PHOENIX — The Internal Revenue Service is seeking civic-minded volunteers to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction.
The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel – or TAP – reports annually to the secretary of the treasury, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and the office of the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the IRS that provides support for and oversight over the TAP.
“In trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax system, taxpayers may find they need different services than the IRS is currently providing,” Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, said. “The TAP is vital because it provides the IRS with the taxpayers’ perspective and suggestions for improvement. This helps the IRS deliver better service to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations.”
The TAP includes members and alternate members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus one member abroad. This member represents U.S. taxpayers living overseas. Each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in his or her geographic location as well as taxpayers as a whole.
To be a member of the TAP, a person must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Not be a current employee of any bureau of the Treasury Department or have worked for any bureau of the Treasury Department within three years preceding Dec. 1 of the current year.
- Be current with his/her federal tax filing and payment obligations.
- Be able to commit 200-300 volunteer hours during the year and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check.
- Individuals who practice before the IRS must be in good standing with the IRS.
New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December 2017. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.
The TAP is seeking members in the following locations: Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
The TAP is also seeking alternate members for all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Alternate members are particularly needed in Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Nebraska.
The TAP is also seeking to include at least one additional member to represent international taxpayers. For these purposes, “international taxpayers” are defined broadly to include U.S. citizens working, living or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory.
Federal advisory committees are required to select members who represent a balance of perspectives. As such, individuals from under-represented groups, such as Native Americans and non-tax professionals, are encouraged to apply. However, all timely applications will be considered.
Applications for the TAP will be accepted through April 24, 2017. Interested individuals must apply online. For additional information about the TAP or the application process, go to the TAP website and select the “Join TAP” tab or call 888-912-1227 and select option 5. Those interested can also contact the TAP staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers outside the U.S. and U.S. territories should call 214-413-6523.