April 26,2012

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Baucus Looks To Improve The Taxpayer Filing Experience And Reduce Uncertainty

Finance Chairman: As We Consider Tax Reform, We Have an Opportunity - and an Obligation - to Improve the Taxpayer Experience

Washington, DCAt a Senate Finance Committee hearing held today, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) looked for ways to improve the taxpayer experience and said tax reform can simplify the filing experience.  Baucus noted that making it easier to file can increase the percentage of taxes paid on time, help reduce the $450 billion annual tax gap, and relieve the burden on law-abiding taxpayers.

“As we consider tax reform, we have an opportunity – and an obligation – to improve the taxpayer experience,” Baucus said.  “Simplifying our tax code through tax reform will reduce uncertainty and make filing easier for Americans.  Taxpayers become discouraged when they can’t understand what they owe or why they owe it.  The IRS needs to make compliance easier on taxpayers, and we need to make the filing process simpler.”

At the hearing, Baucus said the IRS needs to improve its programs for audits and appeals and make it easier for taxpayers to work with the them to resolve issues quickly and correctly.  Correspondence audits handled by mail, he said, are an example of a breakdown in the IRS process.  Many of these audits could easily be handled face-to-face, but instead can wind up taking months or years.  Baucus also discussed the importance of supporting the IRS, as it explores innovative ways to use its resources more efficiently and provide better service to taxpayers.  He prodded the IRS to incorporate technology to make things easier for taxpayers much like private industries have for their customers.