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Taxpayer Advocacy Panel                               

Want to improve the IRS?®SPEAK UP

 

By Andrea Price, Taxpayer Advocacy Panel member representing Ohio

Guest Column

 

Most Serious Issues Facing Taxpayers

 

In December 2018, the National Taxpayer Advocate identified the Most Serious Problems facing taxpayers and made recommendations for addressing them in the Annual Report to Congress (ARC). In June 2019, the National Taxpayer Advocate submitted the Objectives Report to Congress, which included a second volume that contains the IRSís responses to their recommendations together with their analysis of the IRSís responses.

 

The National Taxpayer Advocate believes it is important for taxpayers, tax practitioners, and Members of Congress to see how the IRS responded, and below are a few examples of IRSís responses and related analysis.

 

  • Most Serious Problem 1 - Tax Law Questions: The IRS has agreed to study the feasibility of returning to its previous practice of answering in-scope tax law questions year-round on the phones.

  • Most Serious Problem 2 - Chief Counsel Transparency: IRS Counsel has agreed to clarify the standards that should be considered when deciding whether legal advice should be issued in a formal memorandum.

  • Most Serious Problem 4 - Free File: The IRS has agreed to make numerous improvements to the Free File program, including evaluating ways to expand the program for English as second language taxpayers.

  • Most Serious Problem 5 - False Positive Rate: The IRS has agreed to take steps to evaluate the effectiveness of its fraud detection systems (and their associated high false positive rates) and to collaborate with Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) on a study analyzing why some taxpayers delay responding to IRS identity-authentication notices.

  • Most Serious Problem 9 - Field Examination and Most Serious Problem 10 Ė Office Examination: For these two problems, the IRS continues to disagree that it needs to more carefully track what happens after an audit, including whether the taxpayer appeals and maintains future compliance, to better refine its audit selection process and maximize limited resources.

  • Most Serious Problem 11 - Post Processing Math Error and Most Serious Problem 12 Ė Math Error Notices: The IRS has declined to adopt a policy to limit its use of math error authority to circumstances least likely to burden taxpayers or waste IRS resources. While it did agree to implement some of TASís recommended changes to improve math error notice clarity, the IRS has not adopted TASís recommendations to improve the efficiency of math errors and protect taxpayer rights.

  • Most Serious Problem 13 - Statutory Notices of Deficiency: The IRS has agreed to include specific TAS office information in statutory notices of deficiency.

  • Most Serious Problem 15 - Economic Hardship: While the IRS has implemented certain safeguards for taxpayers experiencing economic hardship, it has not agreed to implement a systemic economic hardship indicator that would identify taxpayers who have incomes lower than their allowable living expenses and no detectable assets. We recommended the IRS implement an economic hardship indicator to help ensure it doesnít collect from low income taxpayers under circumstances that would leave them without adequate means to provide for their basic living expenses.

 

For those interested in more detail on the IRSís full responses to all 20 Most Serious Problems identified in the Annual Report to Congress, I encourage you to read this yearís Volume 2 included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Objectives Report to Congress.

Go to taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov.

 

Taxpayer Advocacy Panelís (TAP) mission is to listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayersí issues and make suggestions for improving the IRS service and customer satisfaction. We not only listen to taxpayers; we try to do something about it. TAP is supported by and aligned with the IRS but is not part of the IRS and are not employees of the IRS. TAP is comprised of civic-minded citizen volunteers from all walks of life representing each state, D.C., Puerto Rico and an international member (citizens living, working or doing business abroad).

 

Everyone has something to say about taxes and the IRS. Please take a moment to give us your suggestions for TAP to consider by contacting one of the following:

 

TAP Ohio member: tapohioandreaprice@gmail.com

Toll-free at:1-888-912-1227

Website: www.improveirs.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTaxpayerAdvocacyPanel

 

 


 

 

   
   


Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/17/19 11:17:31 -0400.


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