As I have reported in my previous blog posts, the IRS continues to get hit with severe budget cuts. The result is not pretty: (i) tax collections are on the decline; (ii) the Tax Gap is growing; (iii) taxpayer non-compliance is on the rise; (iii) the availability of taxpayer education has diminished; (iv) the IRS’s customer service continues to worsen (e.g., long waits to speak with service center representatives, elimination of the opportunity for most taxpayers to have an in-person appeal conference, etc.); and (v) the IRS is outsourcing collections.
What is the solution? Maybe lawmakers should engage in a dialogue with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen – whose term ends on November 9, 2017 – about:
- How IRS resources should be deployed;
- What reasonable oversight over the use of IRS resources should be implemented; and
- How the IRS could transform its culture to achieve a balance of its collection function with its customer service and education functions.
It sure seems simple. Maybe my naivety is too overpowering for me to see the actual dilemma or the complexity in finding a solution to the problem.
Steve Mendelsohn, Senior Vice President of Global Tax and Accounting Market Development for Thomson Reuters, recently interviewed me about this very topic for a column on his blog on Inc.com. For more on this issue, visit his post: Believe It or Not, IRS Budget Cuts Hurt American Taxpayers.
Larry J. Brant
Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder and the Chair of the Tax & Benefits practice group at Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.