Chapter 4: The Assessment Process

Assessing Your Tax Assessment

By Seth Maynard

The government can claim taxes from you after the pertinent agency figures out how much you owe. This process is called an assessment and, in the United States of America, is carried out by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.). The agency is authorized to perform this function under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 6203 and Treasury Regulation Section 301.6203-1.

Under section 6322 of the IRC, a person owes taxes from the time the assessment is made until it has been paid for or becomes unenforceable as it lapses over time. An assessment must therefore be made first. Form 23C, the Summary Record of Assessment, must be signed by the assessment officer and the supporting record is required to possess the following: the taxpayer’s name, the date of the assessment, the kind of tax being imposed, the period of tax collection under which the assessment was made, and the amount owed.

This means that Form 23C must be present. Without it, an assessment can be said to have not been made. No assessment – no tax liability. Furthermore, the supporting document must be made at or near the time the form was signed. Also, the supporting document must reference the Summary Assessment Record number. The Individual Master File transcript cannot be considered a support document as this is not accomplished around the time the Form 23C was signed. A Certificate of Assessments and Payments likewise fails in this respect due to the same reasons. Supporting documents must be present for the assessment to be valid.

The IRS cannot assess you for amounts that were assumed unpaid based on an estimate of your income tax. You are taxed according to your documented income, not upon an estimation of it. It also follows, therefore, that interest assessed for unpaid amounts of estimated income tax is not valid. Interest on an invalid debt is, of course, invalid.

You should check the kind of taxes being levied upon you. For example, a “1040” tax is levied against most individuals. There is no “1040” tax. There are many others with names: income, employment, etc., but a “1040” tax type is an illegal tax assessment. The tax assessment should be invalid.

These pieces of information regarding your tax assessment may be made available to you under the Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.), a federal law that allows disclosure of information about himself to the person requesting it. If you are unsure how to go about filing an F.O.I.A. request, Michael S. Ioane’s “Boston Tea Party” has a chapter explaining the steps for filing one. The book also contains sample letters and templates to help make sure that you do these correctly.

If you assess your tax assessment to be questionable, it would be to your advantage to go through chapter 4 of Mr. Ioane’s book. Did you know that if a tax assessment officer was not properly appointed, the assessment he made becomes invalid? Read the book and discover more!