Did you know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to know your views about taxes, rules, forms, publications and, in my words, “possible frustrations”? Your comments can potentially influence policy for 2021-2022.
The mechanism is the Priority Guidance Plan (PGP), which is run by the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy and the IRS. The timing is now, as the comment deadline is May 28.
The PGP helps “identify and prioritize the tax issues that should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices, and other published administrative guidance,” according to IRS Notice 2021-28 (tinyurl.com/udajenhb).
The public is invited -- even encouraged -- to be a part of the process. If you have an interest in communicating, I would recommend that you visit Regulations.gov to read other comments first, to get a sense of how to present. Go to tinyurl.com/uj36je4c and search comments.
For example, you’ll find a letter from an individual taxpayer pointing out “significant confusion” about how inherited IRAs are to be handled under new laws that went into effect for deaths occurring after 2019. Another comment letter is about student loans.
As someone who has served on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) for three years representing the state of Connecticut, from my own experience, I can attest to the fact that the IRS does want feedback from the public.
I encourage you to take the time to offer your views by the May 28 deadline. Probably the best way to organize your comments is to state the problem, show an example and suggest a possible fix.
You’ll be able to read your own comment letter online after you post it, but you won’t get a response. The IRS does not acknowledge comments, according to an IRS spokesperson.
Getting back to experience with the TAP, you may be interested in doing the same. The TAP is a federal advisory committee to the IRS made up of approximately 75 citizen volunteers. The TAP reports to the secretary of the Treasury, the commissioner of the IRS and the National Taxpayer Advocate.
The volunteer members of TAP make recommendations to improve IRS service. The TAP “listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction.”
The TAP is seeking members in the following locations: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, international, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The panel is also seeking alternates in the following locations: Alabama, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
According to an IRS news release (tinyurl.com/3u7wxjdb): “To be a member of the TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with his or her federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check.”
The deadline to apply for this recruiting season is May 14. You can contact the TAP through its website (tinyurl.com/2u9p82z8) or at 888-912-1227. To watch a video about TAP recruitment, go here: tinyurl.com/3dnwrfnk.
When I served my three-year term with the TAP, I found the experience not only educational, but also very rewarding. It’s a big commitment and a worthy cause. For anyone who wants to make a difference on behalf of taxpayers, I highly recommend throwing your hat into the ring, now, or in the future.
Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers Inc. of Stamford, Connecticut) and award-winning author, welcomes your questions/comments (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please visit www.juliejason.com.
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