When we left off in our last post, we were discussing the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s first annual report to Congress. This report, one of two prepared by TAS every year, outlines the office’s priorities for the 2015 federal fiscal year.
Perhaps the most important item on the to-do list is the rollout of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The IRS adopted the TBOR in June; the work in the 2015 fiscal year will focus on communicating the list to taxpayers and IRS staff.
As we said in our June 12 post, the individual rights listed in the TBOR are not new. Before now, however, they have not been in one place. As the IRS put it, they are “scattered throughout the multi-million word Internal Revenue Code.” Compiling the individual rights into one document not only affords both taxpayers and IRS staffers easier access to the information but reminds everyone that taxpayers do, in fact, have rights.
Externally, the IRS will draw on a number of communication approaches, including print and online materials, to educate taxpayers about the TBOR. Internally, IRS personnel will work to incorporate the bill of rights into their everyday operations. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson explained that the IRS will also be able to identify critical gaps in service by using the TBOR as a benchmark.
Another item for TAS is improving its service to victims of identity theft and tax return preparer fraud. Olson admitted that “the IRS has consistently dragged its heels” in providing relief to those taxpayers. The victims of fraud have been neglected for years, she said: Although the IRS has clear authority to issue replacement refunds, it has not issued a single one. Some of the victims have been waiting for relief since filing their 2008 returns.
We will review on other priority in our next post.
Source: Internal Revenue Service, “National Taxpayer Advocate Identifies Priority Areas and Challenges in Mid-Year Report to Congress,” July 16, 2014