TAP News

IRS extends deadline for 2021 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
applications, adds new members for the 2020 panel

The IRS has extended the deadline for members of the public to apply for membership on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel for 2021. Individuals may submit a TAP application online at www.improveirs.org through April 20, 2020.
 
Please consider this opportunity to make a difference in how the IRS delivers products and services. A video is available with information about the TAP and how volunteers can contribute to this dynamic group.
 
New members for 2020
 
The Internal Revenue Service recommended, and the Department of the Treasury has approved, the selection of 33 new members to serve on the TAP for 2020.
 
The new TAP members will join 32 returning members to round out the panel of 65 volunteers for 2020. The new members were selected from a pool of more than 300 interested individuals who applied during an open recruitment period last spring and alternate members who applied in prior years.
 
The TAP is a federal advisory committee charged with listening to taxpayers, identifying issues, and making suggestions to improve IRS service and customer satisfaction. Oversight and program support for the TAP are provided by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS that helps resolve taxpayer problems and makes administrative and legislative recommendations to mitigate systemic problems.
 
Members of the TAP work on a variety of issues that impact taxpayers in the key areas where the IRS and the public interact the most. Members also serve as a conduit for bringing grassroots concerns raised by the taxpaying public to the attention of the IRS.
 
TAP members are U.S. citizens who volunteer to serve a three-year appointment and are expected to devote 200 to 300 hours per year to panel activities. To the extent possible, TAP members are demographically and geographically diverse, providing balanced representation from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In addition, there is one TAP member from abroad who represents the interests of taxpayers working, living, or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory.
 
The new TAP members by location:
 
 First Name  Last Name  City  State/Territory
 James  Sharmat  Santa Monica  CA
 Sandy  Villella  Wildomar  CA
 Cynthia  Torres  Riverside  CA
 Martha  Lewis  Colorado Springs  CO
 Barbara  Snowden  West Haven  CT
 Alexas  Pickron  Townsend  DE
 Joseph  Maygar  Tampa  FL
 Charles  Jones  Green Cove Springs  FL
 Nina  Tross  Apollo Beach  FL
 Ying  Sa  Des Moines  IA
 Hercules Iraklis  Analitis  Urbana  IL
 Jordan  Bayles  Terre Haute  IN
 Paula  King  Lexington  KY
 Kimberly  Shepherd  Monroe  LA
 Dorothy  Havey  Lincolnville  ME
 Jocelyn  Gutowski  Saint Robert  MO
 Jessica  Wilson  Byram  MS
 Jim  Buttonow  Summerfield  NC
 Edward  Donovan  Holly Springs  NC
 Cedric  Obiaka  Omaha  NE
 Kenneth  Lewis  New York City  NY
 T Renee  Parker  Brentwood  NY
 Patrice  Brown  Brooklyn  NY
 Thomas  Kerr  Amherst  NY
 Laurie  Brock  Eugene  OR
 Lindsey  Funair  Du Bois  PA
 Michael  Avery  San Juan  PR
 Brandon  Ruest  North Providence  RI
 Leigh Ann  Wood  Columbia  SC
 Joseph  Edelen  Vermillion  SD
 Marlon  Bell  Pearland  TX
 Cassandra  Knight-Paige  Houston  TX
 Richard  Brouillard  Waterloo  WI
 
 
Taxpayers can contact the TAP representative for their geographic area by calling 888-912-1227 (a toll-free call) or online at www.improveirs.org
 
Taxpayers can also send written correspondence to the TAP at the following address:
 
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
TA:TAP, Room 1509
1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20224
 
 

Still considering volunteering with the Taxpayer Advocacy
Panel (TAP)?

TAP’s open season for accepting applications for the 2021 panel has been extended. You may apply through April 20, 2020.
 
For additional information about the TAP or the application process, visit www.improveirs.org or call 888-912-1227 (a toll-free call) and select prompt number five. Callers outside the U.S. may call 214-413-6523 (not a toll-free call) or email the TAP staff at taxpayeradvocacypanel@irs.gov.
 
