Court and of each division to include in its report upon any proceeding its findings of fact or opinion or memorandum opinion. The Tax Court shall report in writing all its findings of fact, opinions, and memorandum opinions. Subject to such conditions as the Tax Court may, by rule provide, the requirements of this subsection and of section 7460 are met if findings of fact or opinion are stated orally and recorded in the transcript of the proceedings.

The last sentence of subsection (b) provides the foundation for bench opinions and limits the ability of the court to make oral findings both on rules the Tax Court might adopt and on Code Sec. 7460. The language in the last sentence of subsection (b) concerning oral findings was enacted in 1982.

Tax Court Rule 152, entitled Oral Findings of Fact or Opinion, provides the “rule” governing bench opinions. It states:

(a) General. Except in actions for declaratory judgment or for disclosure (see Titles XXI and XXII), the Judge, or the Special Trial Judge in any case in which the Special Trial Judge is authorized to make the decision of the Court pursuant to Code section 7436(c) or 7443A(b)(2) , (3), (4), or (5), and (c), may, in the exercise of discretion, orally state the findings of fact or opinion if the Judge or Special Trial Judge is satisfied as to the factual conclusions to be reached in the case and that the law to be applied thereto is clear.

(b) Transcript. Oral findings of fact or opinion shall be recorded in the transcript of the hearing or trial. The pages of the transcript that contain such findings of fact or opinion (or a written summary thereof) shall be served by the Clerk upon all parties.

(c) Nonprecedential Effect. Opinions stated orally in accordance with paragraph (a) of this Rule shall not be relied upon as precedent, except as may be relevant for purposes of establishing the law of the case, res judicata, collateral estoppel, or other similar doctrine.

The requirement that the judge issue the bench opinion before the end of the trial session giving rise to the bench opinion appears to stem from the implicit requirement in Rule 152(b) relating to the recording of the bench opinion in the transcript of the hearing or trial.  The Court views the hearing or trial concluded when the trial session ends although it is possible to hold a case open past the trial session under certain circumstances.  Holding the trial session open does not appear to apply to issuing bench opinions under the current interpretation of the Rule.

One of the reasons for the creation of the Tax Court was the desire to create a uniform body of federal tax decisional law.  Bench opinions do not go through the same review process in the Chief Judge’s office prior to issuance that other Tax Court opinions do.  The review process seeks to make the decisions uniform as well as to decide which opinions should be issued as precedential.  The goal of uniformity must be considered alongside the goal of rendering the opinions as quickly as possible. 

As discussed in our recent editorial on the speed of Tax Court opinions, I think that Tax Court decision process should speed up.  I am not convinced that uniformity would necessarily suffer from greater speed but acknowledge it as a concern.  The economic hardship aspect of the Bacigalupi shows what appears to be a lack of uniformity in the Tax Court on this issue whether the opinion is reviewed or not.


In order to speed up outcomes in Tax Court cases one way would be to increase the number of bench opinions.  One way to increase that number would be to make it easier for the judges to render such opinions by allowing them to hold open the record of the case for a brief period of time after the trial calendar.  As the Court looks for ways to perhaps move cases more quickly, it might look at the bench opinion process as one opportunity for accomplishing that goal.

“The Dark Net? We OWN the Dark Net.” -Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner, ABA Tax Section Meeting

Charles Rettig, a tall white man with short white hair, wearing a dark suit, lapel pin, and red tie, speaking from a podium before a blue backdrop.

Today’s post by guest blogger Karen Lapekas is a thoughtful reflection on Commissioner Rettig’s remarks given at the ABA Tax Section meeting last week.  I was not at the meeting – I had just returned from international travel and was hunkering down to make sure I did not have COVID – so I am relying on this description, which notes that the Commissioner “called out” tax attorneys for not defending the IRS when politicians and commentators fear-monger about the $80 billion funding in the Inflation Reduction Act.  Now, I find this a very strange reaction.  The Tax Section has written and testified before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of increased IRS funding for as long as I can remember.  Historically and definitely during the recent funding debate, members of the Section have written letters individually, spoken to the media, and spoken to members of Congress and their staff, explaining what happens to taxpayers when the IRS doesn’t get sufficient funding. And here at PT Les, in The Fear Over IRS Funding, called out politicians using inflamed rhetoric to describe the Inflation Reduction Act.

Since 2006, I have been calling for additional funding for the IRS and consistently testified before the Appropriations and tax-writing committees of Congress about this issue.  (See page 442-457 of my 2006 Annual Report to Congress here; it’s also worth reading my 2013 Most Serious Problem on IRS lack of funding.)  Unlike the enforcement-driven debate today, the case I made to Congress was that funding the IRS is a constituent service.  The IRS will do whatever job it is given; even with inadequate funding it will still plow forward – but in that plowing forward, with inadequate funding core services such as answering the phones and core taxpayer rights such as providing prompt appeals hearings and correct, clear, informative notices go by the wayside.  Looked at from that perspective, adequate funding of the IRS – whether for service or compliance activities or information technology – is something every elected official should desire.

So why is this not the case?  First, the IRS collects taxes and has awesome powers to do so.  As a matter of strategy (overrated and even misguided, I think) it believes that the more people fear being audited or face enforced collection, the more they will comply with the law.  So it’s not surprising that people react with fear when they hear the IRS will get more funding.  Second, people tend to remember negative things rather than positive things.  Thus, although the IRS pulled off a near-miracle during COVID distributing Economic Impact Payments, the Advance Child Tax Credit, and other pandemic relief provisions, when asked to think about the IRS, taxpayers are more likely to remember the Tea Party 501(c)(4) debacle of a few years ago or their own negative interaction with the IRS.   Third, in the last three decades the geographic presence of IRS employees in most of the United States has all but vanished.  Taxpayers no longer know IRS employees who are members of their religious organizations or PTAs or gyms.  This makes it easier to see IRS employees as nameless and faceless automatons.

