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If you are having tax problems and have not been able to resolve them yourself or with help from the IRS, you may qualify for help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/01/31/irs-pushes-earned-income-tax-credit/5082775/

USA Today reported that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen launched the filing season for tax year 2013 on Jan. 31, but warned taxpayers, "Phone lines are going to be extremely busy" and frequently have "extensive wait times." National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson reported in her 2013 Annual Report to Congress that the IRS answered only 61% of customer service calls in FY 2013, and those who got through spent an average of about 18 minutes on hold.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/30/irs-customer-service-leaves-millions-calls-unanswered/

In light of the current tax filing season, this article highlights one of the most serious problems facing taxpayers today – poor IRS customer service. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress, only 61 percent of people seeking to speak with an IRS customer service representative got through to anybody – leaving nearly 20 million calls unanswered.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/irs-finds-customer-service-taxing-taxpayer-advocate-reports/2014/01/28/53517d10-8860-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

This article warns taxpayers that the IRS will be answering only “basic” tax questions by phone and at its walk-in sites during this filing season. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress, lacking IRS customer service is one of the most serious problems facing taxpayers today and is primarily due to IRS budget cuts and an increased workload.

http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/Union-President-Warns-Continued-IRS-Underfunding-69274-1.html

Following the unveiling of an omnibus spending bill on Jan. 13, 2014, the head of the labor union representing IRS employees warns that continued funding cuts to the IRS will make it difficult for the agency to meet taxpayer needs this year, as highlighted in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress. According to Accounting Today, the bill will cut IRS funding by approximately $526 million to $11.3 billion, below its 2009 level.

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/national-taxpayer-advocate-help-available-victims-identity-theft

This blog post by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson outlines one of the most serious problems facing taxpayers today, that of identity theft. Olson discusses the consequences of identity theft for victims and the IRS, and notes the IRS is taking steps to make it more difficult for perpetrators to successfully file falsified returns using others’ personal information (prevention) and to make it more costly if caught doing so (deterrence). Olson details strategies and steps victims of identity theft can take to potentially resolve their situations, and also discusses her recommendations for the IRS in regard to this issue from her 2013 Annual Report to Congress.

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/1166/3541923/Federal-Drive-Show-Blog---January-14-2014

In this Federal News Radio interview, hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp speak with National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina Olson about the impact budget cuts, overwhelming tax code changes and the 2013 scandal in the tax exempt unit have had on the IRS. NTA Nina Olson discusses how the agency can overcome most of these issues, but only if the first one — funding — is resolved. Listen to the full interview here.

http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/Bitcoin-Tax-Rules-Needed-Clarity-Taxpayer-Advocate-Says-69252-1.html

In her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, released Jan. 9, 2014, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) highlighted the need for clear rules on how the IRS will handle transactions involving bitcoin and other digital currencies. This Accounting Today article outlines the tax issues and regulatory uncertainties surrounding bitcoin.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/01/11/top-10-most-litigated-tax-issues/

In light of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) 2013 Annual Report to Congress, released Jan. 9, 2014, this article outlines the procedure for elevating tax issues to the U.S. Tax Court. Forbes reports that the Tax Court receives an average of 30,000 filings each year, citing the top ten most litigated issues as identified by the NTA (e.g., trade or business expenses, accuracy-related penalties, charitable deductions and more).

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/534/3539890/Report-Budget-training-cuts-put-IRS-at-risk

This story outlines the need for an increase in IRS funding in order for the agency to properly carry out its mission, as the NTA notes in her 2013 Annual Report to Congress. The article discusses the history of the IRS budget decline and notes that Congress’ tightening of its ‘purse strings’ has actually been counterproductive. Of note, the story mentions that in FY 2013, the IRS collected $255 for every dollar it received in appropriations. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/10/the-switchboard-irs-faces-pressure-to-clarify-bitcoin-rules/

In her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said the IRS has failed to provide clear guidelines for unregulated and fast-growing virtual money markets. This article highlights mounting pressure for the IRS to issue guidance on how taxpayers should handle digital currency transactions.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/01/09/irs-needs-to-give-more-help/4388369/

This article discusses several of the top most serious problems facing taxpayers today, as identified in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress, specifically outlining how the lack of a taxpayer bill of rights and reductions in IRS funding have caused a decline in taxpayer service at the IRS. Other report highlights cited in the story include the finding that in 2013, the IRS received 109 million telephone calls, but only 61 percent of them were answered.

http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/Taxpayer-Advocate-Calls-Taxpayer-Bill-Rights-69230-1.html

Accounting Today reported on the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina Olson’s call for a taxpayer bill of rights in her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, issued Jan. 9, 2014.  This article highlights the NTA’s belief that a taxpayer bill of rights would increase trust in the agency and, more generally, strengthen the IRS’s ability to serve taxpayers and collect tax.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/charting-the-decline-in-service-at-the-i-r-s/?_r=0

In her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate expressed concern about declining customer service from the IRS. This article shares data on the percentage of incoming calls actually answered by the IRS last year along with taxpayers’ average hold time.

http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/5389905-74/irs-tax-percent#axzz2q1qxnGZl

Highlighting the impact of IRS budget cuts on taxpayer service, this article cites data from the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress. Specifically, it notes that only 61 percent of the more than 100 million customer-service calls made to the IRS last year were answered.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2014/01/09/starve-the-irs-beast-punish-the-average-taxpayer/

This article discusses the underlying causes of declining taxpayer service from the IRS. It cites data from National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress, which named IRS budget cuts as the second biggest problem facing taxpayers.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2014/01/09/irs-offshore-accounts/

This article hones in on the National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) analysis and critique of the IRS’s processes for pursuing offshore tax offenders – the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. This issue is one of the most serious problems facing taxpayers, as outlined in the NTA’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/01/09/report-to-congress-irs-is-unable-to-meet-taxpayer-needs/

This article discusses how IRS budget cuts are impacting taxpayers, citing National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina Olson’s concern that the IRS does not have the resources to serve taxpayers. It also highlights several of the most serious problems facing taxpayers as outlined in the NTA’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/09/usa-tax-advocate-idUSL2N0KI2EN20140109

This story discusses the issues identified by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson in her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, focusing on the need for the IRS to restore public trust by adopting a taxpayer bill of rights that clearly states individuals' rights to fair treatment from the tax agency. 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/09/irs-taxpayer-advocate-report/4394117/

This article discusses the underlying issue of the decline in IRS customer service – sequestration spending cuts – according to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s 2013 Annual Report to Congress.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/01/09/irs-watchdog-says-customer-service-to-taxpayers-is-suffering/

This story focuses on the decline of several aspects of IRS customer service, and specifically discusses the issue of customer service via phone, noting the IRS could only answer six in 10 phone calls in the last fiscal year. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson attributes this particular issue to IRS budget cuts. 

THE TIME FOR TAX REFORM IS NOW!

To further the dialogue about tax reform, TAS has established a vehicle to receive taxpayers’ suggestions for tax reform. Please provide your input.

 

Check back often for updated comments and a new display - coming soon!
 

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