The IRS has rules that they must follow. There is the Internal Revenue Code. That is the law and whether they like it or not, they must follow it. They also have the Internal Revenue Manual which they follow 100% of the time as long as they like what it says. When they do not like what it says, they follow it 0% of the time. The Manual contains their rules and guidelines, but it is this not the law, meaning taxpayers are not bound by it. It is my job as a Tax Attorney to hold their feet to the fire and make sure that they comply with the law and follow their own procedures.
The key to dealing with the IRS is to get someone’s ear. That is someone that you can talk to that has authority to make a decision. The 1-800 number generally yields very limited results. A Tax Practitioner must know the rules and know how to find the person who can solve a problem.
As a general rule, individuals at the IRS are nice people. Of course, as in any business or profession, there are good people that are easy to deal with and bad people that are nasty and difficult. Most of them just want to make an agreement so that they can close their file. They know that when I send them my Power of Attorney, I am just working to resolve the issues and trying to make a deal that is in the taxpayer’s and the IRS’s best interests.