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    IRS Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA)

    In 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, commonly referred to as FOIA, was enacted. This act gives individuals the rights to access federal records or information from federal government agencies. FOIA exists due to the belief that the federal government belongs to the people, therefore the federal governments information should belong to the people. There are similar rules with the NYS Department of Taxation.

    In 1996, FOIA was amended so that federal agencies were required to make their records available to citizens online. Along with the OPEN Government Act of 2007, FOIA helps to promote government transparency.

    What is avilable?

    There is tax information available to taxpayers without a FOIA request, including:

    • 1. Copy of a tax return
    • 2. IRS and State account transcripts
    • 3. CAF client listing requests
    • 4. Tax Forms and Publications
    • 5. Tax-exempt and political organization returns

    A FOIA request with the IRS or State is done so that a taxpayer can see the information the IRS has about them on file. The documents from this request can be used by an experienced tax attorney to explain how, why, and when a taxpayer’s problems with the IRS started. Documents provided by a FOIA request shows the information the IRS used to assess tax liabilities, penalties, and interest.

    FOIA Process

    Unfortunately, FOIA requests are complex and it is encouraged that individuals work with an experienced tax attorney to file one. Some records may only be available by a written request. To know if the information you are requesting is available by written request only, the IRS provides a FOIA Guide.

    A FOIA request is a good way for a taxpayer and their NYS tax attorney to understand why the IRS or State acted as they did or imposed penalties as they did. By analyzing the documents retrieved, a better understand of the options available to provide a solution to their tax problem.

    Attorney Timothy Hart

    Timothy S Hart, the founding partner of the tax law firm of Timothy S. Hart Law Group, P.C. is both a New York Tax Lawyer & Certified Public Accountant. His area of expertise includes innovative solutions to solve your Internal Revenue Service and New York State tax problems, including tax settlements through the Federal and New York State offer in compromise programs, filing unfiled tax returns, voluntary disclosures, tax audits, and criminal investigations. [ Attorney Bio ]