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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) tax liens. GAO noted that: (1) although IRS does not investigate individual taxpayer complaints, taxpayers can contact the IRS Ombudsman who administers the IRS Problem Resolution Program; (2) the Ombudsman can give the taxpayer relief through administrative injunctions in hardship cases; (3) although the authorizing legislation does not clearly define hardship, IRS regulations and guidance attempt to clarify when hardships exist; (4) tax liens can be removed through administrative appeals in cases of error and certificates of nonattachment, release, discharge, and subordination; and (5) proposed legislation would give IRS specific authority to remove a notice of lien, but not the lien itself, in cases where it would be in the best interest of both the taxpayer and the government.

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