ASK THE CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT TAX AND PAYROLL TAX ATTORNEY – NATIONAL TAXPAYER ADVOCATE’S 2023 REPORT ON THE IRS LEAVES MUCH TO BE IMPROVED
By Robert S. Schriebman
Every California taxing agency and the IRS engage the services of a Taxpayer Advocate. It is the job of the Advocate to help the taxpayer when the taxpayer experiences out of the ordinary situations and problems. I have often gone to the EDD’s Taxpayer Advocate for assistance when the normal EDD chain of command cannot solve my client’s issue. The job of the IRS Advocate is similar, but the IRS Advocate also has the job of reporting to Congress annually to call attention to improvements and recommendations for better and more efficient taxpayer service.
Erin M. Collins is the IRS Taxpayer Advocate. She functions independently of the IRS. On January 12, 2023 she released her 2022 Annual Report to Congress. (See IR-2023-4). Most of her news was not new at all. Taxpayers experienced more misery in 2022 due to IRS delays in processing paper returns as well as overall poor customer service. She acknowledged that the GAO report showing the IRS reduced the volume of unprocessed paper tax returns and backlogged correspondence.
Ms. Collins, in her annual report, made numerous recommendations to the IRS to address ongoing taxpayer problems such as the following:
- The IRS needs to hire and train more people who will then hire and train future IRS employees
- Improve the readability of IRS tax transcripts
- Enable all taxpayers to e-file their tax returns
Ms. Collins also proposed 65 legislative recommendations for Congress to consider when enacting new legislation. Here are a few of her recommendations:
- Amend the “Lookback Period” to allow tax refunds for certain taxpayers who took advantage of the postponed filing deadlines due to COVID-19.
- Authorize the IRS to establish minimum standards of competence for paid tax return preparers
- Expand the Tax Court’s jurisdiction to hear refund cases and assessable penalties
- Abolish the requirement that written receipts from recognized charities must pre-date the filing of a tax return
- Expand the protection of taxpayer rights by strengthening the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)
Of all the recommendations set forth by the National Taxpayer Advocate, I think the most important are improving the readability of tax transcripts and expanding the jurisdiction of the Tax Court to hear refund cases. Currently the US District Courts and the Court of Federal Claims are the only courts that are allowed to hear refund cases. The US Tax Court was originally established so the average “Joe Citizen” would be able to have access to contest a tax matter without first having to pay any tax. The Tax Court has always been less formal and more taxpayer friendly.
Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 50 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments. Mr. Schriebman is in private practice. He is not affiliated in any way with the EDD, and he is not employed by the EDD or any other agency of the State of California.
Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
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