“In submitting this report, I’m finally able to deliver some good news. The taxpayer experience vastly improved during the 2023 filing season. Despite these improvements, the IRS is still behind in processing amended tax returns and taxpayer correspondence.”
During Filing Season 2023, the IRS improved not only its processing of original returns but also the performance on its Accounts Management phone lines compared to recent years. But this improvement came with expected costs, e.g., creating a new paper backlog in amended returns and taxpayer correspondence. In addition, to answering calls, the employees process responses to IRS notices and many types of taxpayers requests such as applications for Employer Identification Numbers, a high percentage of Identity Theft Victim Assistance cases, and the tax return preparer applications. For victims of identity theft, the delays have been particularly long and frustrating. The average cycle for ID Theft Victim Assistance cases closed in April 2023 was 436 days.
Systemic Advocacy Objectives describe the objectives TAS will pursue to address systemic issues causing taxpayer burden or harm. Similar to the way Most Serious Problems are identified in the Annual Report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate calls upon a multitude of sources to assist in identifying Systemic Advocacy Objectives including the experience of TAS staff, trends in advocacy efforts and TAS casework, and interactions with practitioners and external stakeholders.
TAS’s Systemic Advocacy Objectives for FY 2024 are:
TAS seeks to use a data-driven approach to improve IRS services for all taxpayers. TAS recommends that the IRS increasingly incorporate technology into its service offerings, most notably by expanding its online and digital services, while increasing the ease of accessibility of these tools to the vast majority of taxpayers. While taxpayers desperately need efficient access to IRS online services, the IRS also needs to ensure the effectiveness and availability of traditional services, such as sending correspondence to taxpayers, timely responding to or processing replies from taxpayers, and promptly answering telephone inquiries on its toll-free lines.
Five research projects are scheduled to begin in FY 2024.
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 2022 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.