Every year the IRS Oversight Board promulgates an Annual Report which is presented to the U.S. Congress. Earlier this week, the Oversight Board released its 2010 Report and commented on the IRS’s tax filing season and efforts to achieve goals set-out in the agency’s five year Strategic Plan (2009 through 2013).
But what is the IRS Oversight Board, and what does it do? Well, according to IRS tax attorneys the IRS Oversight Board was created thirteen (13) years ago by the legislation captioned The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. These tax lawyers explain further that the Oversight Board was formed to help “improve the IRS so that it may better serve the public and meet the needs of taxpayers.” The Board itself is comprised of nine (9) members and acts as an independent government body tasked with overseeing the IRS’s administration, management, conduct, and direction. Its mission is to provide the IRS with experience, independence, and stability so that it may drive the agency forward in a “cogent, focused direction.”
The Oversight Board’s recently released Annual Report claims the IRS had a successful 2010 tax filing season, but the Board felt the agency had been particularly challenged in the past few years relative to implementing and administering many new tax provisions intended to bring relief to taxpayers suffering through tough economic times. According to the Annual Report, “the IRS has responded well to these challenges, but the result has been to stretch the IRS’ resources both service and enforcement resources for successful implementation.”
Earlier this month a spokesperson for the IRS, Ms. Michelle Eldridge, responding to another recently released report from the Inspector General for Tax Administration, said “the IRS has seen a successful filing season for millions of taxpayers despite significant challenges, including late law changes that delayed return processing.” Ms. Eldridge went on to say “through early April, the IRS has processed nearly 96 million returns, and issued almost 81 million refunds totaling $234 billion.”
Most tax lawyers and other IRS observers agree the agency had a rough filing season. While the IRS did identify 335,341 tax returns making fraudulent claims as of early March of this year, and it did have a 97% capture rate to prevent fraudulent returns, there were a host of problematic issues which plagued the agency this year (e.g. first-time homebuyer credits and deductions for qualifying new car purchases) and demonstrated how truly complex and confusing our tax system really has become.
If you are a distressed taxpayer who has unfiled returns and/or owes back taxes, tax attorneys encouraged you to get help. Tough economic times have caused many taxpayers to run afoul of the IRS and the agency is willing to work with you to fix your tax problems.
Further, tax lawyers warn that not dealing with your tax liabilities can be costly. While the IRS may be stretched too thin, it won’t prevent the agency from coming after you if you wait too long to get those unfiled returns completed and filed, and/or hold off on paying that back taxes you owe. Delays can result added penalties and interest, not to mention you could wind-up being subject to IRS collection activities such as IRS wage garnishments, IRS levies and/or IRS liens. So get help, be proactive, and do your homework and get the answers you need.
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