Archive for November, 2010

EO Tax Journal 2010-175

Paul Streckfus, November 30, 2010 at 8:57 am

Last week I sent out the EO Subject Matter Directory (Email Update 2010-174) and, before that, the EO Division roster (Email Update 2010-171). In response, I got this missive from an IRS employee:

“Don’t cite my name (just call me T), but your information is outdated. Several of the individuals listed are managers and do not answer questions and others no longer work in EO.”

My response: The roster information is based on a listing of EO Division personnel dated September 7, 2010, sent to me by the IRS in response to a FOIA request. If managers do not answer questions, this is a new development. Unfortunately, my efforts this year to get information from Rob Choi about how the IRS handles practitioner phone calls has been met with overwhelming silence. As far as I can tell, there is no policy. Some folks return phone calls, some don’t. I say call and hope for the best.

Today I’m sending out phone numbers of EO field personnel. Here I’ll agree with T that some percentage of the information is outdated. Getting information out of the IRS about personnel in Determinations and Examinations is very difficult. My choice is to publish nothing or publish what I have. Here I believe something is better than nothing, but don’t expect 100% accuracy — maybe 80% accuracy is what I have. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-174

Paul Streckfus, November 23, 2010 at 8:01 am

Even though the IRS won’t confirm whether or how it will respond to phone calls, the EO Subject Matter Directory is a valuable resource, but those of us who have worked at the IRS know that some practitioners abuse the opportunities presented. Here are six rules of the road that everyone should abide by. Observing these rules might make the IRS folks more willing to return phone calls:

One, don’t call if you haven’t done your homework. It is not the IRS’ job to explain the basic intricacies of a Code section and the accompanying regulations.

Two, don’t expect to get definitive answers. If you’re lucky, someone at the IRS will make suggestions as to how you might proceed or warn you off certain approaches.

Three, do not later tell revenue agents someone at the IRS National Office has approved a course of conduct or a transaction during a telephone call. If you need a ruling, spend the $10,000.

Four, do not shop around among tax law specialists for a better opinion. The folks at the IRS usually become aware of someone going down their phone list.

Five, limit your phone calls. Calling more than once a month is probably too much.

Six, don’t push your weight around if you are a big shot as this often backfires either immediately or in the long run. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-173

Paul Streckfus, November 22, 2010 at 8:34 am

1 – More on EO Compliance

2 – Some of This Stuff You Just Can’t Make Up — They Oughta Make a Movie

The St. Petersburg Times should get a Pulitzer Prize for its continuing investigation of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. It’s really an unbelievable story — maybe not on a par with Bernie Madoff, but close, and the chutzpah — out of this world. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-172

Paul Streckfus, November 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

1 – More on EO Compliance

2 – Report from the Director, EO Examinations

We’ve been discussing or learning about EO audits in these pages recently. We had Peter Lorenzetti’s remarks (Email Update 2010-161), Ann Batlle and Marc Owens’ remarks (Email Update 2010-163), and this week’s discussion (Email Updates 2010-170 and 171), with more commentary today.

With all of this, it seems very appropriate that we should hear from Nan Downing, Director of EO Examinations. Her November 18 remarks at the Western Conference on Tax-Exempt Organizations are reprinted below. If you have suggestions for her, I’m sure she’d be glad to hear from you at

I think we all have the same objective in these discussions. We all want an EO sector that we can be proud of, one where good guys thrive and bad guys are sent packing, one where charitable beneficiaries come first, one where those who are mission-directed are encouraged and those who are selfishly-directed are discouraged. Did I miss anything? Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-171

Paul Streckfus, November 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

1 – More on EO Compliance

2 – IRS Phone Numbers

Over the next few days, I will be sending out more IRS phone numbers and email addresses, but today I’m resending the EO Division roster that I emailed on October 20. I neglected to add email addresses to go with the phone numbers, so consider this a correction. I’ve also added EO Division Counsel who are located in Washington. Continue…