IRS Temporarily Halting Passport Revocations for Some Taxpayers Memorandum for Taxpayer Advocate Service Employees NTA Blog In a memorandum to Tax Advocate Service (TAS) employees, the TAS has stated that the IRS will temporarily decertify taxpayers with open TAS cases. Decertification means that taxpayers with seriously delinquent tax debts will, temporarily, not be at risk of having their passports revoked by the State Department merely because of those seriously delinquent tax debts. Background. Code Sec. 7345 authorizes (but does not require) the IRS to certify a taxpayer's seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department for the purposes of passport denial, limitation, or revocation. A seriously delinquent tax debt is an assessed individual tax liability exceeding $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) for which either a notice of federal tax lien has been filed or a levy has been made. IRS must also send a decertification to the Department of State where the certification was in error or where there is no longer a seriously delinquent tax debt. (Code Sec. 7345(b)) The Internal Revenue Manual provides details as to how the IRS certifies and decertifies a taxpayer. (IRM 13.1.24) A decertification protects the taxpayer's passport from being denied, limited, or revoked. The … Read More
pNina Olson – NTA Blog: NTA Farewellp July 31, 2019 Today is the last day of my tenure as the National Taxpayer Advocate. It has been a wild ride over these last 18 years. It will take me years to sort out what has gone on over this period. I have been so privileged to have seen so much, learned so much, worked with wonderful people and assisted long-suffering taxpayers and representatives as they navigate the IRS “underground” (2019 Roadmap). I’ve been fortunate to work with so many committed members of Congress and their staff, in the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisles. The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s remit – to ensure taxpayers are treated right by the IRS and their rights protected – has no party affiliation; witness the recently enacted Taxpayer First Act. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of emails, comments, and reflections these last few weeks. I really don’t know how to express my own gratitude for the patience of taxpayers and their representatives as TAS and I have tried to make their case over the years on all sorts of issues. The way I have been able to accept these tributes … Read More
Taxpayer Roadmap 2019, an Illustration of The Modern United States Tax System The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has mapped out the modern United States tax system – and it makes New York's subway system look simple. You can view a full size version as a PDF here. According to TAS, the map is intended to illustrate "the stages of a taxpayer’s journey through the tax system." The map highlights the complexity of tax administration, with its many connections, overlaps, and repetitions between stages. "It makes clear," explains TAS, "why the road to tax compliance isn’t always easy to navigate." The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), Nina Olson, released the map before her scheduled departure this year. "Anyone looking at this map will understand that we have an incredibly complex tax system that is almost impossible for the average taxpayer to navigate," Olson said. "I personally have spent dozens of hours designing and preparing this map, as have many members of my staff." Olson went on to make clear that there’s more to come. "For every step shown on the map, there are tens of steps and interactions that are impossible to represent in a single document," she explained. "Thus, TAS is working … Read More
Nina Olson’s Final Report: National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson Delivers her Final Report to Congress National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 37th and final report to Congress in advance of her previously announced retirement on July 31. In the preface, Olson reflects on her 18 years in the job and provides her assessment of the key challenges facing the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) in the coming years. The report also presents a review of the 2019 filling season. “I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I have had to advocate on behalf of our nation’s taxpayers,” Olson wrote. “Amazingly, despite the challenges of complying with our multi-million-word tax code, more than 150 million individual taxpayers and more than 10 million business entities do their civic duty every year by filing income tax returns with the IRS. That is an extraordinary achievement and one we should not take for granted.” Olson continued: “But even as the system works for most taxpayers most of the time, it doesn’t work for millions of others. Taxpayer service is woefully inadequate. . . . IRS audit notices are often unclear, leading some taxpayers to ‘agree’ to assessments by default – … Read More
On Friday, March 1, Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), posted her farewell message on the NTA’s blog. In it, she announces that she will retire on July 31, 2019, after eighteen years of service. During her tenure as the NTA, the IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a concept she both advocated for, and played a major part in designing. Ms. Olson hopes to further develop the services surrounding the Taxpayer Bill of Rights prior to her retirement. Among her goals for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights are: the addition of mandatory employee training on identification and public disclosure of Program Manager Technical Advice (PMTA) memoranda; and developing rights-based notices of math errors, collections, and more. Ms. Olson’s voice as the champion for the individual taxpayer will be missed. The National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP) appreciates her years of service with the IRS and wishes her every success in her future endeavors. Ms. Olson’s retirement blog entry can be read in its entirety here.
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress that presents a review of the 2017 Filing Season, identifies the priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will address during the upcoming fiscal year, and contains the IRS’s responses to each of the 93 administrative recommendations the Advocate made in her 2016 Annual Report to Congress. In her preface to the report, Ms. Olson praises the IRS for running a generally successful filing season, including reducing the incidence of identity theft, implementing new accelerated Form W‑2 reporting requirements, and matching Forms W‑2 against tax returns claiming refunds. But Ms. Olson says taxpayers who require assistance from the IRS are continuing to face significant challenges obtaining it. She attributes part of the problem to resource constraints, saying that IRS funding has been reduced by nearly 20 percent since fiscal year (FY) 2010, after adjusting for inflation. While taxpayer services and enforcement activities are both essential for effective tax administration, Ms. Olson says taxpayer services require more emphasis than they are currently receiving. She points out that more than 60 percent of the IRS budget is allocated to enforcement activities while only about 4 percent is allocated … Read More
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