National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson released her 2014 annual report to Congress, which expresses concern that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since at least 2001 when the IRS implemented its current performance measures. The report makes the case that the recent budget environment has brought about an erosion of taxpayer service at the IRS, and that taxpayer protections have been eroded by a lack of effective administrative and congressional oversight, coupled with a failure to pass taxpayer rights legislation. The report states these trends are reshaping tax administration – but the downward slide can be addressed if Congress makes an investment in the IRS and holds it accountable for how it applies that investment.
“The erosion of taxpayer trust is an even more serious matter than the erosion of taxpayer service, because with the provision of adequate funding, declines in taxpayer service can be reversed. Not so with declines in trust – once lost, trust takes a very long time to be regained. For a taxpayer whose trust has been shaken, each IRS failure to meet basic expectations (e.g., answer the phone…) confirms the belief that the IRS is not to be trusted.”
– Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate
Read the 2014 Annual Report to Congress.