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IRS warns taxpayers not to rely on its own website

Georgia taxpayers may think that they can depend on the official website, but the Internal Revenue Service itself has stated that this may not always be the case. Instead, taxpayers need to refer to official publications. Content like frequently asked question lists may appear on the IRS website, but they don't constitute law, and following them could place people in danger of noncompliance.

Ths IRS has distributed a memorandum that told tax examiners that they needed to adhere to the information and guidelines in the formal Internal Revenue Bulletin. In the case that the IRS website publishes information that isn't in the IRB, it lacks legal authority.

To make things more confusing, some information may be found in both places and therefore be valid. In addition, much of the IRS website's data is useful to taxpayers and filing professionals. Observers point to similarities between this situation and the long-standing idea that people who talked to IRS staff employees over the phone didn't always get correct advice. The fact that the memorandum concerning discrepancies between the IRB and originated with the agency's Small Business/Self Employed Division may indicate that these classes of taxpayers need to be particularly careful about following the law.

Failing to pay taxes properly can place businesses and individuals in serious jeopardy. In addition to facing audits, those who come up short could be subjected to tax liens or other penalties imposed by the IRS. An attorney with experience may be able to prevent clients from these types of issues.

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