National Taxpayer Advocate’s Report to Congress: Once a Year, Taxpayers Talk Back — and Congress Listens

It may feel like taxpayers always complain and Congress never listens, and perhaps most of the time that’s true. But once a year, Congress asks the National Taxpayers advocate to report on taxpayer concerns. And the latest report just came out. So what’s coming up next? Ten highlights:

1. More and more taxpayers are down and out — but not out of luck! The IRS wants to help taxpayers negotiate payment plans for the prior year tax debt.

  1. Small business gets a break. Even though the IRS has tried to be kinder and gentler, they’ve still cracked down on companies that don’t pay their payroll taxes. They’re going to back down.
  2. They’re going to work on getting people their tax credits faster. No more waiting for the housing tax credit!
  3. Bad news? They’re also worried about tax credit fraud.
  4. The IRS is going after people who don’t file — to make sure they get tax credits even if they don’t have to file their taxes!
  5. The IRS wants to get W-2’s and 1099’s earlier in the year. Right now, it can take months after filing to find out about an error. They’d like to make sure it happens faster.
  6. They’re going to try especially hard not to give poorer tax payers a refund, and then take it back.
  7. The taxpayer advocate is keeping busy! With more and more people needing help with their finances, the advocates are helping to negotiate with the IRS and advise taxpayers on their options.
  8. Partial payment installment plans could make a big comeback. For taxpayers who can’t afford their entire debt, this option has long been just out of reach. But it’s a great way to settle back taxes and help taxpayers (and the IRS) move on.
  9. They’re planning on simplifying the tax law. But if it takes 131 pages to tell Congress what taxpayers want, and “make things less complicated!” gets one paragraph of that, the odds can’t be too high.

There’s lots of room for improvement, but it’s always good to see someone speaking up for the average taxpayer. Hopefully this will

You can read the whole taxpayer advocate’s report to Congress online. Peter Pappas has a more cynical take.

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