Given the size and complexity of today’s tax code, avoiding disputes with the IRS can be difficult. Even a carefully run business can inadvertently run afoul of a new rule, a revised procedure, or updated guidance.
In recent years, however, some taxpayers dealing with IRS notices or enforcement actions have begun to use the complexity of federal law in their own defense, claiming the IRS itself failed to follow proper procedures when drafting regulations. In several cases, federal courts have agreed with the taxpayers, calling into question the validity of a growing number of IRS rules.
Although these cases involve a variety of tax issues, they have a common element: the taxpayers successfully sued the IRS for violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a 1940s-era law designed to spell out acceptable rulemaking processes for the many new executive branch agencies that were created during the New Deal and World War II. (more…)