 

What members are saying about the TAP

The Internal Revenue Service is seeking civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). See what current members are saying about the TAP:
 
 
“The most rewarding part of volunteering with TAP is interacting with people from across the US on issues that impact every taxpayer. Collaborating with TAP members and IRS representatives provides an opportunity to produce positive results. Changes range from updating forms to solving international taxpayer issues. The problems we address are diverse and impactful. Serving on TAP is an excellent way to affect change in our government. I encourage any civic-minded individual to apply.”
 
 
“It's inspiring that there is a group of people who care about improving the IRS enough to invest their own time to do so.”
 
 
“This is my first year, and it’s pretty exciting so far. It’s pretty amazing to work side by side with IRS staff and other volunteers from around the country and learning about ways to partner with IRS. Not only is it giving me new experience in working on productive teams, but it gives me access to what IRS is doing to modernize their IT systems. It’s a chance to actually make a difference by making recommendations to the IRS that come from taxpayers; serving on a federal advisory committee, I would recommend to anyone looking for a challenge in improving government for all of us.”
 
 
Taxpayers interested in serving on the panel may apply through April 20. For additional information about the TAP or the application process, visit www.improveirs.org or call 888-912-1227 (a toll-free call) and select prompt number five. Callers outside the U.S. may call 214-413-6523 (not a toll-free call) or email the TAP staff at taxpayeradvocacypanel@irs.gov.
 
 

IRS seeks volunteers to be the voice of the Taxpayer on the
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

The Internal Revenue Service today announced it is seeking civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP).
 
The TAP is a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns, and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction.
 
Taxpayers interested in serving on the panel may apply through April 20.
 
"To meet the needs of the taxpaying public, it is critical that the IRS listen to taxpayers to hear what their needs and preferences are," said Bridget T. Roberts, the Acting National Taxpayer Advocate. "The citizen volunteers who serve on the TAP hear from taxpayers and then bring their collective voice and recommendations to the IRS.
 
The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS Commissioner and the National Taxpayer Advocate. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS that provides support for and oversight of the TAP.
 
To the extent possible, the TAP includes members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and one member representing international taxpayers. Each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in their geographic location as well as taxpayers overall. For the TAP, "international taxpayers" are broadly defined to include U. S. citizens working, living, or doing business abroad or in U.S. territories.
 
The TAP is seeking members in the following locations: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
 
The panel is seeking alternates in the following locations: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
 
Federal advisory committees are required to have a balanced membership in terms of points of view represented. As such, applicants from under-represented groups, such as Native Americans and non-tax professionals, are particularly encouraged to apply. All timely applications, however, will be given consideration.
 
New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2020. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.
 
To be a member of the TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with his or her federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year, and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check. Members cannot be federally registered lobbyists. Current Department of the Treasury or IRS employees cannot serve on the panel, and former Department of the Treasury or IRS employees and former TAP members must have a three-year separation from their service to be considered for appointment. Tax practitioner applicants must be in good standing with the IRS (meaning not currently under suspension or disbarment).
 
For additional information about the TAP or the application process, visit www.improveirs.org or call 888-912-1227 (a toll-free call) and select prompt number five. Callers outside the U.S. may call 214-413-6523 (not a toll-free call) or email the TAP staff at taxpayeradvocacypanel@irs.gov.
 
A video is available with more information about the TAP and how to contribute to this dynamic group of volunteers.
 
 

New Form 1040-SR, Alternative Filing Option Available
for Seniors

The Internal Revenue Service wants seniors to know about the availability of a new tax form, Form 1040-SR, featuring larger print and a standard deduction chart with a goal of making it easier for older Americans to read and use.
 
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 required the IRS to create a tax form for seniors. Taxpayers age 65 or older now have the option to use Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors. Form 1040-SR, when printed, features larger font and better readability.
 
Taxpayers who electronically file Form 1040-SR may notice the change when they print their return. More than 90% of taxpayers now use tax software to prepare and file their tax return.
 
