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Report Urges Stronger, Faster & More Accurate IRS Service

When filing your individual tax return and waiting for your refund, wouldn’t a smoother process be nice?

Each year, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), Nina Olson, is required to submit two annual reports to the tax-writing committees in Congress: the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that assists taxpayers experiencing economic hardship due to IRS action, or who can’t resolve tax problems through normal channels.

The NTA submits her reports without any prior review by the IRS Commissioner, the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget. That said, we expect—and appear to receive—an unbiased report.

Ms. Olson’s mid-year report identifies the objectives of the Taxpayer Advocate’s office for the upcoming fiscal year. Primary areas of focus include:

  • Advocate for improvement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) system. While implementing FATCA and other international withholding provisions, IRS suspended refunds from thousands of U.S. taxpayers with legitimate claims. Improving the accuracy of its data-matching procedures will speed up the refund process for many.
  • Oversee private debt collection. Legislation requires the IRS to assign many non-current delinquent accounts to private collection agencies. TAS will ensure these arrangements follow the law and taxpayer rights aren’t sacrificed.
  • Work with the IRS regarding online taxpayer accounts. TAS supports this relationship but the NTA has security concerns if tax preparers (many of whom are unlicensed) receive access, as the IRS plans to allow. In addition to maintaining adequate security protocols, TAS wants the IRS to continue providing telephone and in-person service to taxpayers who need or prefer to speak to an employee.
  • The NTA plans to continue urging reform in the earned income tax credit (EITC) program. Not only does the program include a high improper payments rate, eligible taxpayers find the law too complex and documentation requirements too rigid to prove their eligibility easily.
  • Identity theft victim assistance procedures remain a priority. TAS aims to work with the IRS to shorten the time to resolve cases and issue refunds. Also, TAS continues to press the IRS to assign a single employee to work with identity theft victims with multiple issues, or whose problems span multiple years. Certainly, this resource would alleviate taxpayer frustration with reaching a different agent each time who may or may not understand where your issue stands.

In our next blog update, we’ll cover the Taxpayer Advocate’s expressed concerns with the IRS, including its “Future State” plan.

In the meantime, if you seek further clarification with these issues or a tax accountant team you can trust, contact Patrick & Robinson CPAs, who’s served Northeast Florida’s taxpayers for more than 34 years, for help: Office@CPAsite.com or (904) 396-5400.

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