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Press Release


IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights Praiseworthy, But Follow-Through Is Key Test

For Immediate Release June 11, 2014
Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Washington, DC) -- Today, National Taxpayers Union (NTU), the nation’s oldest and largest taxpayer advocacy organization, responded to the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner’s announcement confirming official adoption of a new 10-point Taxpayer Bill of Rights.  An NTU representative served on the federal panel whose recommendations became the basis for the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the most ambitious tax-agency overhaul in decades.

“The IRS’ new Taxpayer Bill of Rights is an encouraging affirmation of customer service principles, and an acknowledgement of protections every taxpayer deserves in their interactions with the agency.”

“The persistence and initiative of the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate in developing and promoting this measure ought to send a positive message. Yet, this overdue step in the right direction can only provide meaningful guidance if it is backed with consequences for those in the bureaucracy who refuse to abide by it.”

“The latest National Taxpayer Advocate report details problems that continue to plague the IRS, ones that would violate many of the principles in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Some of the most prominent examples are the long wait times for phone assistance, and the chronic pursuit of payment from taxpayers who the IRS knows do not owe what the agency is attempting to collect.”

“Furthermore, what does the ‘Right to Finality’ mean in the context of recent news that the IRS statute of limitations on debt collection has been scrapped, allowing them to pursue the children of deceased debtors?”

“The fact that these are just some of the relevant questions raised by the new bill of rights, shows taxpayers will likely take a wait and see approach to this good news until there are tangible signs that officials have committed to follow the Advocate’s lead.”

“Congress will also have to act to secure protections for all taxpayers over the long-term. Recent legislation like the Small Business Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act or the Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2014, among many other positive proposals tracked by NTU, will be necessary. Affirming in law the rights that the IRS has just articulated in the revised Publication 1 is likewise essential to ensuring these safeguards will have teeth.”

National Taxpayers Union (NTU), "The Voice of America's Taxpayers," is the nation's oldest and largest taxpayer advocacy organization. Learn more at ntu.org.