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Peter and others who have little faith in IRS answers from their tax law email service, I only post those answers that are not answered by any of us pros if I am unable to find sources to support my position.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from using this service from the IRS - I really hope that their answers improve over time. I just wanted to point out some recent data on the quality of their answers.

Japper's question is valid. Can he use both Life time and itemized deductions? The person at IRS that answered this question believes he can as long as the expenses qualify as educational expenses and that the same dollars aren't reported in both places.

It's a darn good question - and deserving of an answer. Unfortunately, my time is limited, so I have to let a lot of good questions go by. I'd be more likely to research it in May or June than I would right now. But I wasn't commenting on this question, hence I replied to this new thread rather than the thread containing the original question.

If you don't agree with this answer, then state your position. Otherwise, why knock the answer that will support a taxpayer's argument?

I don't know enough to agree or disagree with this answer. Again, I'm simply pointing out the record of this particular source for answers.

If the research department answers a questions in this manner, what's the odds that an auditor will challenge that authority?

If the auditor doesn't think the answer was right, they're under no obligation to follow it. They're reasonably educated tax professionals fully capable of doing their own research and forming their own opinion.

Should the auditor win with an opposing opinion, then at least the taxpayer will be guaranteed not to be assessed any penalties.

Yes, but it only applies to the taxpayer who requested the written advice, and then only if the facts stated in the question are what actually happened. So your requests are worthless in this regard to anyone but yourself.

I agree that there's a possibility that the IRS information given is incorrect, but I've also seen errors in many of the answers offered on this board. You have to agree that if a tax question is stated in 25 words or less, we may not have been given all the facts and circumstances, and could very well give out the wrong answer too.

Of course. But I think we're doing considerably better than 52% correct. ;-)

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