National Taxpayer Advocate Mid-Year Report to Congress

Yesterday National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released a report to Congress that identifies the issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service will focus on for Fiscal Year 2011. Here's the highlight reel:

1. Taxpayer Services

For FY 2011 the Taxpayer's Advocate will continue to rally for improved taxpayer's services (which is always criticized for obvious reasons) and will continue to persist that taxpayer services is important not only as a courtesy for taxpayer but to encourage tax compliance, too.

The Taxpayer's Advocate suggests the the IRS Mission Statement should be revised to clearly state the agency's dual role as part "tax collector" and part "benefits administrator". This revision would require the IRS to make a plan that gives attention to both roles.

2. New Business and Tax-Exempt Organization Reporting Requirements

For FY 2011 The Taxpayer's Advocate wants to examine the impact of the new reporting requirement for business and see how it positively and negatively effects business owners. They want to propose new provisions that would make Congress consider less painful tax gap proposals for business owners.

3. IRS Collection Practices

The IRS has volunteered to perform a comprehensive review of their damaging collection practices (Bank Levies, Wage Garnishments, Tax Liens, and more) but Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson writes that she is concerned that it may take years to complete the review. In the meantime, IRS Collection Practices will remain the focus on FY 2011 for the Taxpayer's Advocate.

Final Thoughts: These annual reports from the Taxpayer's Advocate are always the same. They acknowledge the cruelty of the IRS's collection practices in these tough economic times, then they say they'll look into it and work harder each year to make it better. We appreciate their efforts, but they're barely making a dent in the big IRS machine.