|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
March 10, 1998
Washington, D.C. – Members of the Reform Party from 25 states are actively lobbying members of the U.S. Senate to support a provision authored by U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) to shift the burden of proof in a civil tax case from a taxpayer to the Internal Revenue Service. The provision was included in an IRS-reform bill passed by the House last fall. The Senate is currently considering its own version of the bill.
The effort is being organized by Dale Barlow, events coordinator for the Oklahoma Reform Party and 1997 Vice Chair of the Reform Party's National Organizing Committee. Last month Barlow reached out to Reform Party members across the country, urging them to contact Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R–MS) and their own Senators in support of the Traficant provision. To date, Reform Party members from 25 states have responded. Among those Reform Party members who have responded are Frank Sims, Delaware state chair; Jackie Newkirk, Oklahoma state chair; and Paul Truax, Texas state chair.
Under the Traficant provision, a taxpayer must cooperate and produce documentation during any administrative proceeding leading up to a civil trial. If a federal tax court judge determines that a taxpayer has been cooperative, then the burden of proof would be on the IRS once the case goes to court. Traficant has championed the initiative for more than 13 years. It was included as a key provision of the IRS reform bill passed by the House last fall.
Earlier this month, Traficant continued his IRS reform campaign by introducing legislation to require the IRS to get judicial consent prior to seizing any taxpayer property. The bill also requires the IRS to provide a 15-day notice before seizing any property. Traficant hopes to have his seizure bill inserted in the Senate IRS reform legislation, in addition to his burden of proof provision.
A number of Traficant-authored IRS reform initiatives have been enacted into law in recent years. These include a mandatory taxpayer sensitivity training program for IRS agents, a provision to make it easier for taxpayers to sue the IRS for willful misconduct, and increasing the penalty for IRS misconduct from $100,000 to $1 million.
The chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Rep. Bill Archer (R–TX), has expressed support for keeping the Traficant burden of proof and property seizure language in the final version of the IRS reform bill.2009