Internal Revenue Service District Director Carol Fay has a challenge for former Utah Attorney General Phil L. Hansen: Let the IRS tell its side.
Last week the agency seized Hansen's personal belongings for alleged non-payment of $41,253.36 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties, dating to 1984. Three moving vans pulled up to Hansen's home and loaded up.The lawyer, who served as Utah's top legal officer from 1965 to 1969, said his accountant paid the IRS $6,000 the day before the raid and the agency representative agreed to negotiate for the balance. Hansen attacked the IRS for what he said was "deception, arrogance, intimidation tactics, threats."
Hansen called for a congressional investigation last Friday of what he called "Gestapo-like tactics." He said the IRS had cleaned him out of almost everything except a bed and heaps of clients' papers.
Hansen said he wasn't there at the time but that the IRS damaged fixtures and antiques. He said he was told the man who was emptying Hansen's refrigerator "would put his arm behind all the food on the shelf at the time and then just throw it on the floor."
They even ripped out toilet paper holders, he said.
Fay, the IRS district director for Utah, said Monday, "We emphatically disagree with the statements Phil Hansen made."
It is the policy of the Internal Revenue Service not to violate the rights of taxpayers, she said.
"This applies to all of our collection activities, including seizures of property. We take all appropriate steps to protect the taxpayers' property from damage."
However, after consulting with the IRS' lawyers, she said she could not go into specifics in the Hansen case - at least, not yet. The reason is that federal law protects the privacy of a taxpayer under investigation, although the taxpayer himself can authorize release of information.
"We would like to set forth the full facts but are prohibited by Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Section Code," she said.
Fay then issued this challenge to Hansen: "If Phil Hansen is willing to sign a written waiver of Section 6103, I can provide the full facts."