Congress Criticizes Taxpayer Advocate Report

Article excerpt

Congresswoman Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee's Oversight Subcommittee and is the author of Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2 (TBOR 2), told the Internal Revenue Service that the first report of IRS Taxpayer Advocate Lee Monks, submitted last December 31, fell short of providing the recommended solutions sought by Congress. Under TBOR 2, the taxpayer advocate was given new authority to help taxpayers in hardship situations and to strengthen the role of the field problem resolution officers. The advocate must submit to Congress a progress report on December 31 of each year.

Johnson said TBOR 2 required the taxpayer advocate to identify the 20 most serious problems taxpayers experience in dealing with the IRS and to recommend actions to address those problems. "Monks did not propose any concrete solutions," said Johnson. Johnson also expressed concern that the IRS was slow to respond to public complaints and criticized it for an "arrogant and callous attitude that has left Americans understandably frustrated. From fixing computer problems to responding promptly to taxpayers, the IRS just doesn't get it," said Johnson.

Monks told the House subcommittee that his first report lacked substantive recommendations because he had had only a few months to prepare it. He promised the next December 31 report would include stronger legislative recommendations because he would have had a full year to prepare it while he strengthened the office of the taxpayer advocate under TBOR 2 authority. …