Taxpayer Advocate Report Released

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The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Led by the National Taxpayer Advocate, Ms. Nina Olson, TAS serves as the voice of the taxpayer at the  highest levels of the Internal Revenue Service.

Each year in January, the National Taxpayer Advocate renders a report directly to the tax-writing committees in Congress (i.e., the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate’s Committee of Finance). This report is issued without any prior review by the IRS Commissioner, the Secretary of the Treasury or the Office of Management and Budget. Thus, the National Taxpayer Advocate is totally independent, and the findings and recommendations submitted annually are solely those of the TAS.

The recently-released 2016 Annual Report to Congress details 20 of the nation’s most serious tax problems. Beyond identifying these problems, the TAS report provides 10 recommendations to address the issues, with the first asking for simplification of the Internal Revenue Code.

Sensing that 2017 could be a historic year for tax reform, the report additionally recommends that Congress adopt a zero-based budgeting approach that initially eliminates all exclusions or reductions in income, adds back appropriate tax expenditures, and establishes tax rates at whatever level is required to meet revenue goals.

The report also includes a special focus section in which the TAS suggests that the Internal Revenue Service revamp its “Future State” initiative to be more centered on taxpayer service. The TAS calls for reform to tax administration and encourages the IRS to change its culture from one that is enforcement-oriented to one that is service-oriented.

The TAS can provide valuable services to taxpayers and can offer an incredibly efficient means to deal with a tax issue if a taxpayer seems to have exhausted all avenues of resolution locally.  A call from the TAS to a local examiner/supervisor quickly opens doors to resolution that might otherwise be closed to taxpayers.

If you should feel a need to contact the TAS, we will be happy to make that connection or to contact them on your behalf. Please contact Bob Grossman or Don Johnston at 412-338-9300 if have questions or need tax assistance.

Bob Grossman

Bob Grossman

Bob, one of the firm’s founding partners, has over 40 years of experience in public accounting. He specializes in tax and valuation issues that affect businesses as well as their stakeholders and owners. Bob has extensive experience working with the Internal Revenue Services and also serves as an expert witness in litigation matters.

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