Thursday, January 9, 2014
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released (IR-2014-3) her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, urging the IRS to adopt a comprehensive Taxpayer Bill of Rights – a step she said would increase trust in the agency and, more generally, strengthen its ability to serve taxpayers and collect tax:
The Advocate also expressed deep concern that the IRS is not adequately funded to serve taxpayers, pointing out that the IRS annually receives more than 100 million telephone calls from taxpayers and that, in fiscal year 2013, the IRS could only answer 61 percent of calls from taxpayers seeking to speak with an IRS customer service representative.
“The year 2013 was a very challenging one for the IRS. Because of sequestration, the IRS’s funding was substantially cut, which translated into a reduction in taxpayer service,” Olson said in releasing the report. “Public trust in its fairness and impartiality was called into question because of reports the IRS subjected certain applicants for tax-exempt status to greater review based on political-sounding names. And because of the 16-day government shutdown, the agency could not complete preparations for the upcoming tax filing season on time, delaying the date on which taxpayers can first file returns and claim refunds.” Olson continued: “From challenges can come opportunities, and this report presents a ‘21st century vision’ designed to meet taxpayer needs and enhance voluntary tax compliance.”