HOME Media Kit Advertising Contact Us About Us


Web The Truth

Community Calendar

Dear Ryan


Online Issues

Send a Letter to the Editor



Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) 

Want to improve the IRS?¨SPEAK UP

By Andrea Price, TAP member representing Ohio
Guest Column

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel 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). TAP is a Federal Advisory Committee whose mission is to listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues and make suggestions for improving the IRS service and customer satisfaction.

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

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

Website: www.improveirs.org

Taxpayer Advocate Service-Your Voice at the IRS

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS. TAS employees help taxpayers who are experiencing economic difficulties, such as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food; taxpayers who are seeking help in resolving problems with the IRS; and taxpayers who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.

The latest blog posts from Acting National Taxpayer Advocate Bridget T. Roberts.

In February 2020, The Annual Report to Congress highlighted the first three “most serious problem” sections of this year’s report. They are interrelated and, in combination, provide the message we hope to convey. In order, they are (i) poor customer service; (ii) outdated information technology (IT) systems; and (iii) inadequate funding.

Here is how they interrelate:

Customer Service. We believe improving service must be the #1 priority for the IRS. During fiscal year (FY) 2019, for example, the IRS received nearly 100 million telephone calls, yet employees were able to answer only 29 percent. At the same time, the IRS’s fraud detection filters were again plagued by high false positive rates, forcing hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who had filed legitimate returns to wait weeks or even months to receive their refunds. Two leading benchmarks again found the IRS to be among the lowest performing federal agencies in providing a positive customer experience. We are not the only ones who believe improving taxpayer service should be the IRS’s top priority. During 2019, Congress enacted the most significant IRS reform legislation since 1998 and made its priority clear by pointedly titling it the “Taxpayer First Act.”

IT Modernization. In order to improve taxpayer service (as well as compliance), the IRS desperately needs to upgrade its technology. Some examples: The IRS still has not been able to fully implement customer callback technology, which would allow taxpayers who call at peak times to elect to receive a callback rather than wait on hold. Key taxpayer data is spread across some 60 case management systems, limiting the IRS’s ability to offer robust online taxpayer accounts; an integrated case management system is in the works and is desperately needed. Better technology should allow the IRS to address the annual problem of high false positive rates in its fraud detection filters by helping it determine quickly which business rules are generating the bulk of the false positives and allowing it to refine them in real time. These are just examples. The ramifications of outdated technology are felt across the agency. If the IRS can substantially improve its IT systems, taxpayer service will see corresponding improvements — and probably significant ones.

Funding. As we noted in our recent report, IRS funding has been cut by more than 20 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis since FY 2010, and the number of full-time equivalent employees has declined by 22 percent. This lack of resources has limited the agency’s ability to modernize its IT systems as well as to hire more customer service representatives to handle taxpayer calls. Over the past two decades, there have been times when the IRS has fumbled IT initiatives, and its mistakes have created an impression that it might squander additional funding again. This is a legitimate concern, but as we said in our report, we believe the IRS Integrated Modernization Business Plan released last April is well considered, and with proper oversight, we believe the IRS would put additional funds to good use.

So, to summarize the message our LTAs will be conveying: We agree with Congress that the #1 priority for the IRS is to put taxpayers first. The IRS should be a taxpayer-centric organization, and taxpayers should be able to interact easily with the IRS through whichever communications channel they prefer — in person, by phone, or online. To achieve that goal, the IRS must modernize its IT systems and hire more customer service representatives. And to do all these things, the IRS must be properly funded.

Interested in more information on these issues? Find it at taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/19/20 16:28:13 -0400.

More Articles....

A Millennial View: Cafeteria Style Politics

21 Things to Do While Self Quarantined

Amy Smith Hall: Destined to Lead Ebony Construction

NHA: 50 Years of Service, Despite the Very Difficult Early Years

Virusphere: From Common Colds to Ebola Epidemics: Why We Need the Viruses that Plague Us by Frank Ryan



Back to Home Page