For many people, the federal tax code is unbearably complex. Navigating the intricacies of annual income tax returns can become an incredible burden.
The Internal Revenue Service provides a tax-help hotline, but millions of people never actually get through to a representative. According to a 2013 estimate, only 61 percent of the 109 million phone calls made to the IRS made it through. Knowing this, it's no surprise that people make mistakes in their tax filings. Despite complications, the IRS may still pursue legal action for honest mistakes.
Every year, the National Taxpayer Advocate provides a report to Congress and provides suggestions to reform the IRS. This position is integrated into the IRS structure, but the Taxpayer Advocate provides an independent voice for the taxpayers.
Most notably, the Taxpayer Advocate recently made the suggestion that the IRS should implement a bill of rights. This would be a document designed to ease the frustrations and complications facing taxpayers. On a very basic level, it would outline exactly what taxpayers owe to the federal government and what they do not. Ultimately, the hope is that it will decrease unintentional mistakes in filings, which hamper both taxpayers and the IRS.
At the very least, a taxpayer's bill of rights will shed some light on a very dense task. Even if the IRS adopts this type of document, tax disputes will still be difficult and intimidating to navigate. However, the hope is that taxpayers could avoid tax-related issues with greater guidance. If a dispute arises, then individuals and their legal representatives can be better prepared to take the issue on and work toward a resolution.
Source: USA Today, "Advocate: Taxpayers need bill of rights," John Waggoner, Jan. 9, 2014