National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson testified before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight today at a hearing entitled, “IRS Reform: Lessons Learned from the National Taxpayer Advocate.”
Olson cited data showing that building trust with taxpayers correlates with increased voluntary tax compliance and said respecting taxpayer rights is critical to building trust. She recommended the IRS revise its mission statement to explicitly state that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will serve as the guiding principle for tax administration.
She said the IRS must place greater emphasis on taxpayer service to become an effective 21st century tax administration. “In my view, there is no conflict whatsoever between providing high quality taxpayer service and taking actions to ensure tax compliance, particularly on the part of persons actively seeking to evade tax,” she said. “It is not an ‘either/or’ proposition.”
She also shared her perspective on other steps the IRS should take to become a taxpayer-centric 21st century tax administration, as recommended in a “Special Focus” section of her 2016 Annual Report to Congress.