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Join the Center for Taxpayer Rights for a Tax Chat! with former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti on 23 March 2023

Posted on Mar. 21, 2023

On Thursday March 23 at noon EDT, the Center for Taxpayer Rights is launching its series of virtual Tax Chats! titled Transforming Tax Administration: Toward an Effective, Trusted, and Inclusive IRS. Our first Tax Chat! in the series will be a conversation between Charles Rossotti, former IRS Commissioner, and me (Nina) about his experience modernizing the IRS in the context of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA98). The Tax Chat! is free, but you need to register here to receive the link to the program.

The last major reform effort for the IRS was pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98), Public Law 105-206. RRA 98 was preceded by a bipartisan National Commission on Restructuring the IRS, which held public hearings around the country and heard from scores of tax professionals, academics and government officials on how to improve the agency. The National Commission’s report provided the basis for approximately nine months of congressional hearings. The Ways & Means Committee originated the legislation and prepared an extensive committee report, followed by the Senate Finance Committee amending the bill and preparing its own committee report; the bill finally went to conference, which also generated a conference report. RRA 98, then, has extensive legislative history which lays out the clear intent and expectations of Congress in its efforts to reform and restructure the IRS. Not surprisingly, as a result of all this effort, RRA 98 passed the House with a 402 to 8 vote and the Senate with a 96 to 2 vote.

On the other hand, the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $80 billion for the IRS over 10 years, was a reconciliation bill and preceded by very little legislative background work. There are no committee reports, much less a national commission with recommendations on how to transform the IRS. Although the IRS has established transformation offices and Treasury is holding various roundtables with specific stakeholder groups, the IRA does not have the bipartisan in-depth exploration of what is needed to transform the IRS into a tax agency that meets the needs of its diverse taxpayer population while ensuring those taxpayers comply with the law.

To provide some record and public discussion, the Center for Taxpayer Rights is holding a series of 15 or so free, virtual “Tax Chats” with experts from the private, academic, nonprofit, and government sectors on various aspects of tax administration. The format of the 1 ½ to 2-hour discussions will be informal and allow for viewer questions. All the Tax Chats! are free of charge but you must register here in order to receive the link and notifications of future Tax Chats! in the series. You can also sign up for the Center’s newsletter to receive notifications of future Tax Chats! in the series. The Chats! are funded by a generous grant from Arnold Ventures.

The inaugural Tax Chat! will be followed by a group of Tax Chats that we view as foundational to any transformation effort, including discussions of the IRS budget structure and process, information technology challenges, and the IRS workforce. We will then have a conversation about taxpayer behavior and voluntary compliance, and launch into Tax Chats! About specific areas of tax administration, including the use of big data, artificial intelligence, taxpayer service, audit and collection techniques, penalty administration, administrative burden, and interactions with vulnerable populations. We’ll close with a look at the IRS’s organizational structure, culture, and how to earn taxpayer trust.

The Tax Chats! Will be held over the spring and summer of 2023, culminating in an in-person and virtual day-long conference in September 2023.

Hope to see you at the Tax Chats!

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