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Report Highlights

“In the coming months, the IRS must work through its backlog of tax returns and be current in processing its correspondence while focusing on rebuilding itself to become a more efficient and taxpayer-centric organization. In the coming years, the IRS must modernize its operations to better meet taxpayer needs, reduce administrative burdens, and improve the delivery of services.”

 

Erin M. Collins, National Taxpayer Advocate

Review of the 2021 Filing Season

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the IRS’s customer service performance, and its ability to adequately assist taxpayers continues to be negatively affected. The combination of pandemic-induced shutdowns, three rounds of Economic Impact Payments, challenges with paper return filings, a backlog of over 35 million suspended 2020 returns, and the responsibilities of implementing new legislation resulted in a challenging 2021 filing season for the IRS and tens of millions of taxpayers — one that will continue to be analyzed for lessons learned for future filing seasons.

TAS Case Advocacy and Other Business Objectives

TAS Case Advocacy and Other Business Objectives describe activities TAS will pursue to advance its advocacy efforts for individual taxpayers through casework. This section also details planned TAS activities for organizational improvement and promotion of its advocacy efforts. Local case advocates work directly with taxpayers on identifying issues, researching solutions, and advocating on taxpayers’ behalf within the IRS. TAS’s goal is to continuously improve its internal processes and business operations on behalf of taxpayers.

TAS’s Case Advocacy and Business Objectives for FY 2022 are:

  1. Expand Digital Interaction With Taxpayers
  2. Identify Case Processing Efficiencies
  3. Update Service Level Agreements
  4. Evaluate the Expansion of TAS Delegated Authorities
  5. Expand Outreach and Promote Faster Resolution of Taxpayer Issues
  6. Explore New Recruitment Opportunities to Support Increased Hiring Needs
  7. Revamp New Hire Training
  8. Expand Leadership Development Opportunities

TAS Research Objectives

TAS Research Objectives focus on understanding how IRS procedures and tax laws affect taxpayers and how taxpayers react to IRS actions. The objectives of TAS Research are to improve IRS operations and assist the IRS with balancing its compliance efforts with taxpayer rights.

  1. Study Taxpayer Needs and Preferences for IRS Online Account Activities
  2. Study Taxpayer Non-Response to Certain IRS Actions
  3. Study the Effect of Potential Changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit Structure
  4. Study Processing Errors Identified With Forms 4029

IRS Responses to Administrative Recommendations Proposed in the National Taxpayer Advocate's 2020 Annual Report to Congress

The National Taxpayer Advocate is required by statute to submit a year-end report to Congress that, among other things, describes the ten most serious problems facing taxpayers and makes administrative recommendations to mitigate those problems. The report includes the IRS’s general responses identified in her 2020 year-end report as well as specific responses to each recommendation. In addition, it contains TAS’s analysis of the IRS’s responses and, in some cases, details TAS’s disagreement with the IRS’s position.