Thank you for inviting me to testify at your hearing today on IRS operations. 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.
By statute, I am required to submit two annual reports to the congressional tax-writing committees each year, and I describe, and make recommendations to mitigate, the “most serious problems” facing taxpayers in my December 31 report.
Throughout my tenure as the National Taxpayer Advocate, TAS has completed significant research into taxpayer needs, preferences, and ability to interact with the IRS through various service channels. Our work has focused not only on understanding the taxpayer service needs and preferences of U.S. taxpayers,4 but also on how IRS traditional audit, compliance, and collection techniques affect taxpayers’ understanding of the tax law, their relationship and attitudes to the tax administrator, and their subsequent compliance behavior.5 In addition to our research studies, surveys and focus groups, in 2016 I travelled the breadth and depth of the US and convened 12 Public Forums on Taxpayer Needs and Preferences, in conjunction with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, including Chairman Meadows.
The complete transcripts of these fascinating public meetings are available on our website. I have also convened two International Conferences on Taxpayer Rights, with the third one coming up in Amsterdam in May of this year.7 Our body of work is designed to help the IRS improve tax administration and better meet taxpayer needs and preferences; it also enables us to identify emerging issues of concern.
Access Full Report Here.
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