The Internal Revenue Service is looking for civic-minded volunteers to serve on its Taxpayer Advocacy Panel.

The federal advisory committee is tasked with listening to taxpayers, identifying key issues, and making recommendations for improving service from the agency.

“TAP members are a voice for the nation’s taxpayers and provide valuable insights that are important to effective tax administration,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a statement.

The TAP provides a forum for taxpayers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to raise concerns about IRS service and offer suggestions for improvement. The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS commissioner and the National Taxpayer Advocate. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the IRS, provides oversight and funding for the TAP.

“In trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax system, taxpayers may find they need different services than the IRS is currently providing,” said National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. “The TAP is vital because it provides the IRS with the taxpayers’ perspective as well as recommendations for improvement that will help the IRS deliver the best possible service to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations.”

Members of the TAP must be U.S. citizens, current with their federal tax obligations, able to commit 300 to 500 hours during the year, and able to pass an FBI criminal background check.  New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2011. Anyone chosen as an alternate member will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their area during the next three years.

The TAP is seeking members in the following locations:  Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Alternates are needed for Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Applications for the TAP will be accepted through April 29, 2011. Applications are available online at www.improveirs.org. For additional information about the TAP or the application process, call 1(888) 912-1227.

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