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10 most serious taxpayer problems, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate

National Taxpayer Advocate 2023 Report to Congress 011024

The 2024 tax filing season has started. Sorta.

Eight tax software companies now are available to eligible Free File taxpayers. Some business returns can be e-filed starting Tuesday, Jan. 16. On Monday, Jan. 29, the Internal Revenue Service officially begins processing all 2023 tax returns.

While this filing season is expected to be relatively smooth, some taxpayers typically encounter problems.

And every year, the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) details the most annoying tax complications that we, and the IRS, face.

10 most serious taxpayers problems: Those concerns are included in NTA Erin M. Collins' 2023 Annual Report to Congress, released on Jan. 10. For 2023, Collins identifies and analyzes the 10 most serious problems encountered by taxpayers, as well as offers recommendations that can help the IRS and Congress resolve them.

Many are repeats from prior years, such as issues with providing telephone service to taxpayers and the process the IRS uses to deal with tax identity theft.

Below are those matters, and others, that made this year top 10 taxpayer problems list.

  1. Return Processing. Ongoing processing delays burden and frustrate taxpayers awaiting refunds and other account actions.
  2. IRS Hiring, Recruitment, and Training. Shortcomings in the IRS' employee hiring, retention, recruitment, and training programs adversely affect the quality of taxpayer service the IRS provides. This faulty system also undermines effective tax administration.
  3. IRS Transparency. The IRS still does not provide sufficient clear and timely information to the public. This causes taxpayer confusion and frustration, and complicates agency oversight.
  4. Telephone and In-Person Service. Taxpayers continue to experience difficulties and frustration obtaining telephone and face-to-face assistance to resolve their tax issues and questions.
  5. Return Preparer Oversight. Taxpayers are harmed by the absence of minimum competency standards for return preparers.
  6. Identity Theft. Lengthy issue resolution delays and inadequate notices burden taxpayers who are victims of identity theft or whose returns the IRS has flagged for possible identity theft.
  7. Online Account Access for Taxpayers and Tax Professionals. IRS digital services remain inadequate, impeding efficient case resolution and forcing millions of taxpayers to call or send correspondence to the tax agency.
  8. International. The IRS' approach to international information return penalties is draconian and inefficient.
  9. Compliance Challenges for Taxpayers Abroad. Taxpayers abroad continue to be underserved and face significant challenges in meeting their U.S. tax obligations.
  10. Appeals. Despite some improvements, many taxpayers and tax professionals continue to perceive the IRS Independent Office of Appeals as insufficiently independent.

You can read more on the 10 most serious taxpayer problems and how Collins suggests these problems be corrected in her report's special online section. If you prefer, download the full report as a PDF version, and peruse it at your leisure. Details on the problems start about halfway through the report on PDF page 29.

As you've probably guessed by now, this component of Collins latest NTA report also is the weekend's Saturday Shout Out.

Check out Collins top 10 most serious taxpayers problems and see if you agree with her selections. Is there something else you would add to the list? Let me know either way by dropping me a note in the comments section.

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