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FY24 Goal 1: Resolve Taxpayer Problems Accurately and Timely

Organizational Objectives

1
1.

Work with the IRS to improve taxpayer correspondence audit participation and agreement and default rates.

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: TAS worked with the IRS to improve taxpayer correspondence audit participation and agreement and default rates during the first quarter by participating on an IRS Taxpayer Experience cross-functional team, analyzing data, and confirming low-income taxpayers have a high default and no response rate to campus initiated examinations. Also, the team worked to put procedures in place for the newly implemented Docketed Exam Assistance (DEA) process between Automated Underreporter/Correspondence Exam and Appeals. This allows taxpayers to begin using the process which enables them to have their new documentation reviewed by Exam employees faster than the previous process. Further, TAS continues to serve on the Audit Improvement Team and continued their work on enhancing the Form 886-H Earned Income Credit (EITC) Toolkit.

2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, TAS participated in Audit Improvement Teams that collected information from repeat callers to determine why they called the Refundable Credit Exam line multiple times, reviewed IRS.gov webpages to determine the best place(s) to add information about the Document Upload Tool to make it easier for taxpayers to provide supporting documents, reviewed acceptable documents for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims to update the list of documents that taxpayers can provide to support their EITC, reviewed the IRS.gov templates for school, healthcare, and childcare providers to determine what updates should be made to make the forms current, and reviewed the IRS.gov EITC webpages to determine improvements that will make information easier for taxpayers to find.

2
2.

Work with the IRS Business Operating Divisions to develop procedures for the IRS in reviewing and responding to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel recommendations, and if necessary, establish steps to reach a Service Level Agreement or mutually agreed upon standard operating procedure for considering Taxpayer Advocacy Panel recommendations

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: During the quarter, TAS worked with the IRS in developing procedures for them in reviewing and responding to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) recommendations and establishing steps to reach a Service Level Agreement (SLA). We focused on establishing a process for TAP recommendations through the different Business Operating Divisions and to develop a baseline set of procedures for the analysis of an SLA. These items were determined to be a necessity for accomplishing the NTA’s goals:

  • Priority level of Referral
  • Confirmation of receipt of Referral
  • Establish timeframes to respond to Referral (30 days)
  • Opportunity to perfect the Referral
  • Provide name of assigned Employee
  • Training to employees responsible for process
  • Support in delivering recommendations
  • Levels of management and protocol to address unresolved elevated issues and extensions.
  • Periodic Liaison Meetings
  • Cross-Functional Training on SLAs
  • Annual Review of SLAs

2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, TAS drafted a Service Level Agreement for the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel recommendations and is currently awaiting review.

3
3.

Work with the IRS as it implements plans to modernize paper processing procedures to streamline the processing of paper-filed returns and correspondence

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: TAS anticipates beginning work on this objective in February 2024.

2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, TAS processed low volumes of paper returns from vendors for the pilot program to digitalize paper forms. Vendors continue to process Forms 940 and 941 through Lockbox and digitalized work may start as early as May to get previously filed paper returns into the digital format. At this time, Form 709 United States Gift (and Generation – Skipping Transfer) Tax Return is being scanned.

4
4.

Provide a report to the National Taxpayer Advocate estimating the volume and amount of tax year 2020 refund returns still held by the IRS because of taxpayer non-response with a goal of advocating for the IRS to implement additional procedures to release legitimate refund claims to taxpayers

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: During the first quarter, TAS issued outreach letters to gather additional information and determined the next steps will be developed once more data is gathered from the receipt of outstanding outreach letters.

2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, TAS received over 100 responses to outreach letters sent in the first quarter. We anticipate additional responses will be received over the next two quarters and further actions will begin after all responses are received.

5
5.

Conduct and report the findings of a survey along with additional qualitative data from subsequent focus groups to IRS stakeholders that assess the accessibility of tax credits designed to improve the financial circumstances of taxpayers, particularly those with children, and identify the barriers that increase the difficulty or even prevent taxpayers from claiming these credits

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: The National Taxpayer Advocate has put this project on hold while IRS’s Research, Applied Analytics and Statistics function conducts research in this area.

2nd Quarter: Research, Applied Analytics, and Statistics is currently conducting research and gathering data in this area.

6
6.

Continue recruitment efforts to increase staffing levels focusing on targeted areas, i.e., external applicants, second career professionals, and realign TAS’ services to better meet taxpayer needs

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: During the first quarter, TAS continued to recruit and hire aggressively to keep ahead of attrition and grow our staffing levels. As of December 30, 2023, TAS net onrolls increased by 34 positions, including 24 additional case advocates. Also, we are developing a comprehensive hoteling, recruiting, hiring and training plan to synchronize all necessary activities. We identified several successful recruiting efforts including Lunch and Learn sessions promoting case advocate positions and emailing messages with TAS job announcement flyers to IRS Senior Commissioner Representatives for local distribution.

2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, TAS continued to recruit and hire aggressively to keep ahead of attrition and grow our staffing levels. Our net onrolls increased this fiscal year by 82 positions, including 60 additional Case Advocates. To address the space needs for many of the new hires, we have implemented hoteling in eight local offices and anticipate completing hoteling bargaining and implementation in 11 additional offices in the coming months.

Some of our most successful recruiting efforts include hosting Lunch “n” Learn sessions promoting Case Advocate positions shortly before we planned to hire. Further, we sent email messages with TAS job announcement flyers to IRS Senior Commissioner Representatives for distribution to employees in the geographic area.

7
7.

Continue to work with the IRS to establish a status “Dashboard” to provide near real-time processing information including returns and refunds

Status: Open
Expected Completion Date: TBD

Quarterly Update:
1st Quarter: During the first quarter, TAS’ Executive Director of Intake and Technical Support provided input and feedback to IRS regarding the dashboard design. IRS presented the dashboard to the Advisory Committee including the IRS Commissioner in October 2023.

2nd Quarter: TAS continued developing the dashboard in the second quarter and expects additional progress in the third quarter.