Forum on taxpayer service in Red Oak IA

May 11, 2016

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member and former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, convened a public forum to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations.

Over 50 people attended the forum, including farmers, tax practitioners, and community based organizations. Interested Iowans engaged in a dialogue with Senator Grassley and NTA Nina Olson. Senator Grassley asked the audience for one suggestion to improve the IRS that could be implemented today and heard one common answer—more open and clear communication. This highlights the NTA’s view that some taxpayers will continue to need telephone and in-person assistance when dealing with the IRS.

Varel Bailey, a local farmer from Anita, Iowa who manages a family farm, has prepared his own tax return for over 50 years, and expressed his amazement for the increased complexity in filing every year. Mr. Bailey stated, “With the increasing complexity of filing a return, this is not the time for IRS to reduce the communication interface with the public. Modern electronics provide a broad range of ways efficient ways to educate, instruct and solve problems. IRS should provide the full spectrum of communications from one-on-one phone calls, print media and internet support.”

Several of the panelists submitted written statements:

  • Varel Bailey (President | Bailey Farms, Inc. | Anita, IA)
  • Tamara Borland (Director | Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Iowa Legal Aid | Des Moines, IA)
  • Alvin LaMar (Enrolled Agent | Iowa Farm Business Association | Iowa Falls, IA)
  • Kristy Maitre (Tax Specialist | Agricultural Education & Studies, Iowa State University | Ames, IA)
  • Wendy Smith (VITA Program Coordinator | United Way of Wapello County | Ottumwa, IA)

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