Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taxpayer Advocate Olson--Tis the Season for Compassion

IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson called in her annual report for compassion to delinquent taxpayers with economic hardships such as lost jobs. She called for more clear guidance on the recent IRS steps to provide relief through suspension of collection actions and greater use of offers in compromise and partial payment installment collections. Ms. Olson also called for protection for low-income Social Security recipients against automatic tax levies, regulation of unenrolled tax preparers and a reasonableness check on the size of certain tax penalties.

I hope that incoming President Obama will seriously consider keeping Ms. Olson on as Taxpayer Advocate. During the time that I have been posting on this blog, Ms. Olson has been consistent and usually theoretically sound in her advocacy for American taxpayers.


Blogger Taxpayer_Owner said...

Sure Ms. Olson has talked about the IRS’s shortcomings, ruffled a few feathers, and wrote some tough reports. Unfortunately, Ms. Olson has not been able to get very much accomplished in her seven years on the job other then create a high employee turnover rate. She tried to simplify the tax code by creating a standard definition of a child. When all was said and done, she only made matters worse. So much worse, the law had to be amended.

Ms. Olson also destroyed the very program in the IRS that was set up to assist taxpayers. Before Ms. Olson, if you needed help with a tax problem that was not dealt with satisfactorily through normal channels the IRS would transfer your case over to a group that had the experience in your particular issue and the authority to fix your problem on the spot. Ms. Olson has forsaken this logic. Now if you need help and your case is transferred over to her program it will most likely be assigned to someone that is not experienced or even properly trained to assist you. Moreover, even if the employee understands your situation they will not be able to fix it. They will have to turn around and request the IRS to fix it. Not only is this a poor way to assist taxpayers it also costs taxpayers more money.

The Taxpayer Advocate’s office has an important role of advocating for all taxpayers. While Ms. Olson does an adequate job of this, she does not advocate very well for the individual taxpayer who comes into her office for assistance. For that reason, her employees that work with taxpayers should be reassigned back to the IRS where they will be better trained and better able to quickly assist taxpayers in their moment of need.

7:11 PM  

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