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MSP #2: TAXPAYER SERVICE

Due to the Delayed Completion of the Service Priorities Initiative, the IRS Currently Lacks a Clear Rationale for Taxpayer Service Budgetary Allocation Decisions

TAS Recommendations and IRS Responses

1
1.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #2-1

Complete the ranking process with the newly available tax year 2013 data and identify all steps needed to fully populate the ranking tool.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: W&I agrees that the Services Priority Project (SPP) model should be scored, and is currently working with TAS to complete the scoring of the model. To complete the scoring, WIRA will work with TAS research analysts to populate the SPP model with the 2013 data from the Taxpayer Experience Survey and the TAC Expectation Survey.  Once the collaborative effort in scoring the SPP model is completed, the data gaps will be identified and possible solutions for addressing them will be discussed.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: N/A

TAS RESPONSE: The National Taxpayer Advocate is pleased the IRS is supporting the development and scoring of the Services Priority Project (SPP) model.  TAS is currently working with W&I to do a ranking with newly available tax year 2013 data, which we anticipate completing by the end of September 2015.  It will be a partial ranking, however, since data gaps will still remain.  To this end, TAS has initiated a procurement request for contractor services to develop and administer a telephone-based survey that will expand on the data collected in prior W&I surveys.  Our goal is to complete survey administration in the final quarter of FY 2016.

TAS and W&I have also informally agreed to collaborate on a plan and a timeline that would identify all steps needed to fully populate the ranking tool during the remainder of calendar year 2015.  However, the National Taxpayer Advocate remains concerned because the project has already been significantly delayed due to data deficiencies, and it lacks a clear plan with accompanying timeline to overcome those deficiencies and a firm commitment to that plan.  A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is therefore essential to document agreement on:

  • The final SPP ranking took design;
  • Assignment of responsibilities for data collection and population of the ranking tool;
  • A timeline including the steps needed for completion of a full ranking; and
  • Ongoing data collection to support periodic updating of the ranking tool.

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

2
2.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #2-2

Develop and execute a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Taxpayer Advocate to document the steps needed to complete development of the Service Priorities Project ranking tool.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: ​W&I supports the development of the SPP model, and therefore does not believe an MOU is necessary to complete this model.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: N/A

TAS RESPONSE: The MOU will provide the clarity and formal commitment needed to assure expeditious implementation of the SPP methodology.  While only the provision of adequate funding can facilitate the delivery of the high quality taxpayer service taxpayers deserve, implementation of the SPP will provide the IRS with a rigorous way to select the combination of competing taxpayer service initiatives that maximizes the “value” of service delivery given available resources.  At present, the IRS does not have sufficient information about the extent of the harm and burden its taxpayer service allocation decisions create for taxpayers.

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Not Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

3
3.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #2-3

Incorporate the ranking tool and methodology into plans currently under development for the Services on Demand initiative.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: W&I supports the use of available tools to make data-driven decisions about the use of its limited resources.  We will continue to work on the ranking tool and utilize it with the other tools we have to make service decisions.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: N/A

TAS RESPONSE: N/A

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

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