Next Public Forum on taxpayer service needs and preferences to be held in Portland, OR on August 18

August 12, 2016

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson will hold a public forum in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, August 18, to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations. The forum is being held in Portland at the invitation of Sen. Ron Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The public forum will take place at the Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave, Portland, OR, at 5:30 p.m. Members of the public and the media are invited to attend.

Building on initiatives already implemented, the IRS for the past two years has been developing a “Future State” plan that envisions how it will operate in five years and beyond. It is continuing to develop a path for how it gets from its “Current State” to the “Future State,” including refinements to the vision along the way. A central component of the plan is the creation of online taxpayer accounts as a convenient but non-exclusive channel through which taxpayers will be able to obtain information from and interact with the IRS. 

In the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2015 Annual Report to Congress, Ms. Olson expressed concerns about whether the IRS’s “Future State” plan adequately addresses taxpayer needs. She recommended the IRS solicit comments from taxpayers and tax professionals regarding the “Future State” plan, including their thoughts on the extent to which taxpayers will continue to need telephone and in-person assistance. To further public awareness and dialogue, she announced plans to hold a series of public forums around the country. The objective of the public forums is to ensure the “Future State” plan will better reflect the needs and preferences of U.S. taxpayers as they seek to comply with the tax code.

In the National Taxpayer Advocate’s FY 2017 Objectives Report to Congress, Ms. Olson highlighted notable observations and suggestions shared by panelists at public forums held earlier this year.  She wrote: "Although the National Taxpayer Advocate has been charged by Congress to be the voice of the taxpayer inside the IRS, what we heard at the Public Forums around the country were the voices of real taxpayers and their real representatives. They are compelling, articulate, and clear about what they need in order to comply with the tax laws."

The August 18 public forum will feature an invited panel of representatives from the small business and local taxpayer communities, including the following:

  • Sarah Adams, Executive Director, CASH Oregon | Portland, OR

  • Susan Gallagher-Smith, Enrolled Agent, Board Chair, Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners | Eugene, OR

  • Michael L. Such, Research Assistant, Lewis & Clark Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Lewis & Clark Law School | Portland, OR

  • llene Waterman, VITA volunteer, Native American Youth and Family Center | Portland, OR

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to speak.

Local Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) staff will be available to talk with attendees about unresolved tax issues and help determine if their situation qualifies for TAS assistance. TAS generally is unable to assist taxpayers with return preparation questions, but can provide assistance to taxpayers who have already filed their returns with the IRS for the current or past years and are experiencing problems that meet its case-acceptance criteria.

More about the Forum:

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