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Want to improve the IRS? Apply for a TAP spot by March 15

TAP members on cover of 2022 report
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) members adorn the cover of the federal tax advisory committee's 2022 report.

Do you constantly look at things and think, I know how to make that better?

Then the Internal Revenue Service wants you. Specifically, the IRS' Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) wants you.

This all-volunteer group with members from across the United States, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico is committed to improving the IRS and the U.S. tax system. An additional member represents the interests of taxpayers working, living, or doing business abroad.

"TAP volunteers consistently work to identify issues, and most importantly, come up with solutions they can take directly to the IRS to get those problems fixed. Serving as a TAP member is not only rewarding it is important work and I encourage anyone with a passion for service to apply," said National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins in last week's announcement seeking new TAP members to start serving at the end of the year.

National representation: TAP is a federal advisory committee, for which the Taxpayer Advocate Service provides oversight and program support.

TAP focuses on improving the U.S. tax system and its administration for all taxpayers, and it is designed to get wide-ranging input on how to do that. Each TAP member brings the perspective of the area they represent. This geographic mix helps ensure that nationwide concerns are addressed.

TAP also looks for a diverse group of members. Some are retired. Others are students. Some have part- or fulltime jobs. And their work doesn't have to be in the tax industry.

While members with tax backgrounds are welcome, those who aren't deeply involved in the tax world often bring a new point of view to issues that have been overlooked. That's why the IRS and Taxpayer Advocate Service encourage non-tax professionals, as well as under-represented groups, to apply.

Solving systemic taxpayer problems: Each year, TAP members work not only on topics they bring to the panel, but also on tax matters referred to the panel in public forums, grassroots outreach events, and taxpayer submissions.

Since 2002, TAP has submitted nearly 3,000 recommendations to the IRS to improve satisfaction with agency services, products, and procedures.

Improvements that TAP has recommended include —

  • Allowing longer extension time to file tax returns;
  • Providing taxpayers the option to get copies of their tax returns when using Free File;
  • Establishing Customer Callback Technology over a majority of IRS toll-free telephone lines; and
  • Initiating quality improvements in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax return preparation program.

In 2022, TAP committees submitted 26 referrals to the IRS, which included 201 recommendations to improve taxpayer services, reduce taxpayer burden, and improve tax administration.

You can the specifics on those accomplishments in TAP's 2022 in its annual report, as well as look at prior years' reports, too.

Where new volunteers are needed: Currently, the IRS is seeking TAP volunteers from the 27 states listed below, as well as a member from Puerto Rico, and someone to representative the international community.




North Dakota






Rhode Island














New Hampshire



New York

West Virginia


The deadline to apply is March 15. That's also this weekend's By the Numbers figure.

Individuals who are tapped (yeah, pun intended) as new members will serve a three-year term starting December 2024. TAP members generally devote 200 to 300 hours per year, or about 5 hours each week, to panel activities.

Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies in their areas during the next three years.

If you don't live in one of the states with a TAP vacancy, but are interested, go ahead and apply. Members sometimes have to surrender their posts, and you step in to fill that slot.

Requirements of applicants: Feeling motivated to, as the TAP motto says, Improve the IRS? Here's how to apply.

All TAP applicants must be U.S. citizens who are current with their federal tax obligations.

TAP members must also pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check. I was honored to serve as a TAP member, and I still remember getting fingerprinted the old-fashioned ink way as part of the clearance protocol back then.

Tax practitioner applicants must be in good standing with the IRS. This means not currently under suspension or disbarred.

And, as mentioned, you must be willing and able to commit the necessary time to TAP work.

There also are some TAP member prohibitions.

Members cannot be federally registered lobbyists.

Current Department of the Treasury or IRS employees cannot serve on the panel. Former Treasury or IRS employees and former TAP members can be considered, but only after three years from the end of their government jobs or previous TAP service.

More application information: To apply for a TAP slot, visit USAJOBS. You can additional information about TAP at its website

If you prefer to call, dial toll-free (888) 912-1227 and select prompt number five. Callers outside the United States may call (202) 317-3087 (sorry, that's not a toll-free line) or email the TAP staff at [email protected].

IRS TAP video screenshot

You also can check out the TAP video. That's a screen shot from it above.

My personal 2¢: As I mentioned, I had the privilege of serving as a TAP member many years ago. It was a great experience that I highly recommend.

I have wonderful memories of working with others from across the country who want to make all things tax better. That includes the TAP staff from various IRS offices who were incredibly helpful and supportive.

TAP is one of those groups that gives me hope and confidence that the IRS can indeed be improved. If you have interest in and ideas on how to make that happen, please consider applying to join TAP.

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Accounting Tutor

Thank you for sharing this. The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's recruitment drive is a commendable effort to involve citizens in refining the IRS, underscoring the value of public contribution to our tax system's efficiency.

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