National Taxpayer Advocate Reviews Filing Season and Identifies Priority Areas and Challenges in Mid-Year Report to Congress

FY 2018 Objectives Report to Congress Cover

To maintain and increase high voluntary compliance levels, it’s imperative that the tax administrator make tax compliance as simple and painless as possible.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson today released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress that presents a review of the 2017 Filing Season (FS), identifies priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will address during the upcoming fiscal year (FY), and contains the IRS’s responses to the 93 recommendations the Advocate made in her 2016 Annual Report to Congress.

Ms. Olson praises the IRS for a generally successful 2017 FS, including reducing the incidence of identity theft, implementing accelerated Form W-2 reporting requirements and matching Forms W-2 against tax returns claiming refunds. But Ms. Olson says taxpayers requiring assistance from the IRS still face significant challenges.

While taxpayer services and enforcement activities are essential for effective tax administration, Ms. Olson says taxpayer services require more emphasis than they currently receive. She points out that more than 60 percent of the IRS budget is allocated to enforcement activities while only about 4 percent is allocated for taxpayer outreach and education. Ms. Olson recommends that the IRS expand outreach and education activities and improve telephone services and that Congress provide the IRS with sufficient funding to provide high quality taxpayer service and conduct more oversight to ensure the IRS is spending funding as intended.

Overview of the Filing Season

Overall, the IRS deserves credit for implementing multiple new legislative requirements related to the PATH Act. Taxpayers benefited from higher service levels and…

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