Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

IRS taxpayer assistance cutbacks

As the new tax return filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service now plans to reduce the available hours of telephone taxpayer assistance. Colleen M. Kelley, the President of the National Treasury Employees Union, is of course against the IRS's plan. This is one instance where the public interest coincides with the NTEU's interest; the public needs the telephonic assistance and the NTEU employees need the jobs.

But there are some very serious questions as to whether the IRS can simply cut back its taxpayer assistance program without running afoul of the 2006 Treasury Funding legislation. Indeed, Congress specifically intended that that the IRS concentrate on "pre-filing taxpayer assistance and education."

In his book Many Unhappy Returns, former IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti admitted that he does not prepare his own tax returns. At least one IRS manager had all kinds of trouble filling out her own tax return. If the IRS's own boys and girls have trouble doing their own tax returns, then what about the American public?

The various Congresscritters won't win any votes back home by agreeing to IRS telephonic taxpayer service cutbacks. The smart money says that the IRS's cutbacks won't be as drastic as they are now leading us to believe.

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