On Tuesday, February 23, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson convened the first in a series of public forums on taxpayer service. Over 125 people attended, representing a range of interests and organizations, including tax professional groups like the AICPA, the National Society of Accountants, and the National Society of Enrolled Agents; several government agencies; and tax publications including Tax Analysts, BNA Daily Tax Report, and CCH.
Over the last two years, the IRS has worked to develop a “Future State” plan, which outlines the IRS’s intended activities in 5 years and beyond. A central component of the Future State plan is the creation of online taxpayer accounts, and the IRS’s hope and expectation is that online accounts will substantially reduce the number of telephone calls and visits it receives. The day before the event the IRS made portions of the Future State plan available on IRS.gov.
In her 2015 Annual Report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate recommended the IRS solicit comments from taxpayers and tax professionals, including their thoughts on the extent to which taxpayers will continue to need telephone and in-person assistance. The public forums are an outgrowth of that recommendation - a series of events around the country designed to obtain comments and suggestions regarding what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to help them comply with their tax obligations.
The speakers who joined the Advocate at the IRS building in Washington, DC submitted written statements and participated in panel discussions about the usefulness of online accounts and their limitations, their likely impact on taxpayer demand for telephone and face-to-face service, and IRS priorities generally.
Statements from Speakers
Opening Remarks from National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson