The IRS National Taxpayer Advocate – Nina Olson, is required to issue an annual report to Congress. The 2016 report was released 1/10/17. These reports are always a great read. The report lists the mots “serious issues” in the tax system and makes recommendations for improvement. The 2016 report focuses a lot on the IRS “Future State” project and tax reform.
I’ll cover parts of the report in future posts over the next few weeks.
I’ll start with a comment make in the IRS press release (IR-2017-02), it made me chuckle.
The IRS Future State is a project started a while back, but primarily brought to public attention by the NTA’s 2015 report to Congress. It aims to use modern technology to best assist taxpayers. The IRS has diagrams for each of its four divisions on how the Future State taxpayer-IRS interactions might function. See for example, how the IRS Wage and Investment Division might interact with taxpayer Jane. In the 2016 report, the NTA points out the following trait about the four vignettes:
“Each vignette shows the IRS contacting a taxpayer to conduct an audit or otherwise challenge a taxpayer’s return, and in every case, the vignette shows the taxpayer ultimately conceding the IRS is correct and consenting to the IRS’s proposed adjustment – all in a digital environment. That all four operating divisions chose to illustrate their Future State by showing that they were right and the taxpayer was wrong is concerning, the report says. “Nowhere did [any] vignette demonstrate how the taxpayer could prevail in the system of the future,” it adds.”
That’s a good question. Why doesn’t at least one vignette show that the taxpayer was correct?
What do you think?