On July 26, 2018, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Protecting Taxpayers Act before the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. This act comes in response to what many believe is a long overdue need to address IRS inefficiencies and bolster taxpayer protections.
The bill aims to make enhancements to the IRS to increase responsiveness and accountability, and better serve the American taxpayer. The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), Nina Olson, has cited decreased funding, outdated databases, and inadequate staffing as reasons behind the decline of sufficient taxpayer service throughout the years, to the point where only 29% of phone calls seeking to reach an IRS representative is actually answered. To that end, the bill provides for significant improvements to IRS information technology. Currently, there is no single database that compiles and organizes all of a taxpayer’s encounters or engagements with the Service. As Ms. Olson stated, “The left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” which is a frequent lament of anyone who deals with the IRS on a regular basis. The measures in this bill would improve the information technology that tracks taxpayers’ interactions with the Service to streamline and expedite their engagements with the system.
The Protecting Taxpayers Act also proposes improvements in organizational structure, restoring IRS authority over regulating paid preparers, overhauling the appeals process, enhancing services for low-income taxpayers, and refreshing management functions, including programs to incentivize increased performance.
While the bill does not address all of the shortcomings raised by Portman, Olson, and others, it could be a step in the right direction toward improving the revenue-raising arm of the government, which in the view of many, has been underperforming for years.
If you are having difficulty making contact with the IRS or have any related questions, our taxpayer advocacy professionals can help resolve your matter. Please contact Patrick Deane or Larry Rubin at 301.231.6200.