The limits of helpfulness at the IRS

As its customer service budget has shrunk in recent years, the IRS has pushed hard to get people to go online with tax questions.

Online resources do not take the place of a phone conversation with a tax compliance professional. But the IRS website,, does generally have a lot of information.

Is the information there reliable?

You’d think it would be, since it’s an official IRS website. Recently, however, a division of the IRS issued an internal memo about the status of this information. The memo was from the Small Business/Self Employed Division (SE/SE) and went to Field Examination Area Directors.

In the memo, the SB/SE stated that FAQs and other information on that has not appeared in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) are not to be considered legal authority.

To be sure, is an official source of information. It contains, for example, useful FAQs about the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The site also has detailed informational guides on other aspects of the taxation of foreign income.

But the recent IRS memo is saying that is not as official as the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

With a tax code that is notoriously complex and changes frequently, this limitation is a real problem. After all, many of the helpful FAQS and other user-focused information on don’t appear in the formal Internal Revenue Bulletin. can still be a source of information. If you have serious compliance or enforcement questions, however, there is no substitute for the advice of a skilled tax attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Our Team

Contact Us to Get Started Today

Located in the Washington, D.C area, we serve clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia, as well as across the country and overseas. For a free initial consultation, call 202-381-1261 or complete our brief online form.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Six Convenient Office Locations in and around the DC Metropolitan Area

Washington, D.C.
1050 Connecticut Ave NW #500
Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: 202-618-1873
Fax: 888-235-8405
Washington Law Office Map

Columbia Office
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 202-618-1873
Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Columbia Law Office Map

Annapolis Office
839 Bestgate Road
Suite 400
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 202-618-1873
Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Annapolis Law Office Map

Fairfax Office
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Suite 600
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: 202-618-1873
Phone: 703-988-4817
Fax: 888-235-8405
Fairfax Law Office Map

Rockville Office
199 E. Montgomery Avenue
Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 202-618-1873
Phone: 240-599-5009
Fax: 888-235-8405
Rockville Law Office Map

Baltimore Office
400 East Pratt Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 202-618-1873
Phone: 443-743-3381
Fax: 888-235-8405
Baltimore Law Office Map