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The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. We take this statement seriously, as demonstrated by the work we do to help taxpayers resolve their tax problems. We do more than resolve problems, however. Part of our mission is to recommend changes that will prevent problems in the future. And in keeping with that part of our mission, we provide oversight and support for the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a federal advisory committee made up of citizens that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns, and makes recommendations for improving IRS customer service and customer satisfaction.
The panel, established in 2002, consists of about 75 volunteers. To the extent possible, TAP members come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In addition, one member represents U.S. citizens working, living, or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory other than Puerto Rico. To be a member of TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with federal tax obligations, and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check. Members cannot be federally registered lobbyists. In addition, current Department of the Treasury and IRS employees cannot serve on the panel, and former Department of the Treasury or IRS employees and former TAP members must have a three-year separation from their service to be eligible for appointment. Tax practitioner applicants must be in good standing with the IRS (meaning not currently under suspension or disbarment).
The TAP is currently accepting applications for new members or alternates through March 30. New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2020. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.
If the TAP’s mission interests you, we invite you to apply to serve on the panel and help the IRS understand how it can better assist taxpayers. As the IRS works to understand how to do a better job of meeting taxpayer needs, it needs to hear directly from taxpayers – and that’s why the TAP is so important.
TAP members generally spend 200 to 300 hours per year identifying major taxpayer concerns and making recommendations to address them. The TAP’s six core Project Committees submitted 224 recommendations to the IRS in 2019.
Members of the TAP have a wide variety of backgrounds, such as health care, real estate, higher education, military service, and local government. You don’t need any knowledge of tax administration to serve – just a desire to improve the services and operations of the IRS. You can learn more about the TAP in this video or visit www.improveirs.org for more information, including details about the application process.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the National Taxpayer Advocate. The National Taxpayer Advocate presents an independent taxpayer perspective that does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRS, the Treasury Department, or the Office of Management and Budget.
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