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Taxpayer Cannot Avoid IRS Mail And Later Challenge Tax Liability

Anytime a taxpayer is contacted by the Internal Revenue service, the taxpayer should take notice. The failure to timely respond or even respond at all can have significant consequences for a taxpayer. One taxpayer found this out the hard way after he avoided various letters sent to him by the IRS.

Taxpayer Fails To Respond to IRS Letters and Notice of Deficiency

Eric Onyango timely filed his 2006 tax returns and reported a total tax of $1,606. In 2008, Mr. Onyango filed an amended tax return for 2006 and reported a total tax liability of $3,774. The Internal Revenue Service received and processed the amended return. The IRS sent a notice of deficiency to the Mr. Onyango for his taxable years 2006 and 2007. Sometime after, Mr. Onyango submitted a second amended tax return for 2006. The second amended tax return increased Mr. Onyango’s tax liability to $11,255 for 2006.

Thereafter, an IRS appeals officer contacted Mr. Onyango by letter to discuss the adjustments to his 2006 tax return and scheduled a meeting. Mr. Onyango did not show. In spring or early summer of 2010, the IRS appeals officer sent another letter to Mr. Onyango’s apartment address, which was his legal residence. The letter stated that if Mr. Onyango “did not contact the Appeals officer within 20 days, a notice of deficiency would be issued to him for his taxable years 2006 and 2007.”

In August 2010, the IRS issued a notice of deficiency for the tax years 2006 and 2007. The notice was sent to his apartment by certified mail, return receipt requested. Mr. Onyango did not timely file a petition related to the 2006 through 2007 deficiency notice. The postal service tried several times to deliver the letter to Mr. Onyango’s apartment and left notices. Mr. Onyango apparently did not check his mailbox and did not find the notices until around October or early November 2010.

Apparently from August through December 2010, Mr. Onyango spent only about 30 to 40% of the time at his apartment and the rest with friends. Mr. Onyango did not check his mail on a regular basis and disregarded or rarely opened any mail that he received from the postal service.

In May 2011, the IRS issued a notice of intent to levy against Mr. Onyango and sent a notice of right to a hearing. In June 2011, Mr. Onyango sent a request for hearing to the IRS. After a telephonic hearing, the IRS sustained the notice of intent to levy. Thereafter, the IRS issued a notice of a Federal tax lien. Mr. Onyango requested a hearing, which resulted in the appeals office sustaining the tax lien filing. Mr. Onyango petitioned the U.S. Tax Court to dispute his underlying tax liability for his taxable year 2006. levy