Forum on taxpayer service in San Antonio, TX

September 1, 2016

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Human Resources, held a public forum to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum at the Maestro Entrepreneur Center in San Antonio.  About 60 participants from the surrounding area were in attendance.  Representative Doggett expressed concerns about the inadequacy of IRS funding levels and thanked Nina Olson for her efforts to improve the IRS through her Reports to Congress.  A panel of invited speakers spoke about a number of taxpayer service issues and emphasized that taxpayers sometimes require face-to-face interaction with the IRS to resolve issues and help them comply with the tax laws.

Panelists Jim Oliver and James Smith, representing the Texas Society of CPAs, voiced concerns about the decreasing IRS geographic presence in the state of Texas, the effects of which have been exacerbated by the IRS’s decision to serve only taxpayers with advance appointments at its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)s.  In many cases, TACs will not even accept tax payments from walk-in taxpayers without appointments, including in one case a certified check for $450,000.

Panelists further discussed inadequate staffing in the IRS Appeals function and its negative effects on taxpayer rights.  Panelists agreed that online accounts could pose a risk for taxpayers to accurately resolve their issues without any personal interaction with the IRS.  Polly Bone, Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, noted that low income taxpayers often cannot afford broadband internet to access the online accounts described by the IRS’s Future State plan.  Finally, the panelists discussed their concerns with online account access envisioned by the IRS Future State plan in light of increasing problems of identity theft and tax scams.

Members of the audience, including small business owners, individual taxpayers, and area practitioners, actively participated in the public comments session. Several of the panelists submitted written statements:

  • Polly Bone, Director
    The Texas Taxpayer Assistance Project LITC, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.
  • Jim Oliver, Certified Public Accountant
    Jim Oliver & Associates, P.C.
  • James A. Smith, Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants
    Smith, Jackson, Boyer & Bovard, PLLC
  • LaMarr Queen, Senior Civil Law Paralegal/JBSA-Randolph Tax Program Coordinator
    Joint Base San Antonio
  • Jaime Vasquez, Attorney, CPA,
    Shareholder Chamberlain Hrdlicka Law Firm

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Comments regarding the Future State of the IRS may be submitted by email. Please do not send account-related questions to this email address.