2014 TAP News

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel releases 2013 Annual Report

We are the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a Federal Advisory Committee consisting of citizen volunteers from across the nation, and we formally issued our 2013 Annual Report to the Secretary of the Treasury, Commissioner of Internal Revenue and National Taxpayer Advocate on Dec. 8, 2014.

In 2013, we worked diligently to communicate with taxpayers, identify issues and concerns that taxpayers face in complying with their tax obligations, and develop recommendations to address those concerns.

The report summarizes our key accomplishments and activities, including 42 projects and 148 recommendations submitted to the IRS in 2013.

The 2013 TAP Annual Report highlights our key recommendations to improve IRS customer service, including:

  • Tax Software and E-filed Forms – We established a focus group and provided critique from the perspective of a diverse cross-section of taxpayers after evaluating Tax Software and e-filed Tax Forms.
  • Transcript Requests for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FSFSA) – We designed a step-by-step illustration of how students can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to complete a FAFSA Application without having to contact the IRS to obtain a copy of their transcript
  • Small Business Taxes – Virtual Workshop. We were asked by IRS to review the overall design and functionality of the online Small Business Taxes Virtual Workshop. We reviewed nine lessons and the introduction, and made numerous recommendations. As a result, the IRS immediately began implementing changes. 
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Issues – We made 14 separate recommendations to improve the ITIN process. Our thorough recommendations point the IRS toward the implementation of some fixes for a critically outdated method of taxpayers establishing required identification of family members to participate in government programs.
  • Increase Use of the Online Payment Agreement (OPA) – We made five separate recommendations to increase taxpayer and practitioner use of the OPA application to establish payment plans. These included improving the training on the availability of the OPA, providing easy to find links, and more. 

Visit the Annual Reports page to learn about our additional activities in 2013, view the full 2013 annual report and to view past annual reports.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson
Releases Objectives Report to Congress

National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina Olson's FY 2015 Objectives Report to Congress, released July 16, 2014, identifies key issues, goals and activities the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will focus on during the upcoming fiscal year. These include the implementation of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, resolving refund delays for victims of return preparer fraud, and the need for minimum standards for tax return preparers. This year's report also includes a Volume II that outlines formal IRS responses to the 25 most serious taxpayer problems identified by the NTA in her 2013 Annual Report to Congress, as well as the NTA’s comments on those responses.  Learn more on the Objectives Report to Congress page of TAS’s Tax Toolkit.

2014 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Recruitment Period Closed

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's (TAP) 2014 membership application period closed on April 12, 2014. TAP sincerely thanks all applicants who expressed interest in volunteering to further TAP’s mission to improve the IRS. During the open recruiting period, from March 7, 2014 through April 12, 2014, TAP received more than 350 applications for Panel membership from American taxpayers, including U.S. citizens living abroad or in a U.S. territory to raise awareness of tax issues facing international taxpayers.

To select new members, TAP staff will carefully review all applications submitted during the 2014 recruitment period. The TAP director will then submit TAP membership recommendations to the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina Olson and the IRS commissioner for approval, and finally to the Department of the Treasury for selection. Check back for the introduction of new Taxpayer Advocacy Panel members, who will begin their three-year terms in December 2014.

Thanks again to those who volunteered to serve as listening posts for taxpaying citizens, identify taxpayers’ issues, and recommend change to improve IRS customer service and satisfaction by applying for TAP membership. If you are interested in serving as a TAP member but were unable to apply during the 2014 application period, please visit the Join TAP page to sign up for an email alert when TAP member openings are available in your area. You may also check this website early spring 2015 for information on the next recruitment period.

Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Recruiting Dedicated
Citizens to Volunteer and Improve the IRS

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) is seeking volunteers in select states with the opening of its recruitment period on March 7, 2014. TAP is a Federal Advisory Committee, comprised of dedicated citizens who have volunteered to serve as listening posts for taxpayers, identify taxpayers‘ issues, and recommend change to improve IRS customer service and satisfaction. Federal advisory committees are required to have a fairly balanced membership in terms of the points of view represented. As such, candidates from underrepresented groups, including but not limited to, U.S. taxpayers living abroad, Native Americans, and non- tax practitioners, are encouraged to apply. TAP members serve three-year terms and commit 200 to 300 hours each year to help elevate taxpayer concerns about IRS service and suggest changes. Consider joining and apply before the April 11, 2014 deadline!

“In trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax system, taxpayers may find they need different services than the IRS is currently providing,” said Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate. “The TAP is vital because it provides the IRS with the taxpayers‘ perspective as well as recommendations for improvement. This helps the IRS deliver the best possible service to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations.”

TAP reports directly to the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS Commissioner and the National Taxpayer Advocate, who leads the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that provides oversight of the TAP.

TAP is currently seeking members in the following states, as well as internationally: Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

TAP also needs alternate members for the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina and West Virginia.

TAP represents taxpayers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in his or her geographic location as well as taxpayers as a whole. To learn more about being a TAP member, to find out if there are openings in your state or to apply, visit the Join TAP page.

2014 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Members Selected

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) is pleased to announce that the Internal Revenue Service recommended and the Department of Treasury approved the selection of 27 new members to serve on the nationwide Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. The new TAP members will join 46 returning members to round out the panel of 73 volunteers for 2014. The new members were selected from more than 400 interested individuals from across the country who applied during an open recruitment period last spring or the pool of alternate members who applied in prior years.

"TAP member volunteers are counted on to recognize important taxpayer issues and bring them to our attention,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Their work and advice help the IRS serve the nation‘s taxpayers.”

The panel listens to taxpayers, identifies issues and makes suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. Oversight and TAP program support are provided by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS that helps resolve taxpayer problems and makes recommendations to avoid future problems.

A list of the new TAP members by location is included below.

Last Name First Name City State
Goia Daniela Garden Grove CA
Jeppson Catherine Northridge CA
Webber Stephen Glendale CA
Halleman Dan Thornton CO
Kautzman Mary Windermere FL
Cooney Gretchen Holstein IA
VanSingel Andrew Brookfield IL
Thies David Alton IL
Jones Gina Delhi LA
Tucker Hyacinth Bowie MD
Chaney Elizabeth Lansing MI
Robinette L. Keith Ozark MO
Fulton Jamelda Greenville MS
Bell Jerome Fayetteville NC
Trottier Angie Mandan ND
Moore Page Omaha NE
Aguirre Juan Cleveland Heights OH
Kindred Samuel Westerville OH
Mathews Jeanne South Park PA
Patel Mahendra Mechanicsburg PA
Mendez Giovanni San Juan PR
Paquette Roger Cumberland RI
Scott-Bailey Jacqueline Columbia SC
Mayer Lonnie Tripp SD
Vetter William Cypress TX
Murphy-Adams Elizabeth Tacoma WA
Slough John Martinsburg WV

NTA Releases Annual Report to Congress

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson released her 2013 Annual Report to Congress on Jan. 9, 2014. The report identifies the most serious problems facing taxpayers today and provides recommendations to fix them. For more information and access to the full report, visit the 2013 Annual Report to Congress.




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