National Taxpayer Advocate Releases FY 2016 Objectives Report To Congress

July 14, 2015

Today National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson released her FY 2016 Objectives Report to Congress. The report identifies the priority issues that she and TAS will address during fiscal year 2016, including:

Long-Term IRS Strategic Planning and Taxpayer Service

The NTA expresses concern that the IRS continues to view itself primarily as an enforcement agency, with taxpayer service receiving less emphasis. As the IRS undertakes the development of a concept of operations, the NTA urges the IRS to place primary emphasis on “meet[ing] the needs of the overwhelming majority of taxpayers who are trying to comply with the tax laws.”

Assisting Victims of Identity Theft-Related Refund Fraud

Taxpayer service also failed for victims of identity thieves—as the problem has grown worse and more IRS filters are catching more potentially fraudulent returns, victims often have to wait a half year or more to receive their refunds.

Administration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

This past tax year added the challenge of dealing with the new provisions under the ACA–the Premium Tax Credit (PTC) and the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment (ISRP). The upcoming year will see more complexity, and TAS will focus on training its case advocates to better assist taxpayers, notably on ACA collection activities and the Employer Shared Responsibility provision.

Reflecting on the recently completed filing season, Olson states the IRS ran a generally successful filing season under difficult circumstances, but maintains that there was still a group of taxpayers for whom the filing season was “the worst in memory.”

"There is a real risk that the inability of taxpayers to obtain assistance from the government, and their consequent frustration, will lead to less voluntary compliance and more enforced compliance.”

Volume One of the Objectives Report covers many other issues that the Taxpayer Advocate intends to address in the coming year.

Volume Two of the report contains the IRS’s responses to the administrative recommendations the National Taxpayer Advocate made in her 2014 annual report to Congress, along with additional TAS comments. Overall, the report made 93 administrative recommendations. The IRS says it has implemented, is implementing, or will implement 45 of the recommendations, although its agreement to do so is contingent on resources in some cases.

Explore the full report at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/2016ObjectivesReport