WASHINGTON — National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released Volume 2 of her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress, which contains the IRS’s responses to each of the 116 administrative recommendations the Advocate made in her 2015 Annual Report to Congress. Ms. Olson also announced that papers submitted by presenters at the November 2015 inaugural conference on international taxpayer rights have now been posted to the Taxpayer Advocate Service website.
IRS Responses to National Taxpayer Advocate Administrative Recommendations
The National Taxpayer Advocate is required by statute to submit a year-end report to Congress that, among other things, describes at least 20 of the most serious problems facing taxpayers and makes administrative recommendations to mitigate those problems. Overall, the Advocate made 116 administrative recommendations in the “most serious problems” section of her 2015 year-end report.
The IRS has implemented or agreed to implement 65 of the Advocate’s recommendations, or 56 percent.
The volume released today contains IRS general responses to each of the problems the Advocate identified as well as specific responses to each recommendation. In addition, it contains TAS’s analysis of the IRS’s responses and, in some cases, details TAS’s disagreement with the IRS’s position.
“People who work in the field of tax administration and taxpayers generally can benefit greatly from reading the agency responses to our report,” Ms. Olson said. “Tax administration is a complex field with many trade-offs required. Reading both my office’s critique and IRS’s responses in combination will provide readers with a broader perspective on key issues, the IRS’s rationale for its policies and procedures, and alternative options we recommend.”
The Advocate’s 2015 Annual Report to Congress highlighted the “Future State” of the IRS, IRS user fees, use of a streamlined application for tax-exempt status, stolen identity refund and other fraud, and taxpayer service for taxpayers living abroad among key challenges facing taxpayers and tax administration. In each case, the Advocate made administrative recommendations to address the challenges, and the volume released today contains the IRS’s responses to those recommendations and the Advocate’s evaluation of those responses.
International Conference on Taxpayer Rights
In November 2015, the National Taxpayer Advocate convened and hosted a first-of-its-kind international conference on taxpayer rights. The conference brought together presentations from government officials, scholars, and practitioners from around the world to explore how taxpayer rights serve as a foundation for effective tax administration.
As of today, the papers presented at the conference are posted on the International Conference on Taxpayer Rights website at https://taxpayerrightsconference.com/conference-papers.
More than 160 people from 22 countries participated as panelists or attended the conference. Conference co-sponsors were the American Bar Association Tax Section, the American College of Tax Counsel, the American Tax Policy Institute, the International Association of Tax Judges, and the International Fiscal Association – USA Branch. Tax Analysts served as the publishing sponsor of the conference.
“The inaugural conference allowed taxpayer rights advocates from around the world to exchange ideas and discuss various approaches,” Ms. Olson said.
The 2nd International Conference on Taxpayer Rights will be held in Vienna, Austria on March 13-14, 2017. Registration details and conference information will be forthcoming.
ABOUT THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SERVICE
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that can help protect your taxpayer rights. We can offer you help if your tax problem is causing a hardship or if you’ve tried but haven’t been able to resolve your problem with the IRS. If you qualify for our assistance, which is always free, we will do everything possible to help you. Visit taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778. For more information, go to TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov or irs.gov/advocate. You can get updates on tax topics at facebook.com/YourVoiceAtIRS, Twitter.com/YourVoiceatIRS, and YouTube.com/TASNTA.