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Can I sue the IRS for harassment? An IRS agent questioned my parenting skills during an audit. I feared retaliation.

Hermosa Beach, CA |

I was involved in a 940/941 audit roughly a year ago. I met with the IRS agent and my accountant for our initial meeting. The agent reviewed my corporate bank statements and it was clear that I have been transferring my "salary" and had not been paying payroll tax. She also noted that I had been using my account for various distributions. The agent clarified that these would also be considered "salary". I was pleased to be getting the clarification and was prepared to make things right. At this point, the agent began to criticize the distributions and said comment such as "I hope you are not teaching your children these poor eating habits" in response to my purchases made a fast food locations. She commented that a popular smoothie location was "a better choice".

Attorney Answers 3

  1. I agree that this is unprofessional behavior. Was there retaliation? Did she disallow deductions because of what you ate, etc? I understand feeling like you are being targeted or retaliated against, but you haven't specified how you feel that she treated you differently as far as the deductions are concerned, than she would any other taxpayer. If she went through the questions, and you didn't meet the requirements regardless of your food choice, your argument is merely that she was unprofessional in doing her job. You can always ask to speak with her manager, and her manager might say something. The reality is, there is no reason for those statements. They don't move the ball forward for the IRS.

    Christopher Larson

  2. You can sue anyone for anything, but there's no harassment here, and you haven't noted experiencing any damages.

    Yes, it was definitely inappropriate for the agent to comment on your eating choices, but it's not grounds for a lawsuit, and you haven't provided any facts about any retaliation.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

  3. Yes, I agree / not actionable. But after audit is done, and you are back in compliance, you can certainly make a respectful complaint to the auditor's manager.

    Please note that this is not legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Always consult with a competent tax professional to discuss your specific situation!

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