BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson held a public forum at the University Of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the Internal Revenue Service to comply with their tax obligations.
The public forum featured a panel of representatives from Maryland small business and local taxpayer communities, who shared personal stories of instances where the taxpayer advocate’s office had intervened on their behalf and delivered results – and reforms.
“The IRS needs to always be in consumer-friendly service mode and I know the agency is trying to move itself in that direction, but it’s not yet there. We in Congress are partly to blame, because we have continually shrunken the agency’s budgets and expanded its responsibilities. That type of approach must change immediately,” said Senator Cardin. “Congress is supposed to be giving the IRS the tools to better serve the taxpayer, and instead we’ve taken tools away. We can do better.”
The forum also allowed attendees the opportunity to share their perspectives on the extent to which they will continue to need telephone and in-person assistance, along with online support tools, into the future. The event was part of an ongoing series of public engagement sessions being led by Olson, whose independent office within the IRS is the voice of the taxpayer within the IRS and before Congress.
“We need public confidence in our tax system, and for people to understand the tax code, and believe it to be rational and fair. Right now they don’t always think that, and so they resent it,” said Senator Cardin. “One of the ways we can build the understanding of the tax code and the work of the IRS is to ensure that one-to-one contact between taxpayers and the IRS is available whenever it needs to be. I will continue to fight to ensure that it is.”