The IRS is seeking volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, an advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction.

The TAP includes members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus one member abroad who represents U.S. taxpayers living overseas. Each member is appointed to represent their geographic location as well as taxpayers as a whole.

A TAP member must be a U.S. citizen, not be a current employee of any bureau of the Treasury Department or have worked for any bureau of the Treasury within three years preceding Dec. 1 of the current year; be current with federal tax filing and payment obligations; be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year; and pass an FBI criminal background check. Individuals who practice before the IRS must be in good standing with the IRS.

New members will serve a three-year term starting in December. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.

The TAP is seeking members in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

The TAP is also seeking to include at least one additional member to represent international taxpayers, the latter defined broadly to include U.S. citizens working, living or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory.

The TAP is also seeking alternate members for all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Alternate members are particularly needed in Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Nebraska.

The TAP reports annually to the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS commissioner and the National Taxpayer Advocate.

Individuals from under-represented groups, such as Native Americans and non-tax professionals, are encouraged to apply. However, all timely applications will be considered. Applications will be accepted through April 24.

Those interested must apply online at www.usajobs.gov. For more information, visit www.improveirs.org and select the “Join TAP” tab, or call (888) 912-1227 and select Option Five. Those interested can also contact the TAP staff at taxpayeradvocacypanel@irs.gov. Callers outside the U.S. and U.S. territories should call (214) 413-6523 (not a toll-free call).

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Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.