Daily Tax Update - January 10, 2017: National Taxpayer AdvocateAnnual Report Recommends Simplified Tax Code and Taxpayer-Centric Focus

National Taxpayer Advocate Annual Report Recommends Simplified Tax Code and Taxpayer-Centric Focus:  Today, the National Taxpayer Advocate released its 2016 Annual Report to Congress, which focuses on the following three foundational themes: (1) the need for comprehensive tax reform and simplification of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) the need for IRS engagement with taxpayers in order to foster and keep voluntary compliance; and (3) the need for establishing minimum standards of and testing for competency of federal tax return preparers.  The report further states that to create an environment that encourages taxpayer trust and confidence, the IRS must change its culture from one that is enforcement-oriented to one that is service-oriented.  The report also identifies several other areas of tax administration requiring attention, including the IRS’s need for increased funding and the IRS’s outdated technology and infrastructure.  

To prepare the report, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson traveled the country and held 12 public forums on taxpayer needs and preferences, hearing directly from taxpayers and their representatives about the challenges they face complying with the tax laws and dealing with the IRS.  The Taxpayer Advocate Service also held focus groups with tax preparers and practitioners and conducted a nationwide survey of US taxpayers to learn what they need in the way of taxpayer service.