National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has delivered a report to Congress outlining the priority issues her office will tackle in the coming fiscal year.

The report identifies four areas of particular emphasis:

  • Rules governing the use or disclosure of tax return information by return preparers -- Olson said that that some improvements to the rules proposed late last year can be made, and she advocates for limiting the use and disclosure of tax return information to instances where it is necessary for tax-administration purposes.
  • New partial payment requirement with submissions of offers in compromise -- Legislation enacted this year will require taxpayers who submit lump sum offers to make a down payment of 20 percent of the amount of the offer with the submission. Olson writes that this requirement will reduce the number of viable offers the Internal Revenue Service receives, increase the number of accounts not resolved, and reduce the amount of revenue collected. Se intends to make a legislative recommendation to repeal the requirement in her year-end report to Congress.
  • Guidance on non-hardship effective tax administration offers -- In 1998, Congress expanded the authority of the IRS to compromise tax debts by directing it to consider equity, public policy and hardship in certain cases. This year, Olson will push within the IRS for broader dissemination of the guidance.
  • Private debt collection initiative -- In 2004, Congress granted the IRS the authority to use private debt collectors to collect certain tax debts, and the IRS is now working actively to implement the initiative in the coming months. Olson has stated her opposition to this initiative and her office will monitor the program, closely.

In a separate report, Olson also examines the role the IRS plays in facilitating the refund anticipation loan industry, and makes recommendations to improve refund delivery to taxpayers. She believes that the IRS's rule permitting an electronic return originators to purchase up to a 49 percent ownership interest in RALs creates a conflict between the ERO's and the taxpayer's financial interests.The National Taxpayer Advocate is required to submit two annual reports to the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance.
The full reports are available at www.irs.gov/advocate/article/0,,id=159974,00.html.

Previously on WebCPA:

IRS Private Debt Collection Plan Resumes (June 22, 2006)

IRS Overhauls Questionable Refund Program (Feb. 8, 2006)

Taxpayer Advocate Releases '05 Report (Jan. 11, 2006)

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