These three tendencies make the IRS an easy target.  How to combat this?  Well, “combat” is not the right approach – that just brings on more yelling.  Being defensive doesn’t help; complaining that people aren’t appreciative enough of all the IRS’s good work isn’t going to win converts either.  I personally agree with Ms. Lapekas that we tax lawyers need to speak up, but we should speak as taxpayers, not tax lawyers.  We should take every opportunity we can to talk to our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues about why taxes matter, why tax compliance matters, and then, and only then, why we need a tax agency that functions well.  Let’s not make the conversation about the IRS – that just triggers negative reactions.  Instead, let’s make the funding conversation about achieving a fair and just tax system, something no one will say they don’t want.  — Nina

Chills ran down my spine when IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, said these words about the IRS to a room crowded with hundreds of tax attorneys.

They weren’t chills because I feared an overgrown IRS, but because I hadn’t before truly appreciated how important its work was, how thankful I am for it. Its work is important not only for the collection of 96% of the funds that support this country, but for the work it does in protecting and serving the individuals that call it home.

Yes, the IRS protects and serves. It fights fraud, terrorism, money-laundering, child exploitation, and human trafficking (to name just a few things). It’s in everyone’s best interest to support it, fund it, and work to improve it. And before you dismiss me as a brainwashed civil servant, know that I make a living fighting against the IRS. My career is finding the IRS’s faults and mistakes and exposing them. I pay my bills by fighting the IRS’s wrongs. Am I proud of my work? Hell yes. But what makes me even more proud? Living in a country where it’s possible.

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Chuck (the name he goes by, he reminded us) reminded us that the IRS has tracked and helped seize Russian oligarch’s yachts around the world, took control of Al Qaeda and Hamas websites and diverted donations from those sites to victims of terrorism, and took down the largest child pornography website in the world. The child porn website takedown resulted in the arrest of 337 users within the United States alone.

When Chuck concluded his speech (which went over-time, as usual), I tried to talk to other attorneys about it. Two of them said they didn’t attend the speech because they’d heard him speak many times before and thus (said with a roll of their eyes), had heard his same stories at least twice that many. Another attorney who did attend mentioned that the Commissioner was a great orator, but dismissed the speech as a rah-rah campaign for the IRS. (No, Mr. Rettig is not eligible for re-appointment and by his account is looking forward to returning to his humble public-school, immigrant-raised, military supporting, beginnings in Los Angeles).

Something was different about this speech though. The Commissioner called us out. He criticized us tax practitioners. Repeatedly. Why? Because as the media has excoriated the IRS’s recent $80 billion funding boost and spread fake news about 87,000 new gun-toting agents, we said nothing. Worse, some practitioners rode the media frenzy for personal gain from the hype to spew false information and feed the fire.  Doing so has literally caused increased death threats against IRS employees and put them in harm’s way.  It has certainly eroded the country’s confidence in the second-most important government agency in the United States (the first being the military, Chuck reminded us).

When public confidence in the IRS wanes (even further), voluntary tax compliance wanes. And that hurts all of us.

Why would the Commissioner of the IRS express disappointment in a room full of tax attorneys? Why would he call on private practitioners to speak out IN SUPPORT OF the IRS? We make a living fighting it, after all.

He didn’t say. But I think I know why.

Because we know the truth.

When everyone was seemingly inflamed by the $80 billion infusion into the IRS, there was a group that largely wasn’t. It was tax attorneys. From the most Trump-supporting, die-hard Republicans to the snow-flakiest Democrats; we supported it. All the tax attorneys I know said the same thing about the increased IRS budget. They agreed, “It’s about damn time.”

We didn’t say this publicly, of course. Because if we speak out in support of the IRS our clients would think we wouldn’t put up a bull-dog fight against it. Our clients would be wrong if they thought this. But we fear losing them, nonetheless.

We support increased funding to the IRS because fighting the IRS works. It works because, when the IRS operates properly, taxpayers can win. Yes, tax administration can (and should) be improved. But there are checks and balances in place, opportunities for appeals, IRS employees who care about the right answer (even to the detriment of the government), and laws in place to protect us. If you’re not familiar with tax procedure and if you have not actually fought (and won) countless disputes with the IRS, you wouldn’t know this. You wouldn’t know how much easier it is to achieve “justice” in a fight with the IRS than it is against a state tax, or other government, agency.

When the IRS can answer its phones, it helps taxpayers solve problems. When the IRS has resources to improve its technology and public outreach, it can inform and protect the public against scams. If the IRS is well-funded, it can reach the poor, the elderly, non-English speakers, and members of the military, before financial predators can.

Yes, the Commissioner’s speech was full of his same old stories. We heard ad nauseum about his love for his wife (a refugee from Vietnam, lest anyone forget), his support for the military (even—no, especially—when his son was deployed), and his admiration for his immigrant in-laws (who have notably thrived in this country, despite not speaking English). But these stories are only “old” if you’re sick of hearing about the “American Dream.” I’m not sick of it. I hope I never tire of hearing it. I love hearing that the American Dream is alive and well.

But it’s only alive and well because we have people like “Chuck” at the helm of the IRS. Because we can speak out against the IRS and it listens, and cares. (It really does). The American Dream is alive and well because the IRS Commissioner is (justifiably) so confident in the IRS that he can call out a room full of private tax attorneys and criticize them for their silence when the IRS was under attack.

His rebuke was well-placed.