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IRS Settlement Officer Properly Verified Written Penalty Approval (Blackburn, TC) – Tax & Accounting Blog

An IRS settlement officer (SO) properly upheld a trust fund recovery penalty assessed against an individual. Form 4183, Recommendation re: Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Assessment, sufficiently verified the supervisor’s written penalty approval.

Written Penalty Approval

First, the individual argued that the IRS submitted a defective penalty approval form. The Form 4183, submitted by the IRS contained only a printed name in the supervisor’s signature block. Therefore, it did not contain the supervisor’s “signature.” Then, the individual claimed that the SO’s verification required a factual analysis of the supervisor’s thought process and a determination that the process was “meaningful.” However, the IRS responded that the supervisor’s printed name was a sufficient “signature” to comply with the statute.

Verifying Administrative Steps

During a Collection Due Process hearing, a SO properly verifies assessments when the administrative record reflects compliance with administrative procedures. Generally, an unsigned Form 4340, Certificate of Assessments and Payments, is presumptive proof that a Summary Record of Assessment was validly executed and certified. Moreover, it is not an abuse of discretion for an SO to rely on Form 4340 when a taxpayer fails to show any irregularity in the assessment procedure that would raise a question about the assessment’s validity. Additionally, an SO may rely on a computer printout of the taxpayer’s transcript of account to verify the taxpayer’s tax liability and the assessment of tax.

Actual Signature Not Required

Similarly, Form 4183 provides a mechanism to demonstrate supervisory approval. Clearly, the Form 4183 did not have an actual written signature. However, the form did show that the revenue officer’s immediate supervisor approved assessing the trust fund recovery penalty. Accordingly, a record of the required prior approval was present whether or not such approval was required before the TFRP assessment.

S.T. Blackburn, Dec. 61,154

Other References:

Code Sec. 6751

CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶40,295.10

Tax Research Consultant

CCH Reference – TRC PENALTY: 3,350

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Author: CCHTaxGroup

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