Taxpayers born before January 2, 1955, have the option to file Form 1040-SR whether they are working, not working or retired. The form allows income reporting from other sources common to seniors such as investment income, Social Security and distributions from qualified retirement plans, annuities or similar deferred-payment arrangements.
 
Seniors can use Form 1040-SR to file their 2019 federal income tax return, which is due April 15, 2020. All lines and checkboxes on Form 1040-SR mirror the Form 1040, and both forms use all the same attached schedules and forms. The revised 2019 Instructions cover both Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.
 
Eligible taxpayers can use Form 1040-SR whether they plan to itemize or take the standard deduction. Taxpayers who itemize deductions can file Form 1040-SR with a Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, when filing their return. For those taking the standard deduction, Form 1040-SR includes a chart listing the standard deduction amounts, making it easier to calculate. It also ensures seniors are aware of the increased standard deduction for taxpayers age 65 and older.
 
Married people filing a joint return can use the Form 1040-SR regardless of whether one or both spouses are age 65 or older or retired.
 
Both the 1040 and the 1040-SR use the same "building block" approach introduced last year that can be supplemented with additional Schedules 1, 2 and 3 as needed. Many taxpayers with basic tax situations can file Form 1040 or 1040-SR with no additional schedules.
 
 

National Taxpayer Advocate Delivers Annual Report to
Congress: Focuses on Taxpayer First Act Implementation,
Taxpayer Service, and IRS Funding

Acting National Taxpayer Advocate Bridget Roberts today released her 2019 Annual Report to Congress.  Key challenges highlighted in the report include implementation of the Taxpayer First Act, inadequate taxpayer service, and limited funding of the agency.
 
Roberts also released the third edition of the National Taxpayer Advocate's "Purple Book," which presents 58 legislative recommendations designed to strengthen taxpayer rights and improve tax administration.
 
The report highlights that the Taxpayer First Act, enacted into law on July 1, 2019, has made the most comprehensive revisions to IRS procedures since the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, including some 23 provisions previously recommended by the National Taxpayer Advocate.
 
Roberts also noted that long-time National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson retired five months ago, and a permanent replacement has not yet been appointed. "While I am honored to serve as the Acting National Taxpayer Advocate," Roberts wrote, "the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate – and taxpayers – deserve a permanent appointee."
 
Highlights of the report are summarized below.
 
The IRS Is Struggling to Accomplish Its Mission
 
According to its mission statement, the IRS aims to "[p]rovide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all." The report says the IRS is struggling to meet both of those goals.
 
The IRS Does Not Receive Enough Funding to Meet Taxpayer Needs
 
The report urges Congress to increase IRS funding and to change the budget rules to account for the revenue additional IRS appropriations are likely to generate. In FY 2018, the IRS collected nearly $3.5 trillion on a budget of about $11.4 billion. "It is economically irrational to underfund the IRS," the report says. "If a company's accounts receivable department could generate an ROI [return on investment] of 300:1 and the chief executive officer (CEO) failed to provide enough funding for it to do so, the CEO would be fired. Yet in general, the federal budget rules exclusively take into account outlays and ignore the revenue those outlays generate."
 
Other Major Issues Addressed
 
The National Taxpayer Advocate's 2019 annual report has been consolidated and differs from prior reports in two ways. First, the Taxpayer First Act reduced the number of "most serious problems" the National Taxpayer Advocate must identify from at least 20 to ten. Second, the National Taxpayer Advocate initiated the Purple Book two years ago as a supplement to more detailed legislative recommendations proposed in the main volume of the report. This year, all legislative recommendations have been consolidated into the Purple Book, and the longer-form recommendations have been eliminated.
 
TAS Research Studies
 
The report presents research studies on the following topics: 
  • The subsequent compliance of taxpayers who received educational letters from the National Taxpayer Advocate after they appeared to have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in error in the prior year.
  • IRS compliance with rules governing the imposition of two-year bans on eligibility for refundable tax credits.
  • The specific deterrence implications of increased reliance on correspondence audits.
  • The extent to which the IRS continues to erroneously approve Form 1023-EZ applications.
 
Please visit www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov/2019AnnualReport for more information.
 
 

 

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