National Taxpayer Advocate Recommends Stronger Safeguards for Conservation Deduction

The passage of last year’s Taxpayer First Act represented a rare bipartisan accomplishment in Washington. The bill made significant steps forward in commonsense reforms to the IRS, including strengthening taxpayers’ right to appeal and modernization efforts that are long past due.

It also reflected a nonpartisan consensus that the IRS should do a better job fulfilling its mission, to: “provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.”

As the nation’s oldest taxpayer group, NTU has documented when the IRS has fallen short of these goals. Recently, the agency’s harassment of taxpayers claiming the conservation easement charitable deduction has all the tell-tale signs of an overtly abusive campaign. In its 2019 report released last month, the IRS’s own National Taxpayer Advocate cited the IRS’s treatment of these taxpayers as one that potentially impacted three core taxpayers’ rights as delineated in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights: the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, the right to appeal an IRS decision and the right to a fair and just tax system.

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