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Tag Archive for Taxpayer Advocate Service

Opening Or Maintaining An Open Case With TAS Will No Longer Suspend IRS Certification To Secretary Of State

IRS

Executive Summary
Solely opening or maintaining an open case with the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will no longer suspend IRS Certification to the Secretary of State with regard to a taxpayer’s seriously delinquent tax debt.

DISCUSSION

On December 4th, 2015, Public Law 114-94 “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” (“FAST”) was signed into law by President Obama.  More commonly referred to as the highway bill, FAST authorizes the spending of approximately $205BB on highways and $48BB on transit projects over a five-year period.[1]  Included in the legislation is a provision generally requiring the revocation or denial of passports in the case of certain unpaid taxes.[2]  According to the IRS, the program has resulted in $1.2 billion in tax payments from taxpayers who the IRS certified to the State Department as being seriously delinquent in their tax debt.[3]

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Taxpayer Advocate Service(TAS) Advocacy Helps Taxpayer Get Refund Using Wire Deposit To A Foreign Bank Account

Taxpayer Advocate Service

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’s tax issues. All personal details are removed to protect the taxpayer’s privacy.

The mission of TAS is to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes to prevent the problems. When constituents contact their congressional office for help with tax matter, TAS works closely with the congressional staff member to assist in the resolution.

In this case, the taxpayer was living overseas where their foreign bank had changed its policy for cashing checks, and consequently the taxpayer could not cash his IRS refund check. The taxpayer returned the refund check to the IRS but wasn’t successful in getting it reissued as a direct deposit. The taxpayer then contacted his congressional office for help.

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The IRS’s Level Of Service Measure Fails To Adequately Show The Experience Of Taxpayers Seeking Assistance Over The Phone – Part 2

Nina Olson Measuring the Taxpayer Experience

In last week’s blog, I discussed how the Level of Service (LOS) measure used by the IRS paints a misleading picture of the taxpayer experience because it does not fully reflect taxpayers’ ability to speak with a telephone assistor and get the answer they need. The high LOS reported by the IRS masks its weaknesses in providing a high-quality customer experience, and reliance on this measure causes these weaknesses to go unaddressed. Similarly, the IRS reports an impressive overall toll-free customer satisfaction rating of 90 percent for fiscal year 2017; however, the response rate for the survey that is the basis for this measure has been low in previous years, and the measure only accounts for those callers that were able to speak with a telephone assistor. In this week’s blog, we will take a closer look to see how this rating stacks up against external evaluations and to understand the drivers of a successful taxpayer experience communicating with the IRS, regardless of the channel chosen or utilized. We will also examine how the IRS compares to other federal agencies and private sector companies, and identify practices the agency can adopt to prioritize the taxpayer experience. Read more

TAS Research Shows That Education Improves EITC Compliance

Nina Olson, IRS, Taxpayer Advocate Service, EITC

Recently, the IRS provided its response to my Most Serious Problem addressing EITC issues in the 2017 Annual Report to Congress. I want to reiterate my recommendation that the IRS should provide a dedicated toll-free Extra Help telephone line for EITC taxpayers.I’ve made similar recommendations here, here, and here. The IRS has not agreed to implement my recommendation. Instead, the IRS responded to my latest recommendation by saying, in part: Read more

The IRS’s Level of Service Measure Fails to Adequately Show the Experience of Taxpayers Seeking Assistance Over the Phone

Nina Olson, taxpayer, taxpayer advocate service, customer service

In a series of blogs I published earlier this year, Telephone Service in an Omnichannel Environment – The IRS Must Make Communicating with the IRS Over the Phone Easier for Taxpayers and Telephone Service in an Omnichannel Environment – The IRS Must Ensure Taxpayers Are Getting the Assistance They Need Over the Telephone, I explained why telephone communication is still an important way for taxpayers to get assistance from the IRS, even as the IRS expands its online self-help service options. In these blogs, I discussed how the IRS is failing to develop its telephone service as a vital part of an omnichannel communication environment, and thus failing to recognize the needs and preferences of taxpayers. In my 2017 Annual Report to Congress, I identified the limitations of the IRS’s telephone service as one of the Most Serious Problems encountered by taxpayers, and highlighted my concern that the IRS’s operational measures are overly focused on efficiency rather than the taxpayer experience. In this blog, I will further detail my concerns about the IRS’s reliance on the Accounts Management (AM) Customer Service Representative (CSR) Level of Service (LOS) as the benchmark measure to evaluate its phone service, as it can mask the struggles faced by taxpayers seeking assistance.   Read more

Taxpayer Advocate Service Survey Confirms Need To Maintain And Enhance A Robust Omni-Channel Taxpayer Service Strategy

In my most recent Annual Report to Congress, I published a study in support of the Service Priorities Project (SPP), a joint effort between Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) and IRS Wage & Investment (W&I). The goal of the SPP is to produce a matrix to help the IRS identify where to allocate its taxpayer service resources. To assist the IRS in determining service priorities, the matrix presents data on taxpayer needs and preferences as well as more traditional IRS “efficiency” concerns. While W&I initially worked with TAS in the development of the SPP, ultimately I felt that the additions to the Taxpayer Experience Survey did not address the missing data needed to complete the SPP matrix. I directed TAS Research to develop a study and fill in the gaps of the SPP. The result, A Further Exploration of Taxpayers’ Varying Abilities and Attitudes Toward IRS Options for Fulfilling Common Taxpayer Needs, revealed several areas that I’d like to highlight today. Read more

2018 Tax Forums Will Feature TAS Seminars, Case Resolution Program

Each year the IRS sponsors the Nationwide Tax Forums, a three-day series of tax education and networking conferences for tax professionals in cities around the country. These events feature the latest information from the IRS, news about tax law changes, the chance to meet with software vendors, and the opportunity to attend nearly 50 seminars presented by IRS employees and members of professional associations.

At this year’s Forums, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will present a series of seminars, oversee the Case Resolution Program, and host two focus groups. TAS’s seminars include: 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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Finance On New Tax Issues You May Encounter This Tax Season

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently spoke with Yahoo! Finance on new tax issues taxpayers may face during the filing season this year. During the brief interview, Ms. Olson highlights the scope of what the Taxpayer Advocate Service does to help taxpayers experiencing IRS tax issues find resolution. Additionally, she offers recommendations on how to navigate the tax landscape this year in order to be in compliance with the tax law.

The National Tax Advocate further warns taxpayers of newly formed tax scams and how to detect these tax thieves when contacted. The NTA concluded the interview with details on how to claim newly restored tax benefits, if eligible, recently extended by Congress for tax year 2017. Read more

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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He Who Hesitates Is Lost – Late Filing Refunds

I have heard questions about expired refunds. Let me summarize. “I faced a hardship and didn’t file tax returns for several years. Now, I learn that I cannot get my refunds for all those years. Can you help?”

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IRS Stakeholder Liaison Meeting – Denver, Colorado

The following is a summary of the Internal Revenue Service’s most recent Stakeholder Liaison Meeting in Denver, Colorado as prepared by Ann Burton, IRS Senior Stakeholder Liaison. It is jam packed with procedural information and status updates from line managers and group leaders of the various IRS operational functions including Collections, Examinations, Appeals, Tax Court etc. A worthy read for any practitioner navigating the seemingly troubled waters of IRS operations. I found some of the Q+A particularly enlightening. Towards the end there is also information on Colorado updates. Enjoy!

Dena Figueroa & Tammy Hobson, IRS Automated Collections – ACS

To help better protect taxpayer information, beginning January 5, 2014, we will no longer Read more