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Archive for Taxpayer Advocate

What Is Wrong With IRS User Fees?

The IRS has been increasing user fees to fund its operations. It recently increased or proposed to increase a wide range of fees including the fees for installment agreements (IAs), offers-in-compromise (OICs)pre-filing agreements (PFAs)private letter rulings (PLRs), and special enrollment examinations (SEE). I raised concerns about these increases in my 2015 and 2017 Annual Reports to Congress.

On Feb. 9, 2018, Congress enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), which addresses concerns about the IRS’s largest fee revenue generator – the IA fee increases. The law prevents the IRS from increasing the IA fee again without legislation. It also requires the IRS to waive or refund the fee for taxpayers with income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level who authorize the IRS to directly debit the IA payments (DDIA) from a bank account or who cannot set up a DDIA (e.g., because they do not have a bank account). This legislation suggests that Congress shares some of my concerns. This blog summarizes our concerns. Read more

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson Testifies

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson testified before the House Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules and Subcommittee on Government Operations Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Oversight today at a hearing entitled, “Continued Oversight Over the Internal Revenue Service.”

As you know, I lead the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS that advocates for taxpayers. TAS has two main functions – “case advocacy” and “systemic advocacy.” In most years our case advocacy operations
assist more than 200,000 taxpayers in resolving account problems with the IRS.2 On the systemic side, TAS identifies problems that are harming groups of taxpayers, and we make administrative and legislative recommendations to mitigate those problems.

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NTA Blog: A Summary Presentation Of Our Top 50 Legislative Recommendations

Last week, we issued the National Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report to Congress. As some of you probably noticed, we also issued the first-ever edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate “Purple Book.” In this week’s blog, I will explain why we developed the Purple Book and what it’s intended to accomplish.

Section 7803(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code requires the National Taxpayer Advocate to issue an annual report to Congress that, among other things, proposes legislative recommendations to resolve systemic taxpayer problems. Read more

Taxpayer Assistance Center Service Continues to Decline, Impairing Taxpayers’ Ability to Receive In-Person Assistance

The other day, I came across an interesting item in the news, describing that for the first time in its history, Macy’s was only letting people with appointments visit its famous Santa. I was interested in this because, for all intents and purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had been “appointment only” in its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) since November 2016. So on the face of it, the IRS was in the vanguard of customer service.

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Success Story: TAS Advocates for Release of Levy due to Hardship

Every year the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) helps thousands of people with tax problems. This story is only one of many examples of how TAS helps resolve taxpayer issues. All personal details are removed to protect the privacy of the taxpayer.

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