Monday, August 10, 2015
THE TAX PRACTITIONERS BILL OF RIGHTS
The National Society of Accountants (the “other” NSA) has developed a “Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights” in response to continued IRS budget cuts and the recent serious decline in IRS “customer service”.
Here is NSA Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights:
1. THE RIGHT TO HAVE TAX LAWS AND RULES PASSED IN A TIMELY MANNER, INCLUDING:
a. The right to have tax laws affecting the current tax year enacted no later than September 1 of that year.
b. The right to have IRS forms reflecting any new tax laws for the current year available no later than October 1 of that year.
2. THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SERVICE FROM THE IRS, INCLUDING:
a. The right to have telephone calls answered within 15 minutes, on a practitioner-only hotline, staffed by competent/knowledgeable employees.
b. The right to have taxpayer correspondence answered within 20 days.
c. The right to have any collection action on the taxpayer’s account frozen while the IRS is considering a taxpayer’s timely filed response to IRS collection activity.
d. The right to have one IRS representative deal with a tax issue from start to finish until the issue is resolved.
e. The right to request a supervisor be involved in resolving a matter if the initiating IRS representative is unwilling or unable to resolve an issue.
f. The right for practitioners with Practitioner Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) to communicate electronically with the IRS on taxpayer matters in a secure manner.
3. THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE WITHOUT UNDUE IRS DEMANDS DURING TAX FILING SEASON, INCLUDING:
a. The right to have an IRS audit moratorium during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.
b. The right to have an IRS moratorium on collection actions or collection information requests during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.
c. The right to have an IRS moratorium on planned software maintenance and computer downtime periods during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.
The NSA has created a petition for tax pros to sign (click here).
This document addresses important issues that apply to taxpayers in general, and not just tax professionals. Legislation is needed to guarantee the provisions of this document. However, I see the need not for tax practitioner specific legislation, but for a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” legislation that includes all of the items discussed in the NSA document.
Since 2007, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen has been recommending that Congress enact a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The IRS has already adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (click here to download).
I would include a provision that, except for a bill to address a specific natural disaster, Congress could not pass “temporary” tax legislation.
We need to merge the “Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights” and the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” into one document and provide an online petition open to all taxpayers to sign.