National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her FY 2018 Objectives Report to Congress summarizing the recent filing season and future goals to improve Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interactions with US taxpayers.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently released her 2016 annual report to Congress recommending that the IRS continue its improvements to becoming service-oriented and that the tax code be significantly simplified. According to data the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) analyzed, taxpayers collectively spend about six billion hours per year complying with filing requirements, "the equivalent of three million full-time workers."
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson gave her mid-year report to Congress on July 7, 2016, reviewing the 2016 filing season and identifying priority issues she hopes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will address.
The IRS' Taxpayer Advocate Service recently released a web-based estimator to help employers understand how the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESRP) of the Affordable Care Act will affect their taxes. Employers can use the tool to determine how many full-time or full-time-equivalent employees they have, whether they are an applicable large employer (ALE), and estimate their potential shared responsibility payment liability if they fail to offer healthcare coverage to full-time employees. To learn more, click here.
On January 6, 2016, National Taxpayer Advocate Nine E. Olson released her 2015 annual report to Congress. Central to the report is Ms. Olson's concern that the IRS may be close to greatly scaling back the telephone and face-to-face service that the IRS has continually provided to individual and business taxpayers. In addition to reduced service levels, Ms. Olson also discusses the need for transparency and data security issues contained in the IRS's Future State Plan (which, to date, the IRS has chosen not to make public).
On Tuesday, July 15, 2015, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her mid-year report to Congress. The report identifies the priority issues the Tax Payer Advocate Service ("TAS") will address during the upcoming fiscal year. In addition to recapping the 2015 filing season, the report discusses the IRS's long-term strategic planning, tax-related identity theft, and the administration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nine other areas of focus are included in the report, including the TAS's efforts to improve its advocacy for and service to taxpayers, pending TAS research initiatives, and an update on the TAS's efforts to implement an integrated technology system. Volume 2 of the report contains the IRS's responses to the administrative recommendations the National Taxpayer Advocate made in her 2014 Annual Report to Congress, along with additional TAS comments.
In her annual report to Congress, Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen anticipates that taxpayers will receive the worst level of service since 2001. Citing budget problems of the past five years, Ms. Olson notes the erosion of taxpayer service to individuals coupled with a lack of effective administration and the failure to pass taxpayer rights legislation for a very dim future. The solution, according to the Taxpayer Advocate can be found if Congress makes an investment in the IRS and holds the IRS accountable for the application of the investment.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, John Koskinen, and The National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, spoke to an audience of tax professionals at the AICPA National Tax Conference in Washington, DC on November 4, 2014. Both presented a dismal tax filing season for taxpayers seeking assistance and guidance from the IRS, including a prediction by Commissioner Koskinen of over 30 minute hold times for phone service. Among the reasons cited for the anticipated challenges this tax filing season:
In her mid-year report, the Taxpayer Advocate identified top priorities as issuing refunds to victims of return preparer fraud, continuing to make improvements in the Exempt Organizations area and expanding the recently announced voluntary return preparer certification program to include competency testing.
Today the National Taxpayer Advocate issued a press release to report the publication of the 2013 Annual Report to Congress. IR-2014-3. The press release emphasizes a few key items from the report: a recommendation that the IRS adopt a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights," and the inadequacy of IRS funding.