The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has issued its Annual Report to the US Congress as required by section 7803(c)(2)(B)(ii) of the US Internal Revenue Code (IRC). According to the NTA, Erin M. Collins, "2021 was the most challenging year ever for taxpayers."
This 234-page Annual Report, which was submitted to both the US House Committee on Ways and Means and the US Senate Committee on Finance, includes a summary of the ten most serious problems encountered by taxpayers and offers administrative and legislative recommendations to mitigate those problems.
In brevity, some of the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers were:
- tax refund delays;
- challenges in reaching US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representatives;
- the lack of sufficient and highly trained IRS employees;
- tax collection policies and procedures adversely impacting low-income taxpayers;
- difficulties in tax return filings; and
- the lack of proactive transparency, which failed to provide timely, accurate and clear information.
The NTA also suggested the following legislative recommendations:
- providing sufficient funding to the IRS to improve the taxpayer experience and modernize the IRS's information technology (IT) systems;
- authorizing the IRS to establish minimum competency standards for federal tax return preparers;
- expanding the US Tax Court's jurisdiction to hear tax refund cases and assessable penalties; and
- clarifying that supervisory approval is required under IRC section 6751(b) before proposing penalties.
The IRS issued a News Release (IR-2022-11), dated 12 January 2022, to announce the NTA's Annual Report.
Note: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which is under the supervision and direction of the NTA, is an independent organization within the IRS whose job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly by:
- protecting taxpayers' rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights;
- helping taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS; and
- recommending changes that will prevent the problems.