Letter from the IRS – a health threat?


Adam Chodorow, a law professor at Arizona State University, has written an open letter to the IRS recommending improvements to the IRS’s taxpayer correspondence procedures.

Chodorow apparently is concerned that the health of many taxpayers is endangered when they receive letters from the IRS. After all, adrenaline rushes and blood pressure spikes are not good for the heart.

His suggestion is that the IRS consider adopting a color-coding system, modeled on the one used by the Department of Homeland Security. Under the terror threat warning system, green signifies a low risk; blue, a guarded general risk; yellow, an elevated risk; orange, a high risk; and red, a severe risk.

Chodorow proposes that the IRS adopt a similar system for its communications with taxpayers.

A communication from the IRS in a green envelope would signify a low risk, like a refund. Blue might imply a simple query, like an overlooked $2.50 of bank interest that you forgot to include on your return. Yellow might indicate a more significant audit by letter, perhaps involving amounts up to $5,000. Orange could mean that you are being invited in for an office audit.

And a red envelope could alert you that it’s time to grab your passport and catch the next flight to a country without an extradition treaty.

“The Opera reminds me of my tax audit. It was in a language I didn’t understand, and it ended in tragedy.” – Jeff MacNelly’s “Shoe”