National Taxpayer Advocate 2020 Purple Book Introduction

Section 7803(c)(2)(B)(ii)(IX) of the Internal Revenue Code requires the National Taxpayer Advocate, as part of the annual report to Congress, to propose legislative recommendations to resolve problems encountered by taxpayers. This year, we present 58 legislative recommendations. 

We have taken the following steps to make these recommendations as accessible and user-friendly as possible for Members of Congress and their staffs:

  • We have consolidated our recommendations from various sections of this year’s report, prior reports, and other sources into this single volume.
  • We have grouped our recommendations into categories that generally reflect the various stages in the tax administration process so that, for example, return filing issues are presented separately from audit and collection issues.
  • We have presented each legislative recommendation in a format like the one used for congressional committee reports, with “Present Law,” “Reasons for Change,” and “Recommendation(s)” sections.
  • Where bills have been introduced in the past that are generally consistent with a recommendation, we have included a footnote at the end of the recommendation that identifies those bills. (Because of the large number of bills introduced in each Congress, we almost surely have overlooked some. We apologize for any bills we have inadvertently omitted.)
  • We have compiled a table, which appears at the end of this volume as Appendix 1, that identifies additional materials relating to our recommendations, where such materials exist. In addition to identifying a larger number of prior bills than we cite in our footnotes, the table provides references to more detailed issue discussions that have been included in prior National Taxpayer Advocate reports.

By our count, Congress has enacted approximately 46 legislative recommendations that the National Taxpayer Advocate has proposed. See Appendix 2 for a complete listing. That total includes approximately 23 provisions from last year’s Purple Book that were included as part of the Taxpayer First Act. 

The National Taxpayer Advocate has titled this the “Purple Book” because the color purple, as a mix of red and blue, has come to symbolize bipartisanship. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent, non-partisan organization within the IRS that advocates for the interests of taxpayers, and historically, tax administration legislation has attracted bipartisan support. Most recently, the Taxpayer First Act was approved by both the House and the Senate on voice votes, with no recorded opposition. 

We believe most of the recommendations presented in this volume are non-controversial, common sense reforms that will strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration. We hope the tax-writing committees and other Members of Congress find it useful.

Read the full National Taxpayer Advocate 2020 Purple Book