Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Taxpayer Advocate Releases Annual Report to Congress, Says Tax Reform Is #1 Priority

NTA National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her 2010 Annual Report to Congress, which lists the twenty-one most serious problems encountered by taxpayers (as required by § 7803(c)(2)(B)(ii)(III)):

The Most Serious Problems Encountered by Taxpayers: Top 5 Issues

  1. The Time for Tax Reform is Now
  2. The IRS Mission Statement Does Not Reflect the Agency's Increasing Responsibilities for Administering Social Benefits Programs
  3. IRS Performance Measures Provide Incentives that May Undermine the IRS Mission
  4. The Wage & Investment Division is Tasked with Supporting Multiple Agency-Wide Operations, Impeding its Ability to Serve its Core Base of Individual Taxpayers Effectively
  5. IRS Policy Implementation Though Systems Programming Lacks Transparency and Precludes Adequate Review

The Most Serious Problems Encountered by Taxpayers: Issues 6-21

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I am speechless by the report from the NTA to the IRS with their recommendations? Do they honestly believe that by writing a "new mission statement" to include social programs this is going to make a DIFFERENCE to the Taxpayer? Tell you what, NTA send me an email and I will write you a new IRS Mission Statement for FREE!!
This will save you and the IRS time and money which helps save the Taxpayers money - oh yeah my money. Call it a volunteer position.

Posted by: Onthehunt | Jan 8, 2011 5:16:29 PM

Taxpayer Advocate is all hat and no cattle. Most recent example: Client qualifies for $8,000 primary homebuyer credit; files return in May; receives "math error notice" (as allowed by statute) in late July disallowing it based on IRS computer records showing the real estate (value $25,000) she owns in another state, 1200 miles away. Letter to IRS in early August requests notice of deficiency so Tax Court case can be filed. Form 911 in late December results in call from TA offering sympathy but nothing else; thousands of other taxpayers are in the same situation, and a batch of 2010 returns with same issue are on their way. Austin SC has been "researching" it, and will respond in 45 days. Client has substantial assets and is assured she is earning 5% interest while IRS dawdles; she points out that she could have earned 10% in an equity index fund.

Posted by: Bob | Jan 6, 2011 7:07:42 AM

You're wasting your breath to hammer on the IRS - it isn't accountable to any of us. The problem is Congress and the Oval Office. IRS is just the instrumentality by which they raise money, and the agency does what it's directed to do and it is graded on how well it's doing at separating us from our money under rules articulated by Congress, to meet budget requirements set by Congress working with the President (OMB really). Yep, it's abusive - which is how Congress likes it. That way you focus on the mechanism by which Congress separates you from your money, and get some emotional satisfaction but no recourse, rather than focusing on the 535+1 people behind the curtain and holding the power of the ballot box over their heads.

Posted by: Joe Blow | Jan 6, 2011 6:13:42 AM

The suggestions regarding new measurement tools are pie in the sky. First, I doubt there exists a metric that truly captures how effective a program is in improving overall tax compliance within an industry segment. Second, IRS executives aren't stupid, they will quickly figure out how to game any measurement statistic to make their organization look better than it is.

Posted by: mark | Jan 5, 2011 3:26:08 PM