By Julie Jason, originally posted on Forbes.com:
Have you ever thought that the IRS could use some help, that is, to improve services to taxpayers? Would you like to make a difference on behalf of your fellow taxpayers?
Taxpayers may not realize it (or might not even believe it), but there is a way they can get involved at a meaningful level to help improve the Internal Revenue Service. That’s the mission of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (the TAP), which is a federal advisory committee to the IRS made up of about 75 citizen volunteers. As someone who represented the state of Connecticut as a member of the TAP for three years, I can tell you that it is a good cause that can and does create results that make taxpayers’ lives easier.
For example, take a taxpayer whose required minimum distribution (RMD) request is delayed beyond Dec. 31 because of a backlog in a custodian’s back office. That missed RMD would trigger a 50% excise tax payment at tax time. The IRS changed Form 5329 to allow taxpayers to write in “RC” for missed RMDs due to “reasonable cause,” and to request a waiver of the excise tax without first paying the tax and requesting a refund.
The TAP “listens to taxpayers, identifies major taxpayer concerns and makes recommendations for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction,” according to an IRS news release. The TAP reports to the secretary of the Treasury, the commissioner of the IRS and the National Taxpayer Advocate.
Now Is The Time To Apply
My experience was educational and rewarding. If you have an interest in taxes and can meet the qualification requirements (see below), I encourage you to consider applying for membership. Now is the time apply to serve in 2022. The application deadline was recently extended to June 1, 2021.
The TAP is seeking members in the following locations: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, international, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The TAP is also seeking alternates for more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Are You Qualified?
According to the IRS news release: “To be a member of the TAP, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be current with his or her federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 volunteer hours during the year and pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check.” The term is for three years.
If you have questions on IRS-related issues, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your city and state, and mention that you are a forbes.com reader.
To read Julie Jason's books, go to: https://juliejason.com/books/julies-books.