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January 13, 2021

National Taxpayer Advocate Releases Annual Report to Congress and “Purple Book”

2020 Annual Report to Congress graph

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her 2020 Annual Report to Congress, focusing on the unprecedented challenges taxpayers faced in filing their tax returns and receiving refunds and stimulus payments during a year consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By statute, the Advocate’s report is required to identify the 10 Most Serious Problems taxpayers face in their dealings with the IRS.  In her preface to the report, Ms. Collins wrote:  “If this year’s Most Serious Problems are read in combination, one overriding theme emerges: To improve taxpayer service, the IRS needs more resources to hire employees and more resources to modernize its information technology (IT) systems.”

The report also contains:

  • A description of the ten Most Serious Problems encountered by taxpayers;
  • A final assessment of the 2020 filing season that was extended due to the pandemic;
  • A taxpayer rights assessment that presents performance measures and other relevant data;
  • A summary of key TAS systemic advocacy accomplishments;
  • A discussion of the ten federal tax issues most frequently litigated during the last year;
  • A description of TAS’s case advocacy operations during FY 2020; and
  • A research study that concludes the IRS can and should to identify certain taxpayers at high risk of economic hardship and spare them from collection action.

A special section was added to the Advocate’s Preface titled “Highlights of TAS Successes on our Journey of Advocacy Throughout the Past Year.” TAS had many successes throughout the year working with IRS to change process and procedures so that taxpayers are better served by tax administration. This section highlights some of these successes.

As part of the report, Ms. Collins also released the fourth edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s “Purple Book,” which presents 66 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration. She highlights ten legislative recommendations for particular attention in her Purple Book introduction and in the preface to the report. 

Please visit www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov/2020AnnualReport for more information.

In addition, TAS has recently released an Online Digital Roadmap Tool that will assist taxpayers with navigating the complexity of the tax system.  By entering a notice or letter number, taxpayers can determine where they are on the roadmap, why they received the notice or letter, what rights they have, what they must do next, and where they can get additional help.

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About the Taxpayer Advocate Service 

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Your local advocate’s number is available in your local directory and at https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/contact-us. You may also call TAS toll-free at 877-777-4778. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. And our service is free. For more information about TAS and your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, go to https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov. You can get updates on tax topics at facebook.com/YourVoiceAtIRS, Twitter.com/YourVoiceatIRS, and YouTube.com/TASNTA.