[Readings] A Tax Break for Hostages | Harper's Magazine

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[Readings]

A Tax Break for Hostages

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From an Internal Revenue Service memorandum distributed to regional and assistant commissioners.

date: January 4, 1989
subject: Taxpayers Taken Hostage in Terrorist Action

The Service has had procedures for some time to deal with cases in which a taxpayer has been reported killed in terrorist action (KITA).
It has become obvious that the taking of hostages in terrorist actions must be considered in a similar light, and that a permanent program is necessary. A policy statement is currently in clearance specifying that, except in egregious circumstances, the Service will take no enforcement action during the period a hostage is held captive and for a yet-to-be-determined period of time thereafter.

The International Division has agreed to monitor hostage accounts, but to streamline this process and ensure adequate safeguards, we requested program changes to identify these taxpayers and prevent enforcement action.

In January 1989, International will input an “HSTG” indicator on all known hostage cases. This will suppress the issuance of enforcement-related notices and Taxpayer Delinquency Investigations (TDIs).

In April 1989, the “HSTG” indicator will be enhanced to suppress all balance-due activity, including the issuance of Taxpayer Delinquent Accounts (TDAs) and the reactivation of Currently Not Collectible cases.

In summary, the above restrictions will prevent issuance of notices, TDAs, and TDIs. Any account that has already progressed into TDA or TDI status must be suspended manually.


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