As the annual tax filing (and payment) deadline nears, complaints about the process increase. It's a natural reaction to the frustration of dealing with our complex tax code, especially these last three years that have been complicated by COVID-created deadline changes, delays, and new laws.
Some folks, however, want to do more than grumble. They want to be a part of making the tax system better.
They are the volunteer members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, or TAP. And that group now has some new members.
2022 TAP filled out: The IRS last week officially welcomed 25 new TAP members. These individuals join 10 TAP alternates who were approved in a prior year, bringing to 35 the number of new active TAP members. When added to returning TAP members, these new volunteers mean the panel has 69 volunteers for 2022.
The newest members were selected from a pool of approximately 300 interested individuals who applied during an open recruitment period last spring, and from alternate members who applied in previous years. Geographically, they come from 27 states and include an international representative.
"We are excited to welcome all of the new members to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel," said National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins. "These members volunteer hundreds of hours to help ensure that our tax system works for all Americans. The past few years have been extremely challenging for taxpayers and the IRS. The dedicated work of our TAP volunteers is more important than ever to help identify and prioritize initiatives to modernize the IRS, improve service and protect taxpayer rights."
What TAP does: The TAP is a federal advisory committee, with oversight and program support provided by the Taxpayer Advocate Service
TAP members work on a variety of issues that impact taxpayers in key areas where the IRS and the public interact the most. Members also serve as a conduit for bringing grassroots concerns raised by the taxpaying public to the attention of the IRS.
In 2021 alone, the TAP made 193 recommendations to the IRS, many of which have already been implemented. For example, the TAP's recommendations have resulted in many improvements to IRS tax forms, instructions, and publications to make them easier for taxpayers to understand.
That's why this weekend's first Saturday Shout Out goes to the IRS TAP announcement of the new members. It has the names of the new volunteers, as well as the places they're from. Two are fellow Texans. The announcement also has details on how to contact TAP representatives.
More on improving the IRS: A second Saturday Shout Out goes to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel web page. There you can get the scoop on how TAP volunteers serve as the voice of the taxpayer.
Finally, one more Saturday Shout Out and shameless plug for the ol' blog. Check out my February post on TAP recruitment efforts for 2023 panel membership. Next year's TAP work actually begins on Dec. 1, and the deadline for seeking to become a part of it is this coming Friday, April 8.
Also, some not-so-humble bragging here. I was honored to serve as a TAP member in the mid-2000s. It was a great experience that I highly recommend. If you have interest in and ideas on how to improve the IRS, consider applying.
You also might find these posts of interest:
- Top 10 Taxpayer Problems of 2021 likely to repeat in 2022
- Improve the IRS by joining the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (2020)
- Slow tax refunds again make the annual Top 10 list of taxpayer problems (2021)