January 02,2002

Grassley Comment on the National Taxpayer Advocate's 2001 Annual Report

The National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2001 Annual Report to Congress came out this week.Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, was instrumental in the creationof the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Office, which analyzes taxpayer problems and recommendssolutions to those problems. Grassley made the following comment on the latest report.

“I’m concerned that the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Annual Report to Congress isbecoming just a voice in the wind. Year after year we see the taxpayer advocate raise concerns aboutproblems such as taxpayer access to IRS phone assistance, the accuracy of agency assistance andconfusing notices, yet the IRS’ pace of progress toward resolving these problems is at snail-speed.

A recent General Accounting Office report showed the IRS failed to meet six of eight service targetsfor measuring access to and the accuracy of telephone service. Congress has provided the IRS thestaffing and budget requests the agency has made. Clearly, the IRS needs better management of itspersonnel and resources, not more money and people.

“The taxpayer advocate’s report provides Congress good guidance on legislative matters forthe coming year. The Finance Committee should look at addressing the Alternative Minimum Tax(AMT), penalties, interest and collection procedures as well as other tax simplification matters raisedby the taxpayer advocate. The Finance Committee has made a good bipartisan start at simplifyingthe Earned Income Credit and tackling the AMT. I hope we can build on those efforts in the coming year.”