Bridget T. Roberts (Acting 2019-2020)
Bridget attended Villanova University School of Law, and received her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree in 2003. During her time at Villanova, Bridget represented taxpayers before the IRS as a student participant in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). This invaluable experience led to her selection as TAS's first attorney advisor for the LITC program. During her time with LITC, Bridget focused primarily on oversight of the LITC program (conducting site visits, reviewing grant applications, and making grant recommendations). When she joined TAS’s Attorney Advisor Group in 2004, she continued to work with the LITC program, and took on additional areas such as taxpayer service, financial literacy, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). During this time, she also earned her LLM (Masters in Law) in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.
In 2008, Bridget started a two-year special appointment to the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked issues such as employee benefits, executive compensation, and IRS oversight. She also helped lead the committee on developing the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which included developing the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, hosting a working group of Senate staffers to develop policy proposals, and drafting legislative language.
Following her time on Capitol Hill, Bridget returned to TAS as an Attorney Advisor and TAS's subject matter expert on the ACA and its implementation. She led the design and roll-out of many training courses, including a week-long course for all TAS employees, which allowed her to meet many of TAS’s employees in person. She also created the ACA Rapid Response Team to handle day-to-day ACA implementation issues during this time.
In 2011, Bridget accepted a position as the Deputy Executive Director of Systemic Advocacy (SA). After five years in SA, she served as the Area 2 Deputy Executive Director of Case Advocacy and then as the Senior Operations Executive to the DNTA. In August 2017, Bridget was selected as the Acting Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate where she managed the day-to-day operations of TAS, participated in activities to modernize the organization in concert with the Service's strategic goals, helped formulate policy and long-range goals, and managed the internal administration of TAS. She was permanently selected as the Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate in October 2017. Upon the National Taxpayer Advocate’s retirement in July 2019, Bridget served as the Acting National Taxpayer Advocate from August 2019 through late March of 2020. Her leadership during this interim period allowed for a smooth transition of TAS operations to the new National Taxpayer Advocate, Erin Collins in late March of 2020.
As DNTA, Bridget works actively with IRS executives from across the organization on many different IRS initiatives that impact TAS and our taxpayers. She also manages the Executive Director of Case Advocacy (EDCA), the Executive Director of Case Advocacy Intake and Technical Support (EDCA-ITS), TAS Business Modernization, Strategy Assessment and Employee Development, TAS Financial Operations, TAS embedded Labor Relations, and other Headquarter-Level Directors in TAS.
Nina E. Olson (2001-2019)
Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) from 2001 through 2019, was the voice of the taxpayer within the IRS and before Congress. She led the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization inside the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems and works for systemic change to mitigate problems experienced by groups of taxpayers.
Throughout her career, Ms. Olson has advocated for the rights of taxpayers and for greater fairness and less complexity in the tax system. In calling for fundamental reform in 2012, she wrote, “A simpler, more transparent tax code will substantially reduce the estimated 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion that taxpayers spend on return preparation” and “reduce the likelihood that sophisticated taxpayers can exploit arcane provisions to avoid paying their fair share of tax.”
Ms. Olson was appointed to the position of National Taxpayer Advocate in January 2001. Under her leadership, the NTA’s Annual Report to Congress has become an important vehicle for change. It is one of two reports the NTA is required by statute to deliver each year, and outlines the most serious problems facing taxpayers. The IRS has implemented hundreds of recommendations she has made for administrative change. Members of Congress have introduced bills to implement dozens of her recommendations for legislative change, and 15 of them have been enacted into law. In June 2014, the IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights for which Ms. Olson had long advocated, grouping dozens of existing rights in the Internal Revenue Code into ten broad categories of rights, thereby making them clear, understandable, and accessible for taxpayers and IRS employees alike.
Tax Analysts honored Nina Olson as one of ten Outstanding Women in Tax for 2016. This recognition reflects Nina Olson’s influence on the work of legislators, tax administrators and tax professionals across the globe. She gave the 2013 Woodworth Lecture, sponsored by Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University. Ms. Olson is a member of the American College of Tax Counsel and delivered the group's prestigious Griswold Lecture in January 2010. The non-profit Tax Foundation selected her to receive its Public Sector Distinguished Service Award in 2007. Money magazine named her one of 12 "Class Acts of 2004," and Accounting Today magazine has named her one of its Top 100 Most Influential People in the accounting profession each year from 2004 through 2018.
Prior to her appointment as the NTA, Ms. Olson founded and served as Executive Director of The Community Tax Law Project, the first independent § 501(c)(3) low income taxpayer clinic in the United States. From 1975 until 1991, she owned a tax planning and preparation firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
An attorney licensed in Virginia and North Carolina, Ms. Olson served as the chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Taxation’s Low Income Taxpayers Committee as well as the Pro Se/Pro Bono Task Force of the ABA Section of Taxation's Court Procedure Committee. She is the 1999 recipient of both the Virginia Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award and the City of Richmond Bar Association's Pro Bono Award. Ms. Olson graduated from Bryn Mawr College, cum laude, with an A.B. in Fine Arts. She received her J.D., cum laude, from North Carolina Central School of Law and her Master of Laws in Taxation, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Olson has served as an adjunct professor at several law schools.
Read the National Taxpayer Advocate's congressional testimony.
Read the The Tax Lawyer, vol 63 no 3 spring 2010 Griswold Lecture
Read the Rothkamm - Fifth Circuit Opinion (9-21-2015)
Read the Tax Notes Article, A BRAVE NEW WORLD THE TAXPAYER EXPERIENCE IN A POST SEQUESTER IRS
W. Val Oveson (1998-2000)
After launching a political career in 1980, W. Val Oveson was appointed Chairman of the Utah State Tax Commission in 1993 by Governor Mike Leavitt. In this capacity he redesigned the computer systems and processes for the commission and created the Utah Tax Law Library on CD-ROM. He served in this position until 1998, when he was appointed the first head of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate; this position had been created by legislation passed by Congress in 1996. In this role, Oveson led 2,300 employees in 74 locations across the U.S., reported independently to Congress on problems facing America's taxpayers, and recommended administrative and legislative solutions to stop the problems from recurring.
In 2000, Oveson joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was a managing director and lead of the knowledge management function for the state and local tax group. In 2003, Governor Leavitt selected Oveson as Utah's Chief Information Officer. Oveson was confirmed by the Utah Senate and served until the end of Leavitt's term.