In what might be a blow to taxpayers seeking help on the fly, the Internal Revenue Service is mulling the idea of disallowing walk-in visits by people seeking help on their taxes or those simply looking to make payments in person, WTOP reported on Friday (April 15).
The news comes as a result of testimony from Nina Olson, the agency’s national taxpayer advocate, delivered to a House panel focused on government operations. This is a pilot program under consideration, said Olson.
Perhaps predictably that would-be pilot program has already drawn some criticism. In questioning, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who chairs the subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, posited that such a move would be “insane … You have a willing taxpayer, willing to give some of their hard-earned dollars to the IRS, and show up. And they’re saying, ‘We can’t take the payment because you don’t have an appointment.’ Is that correct?”
Olson affirmed that hypothetical situation. She noted that the IRS has not received the funding it needs to tackle two new initiatives, namely, overseeing the administration of the Affordable Care Act and also pushing to reduce fraud conducted through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
As WTOP noted, the IRS has stated that it costs about $60 for each in-person encounter with the IRS, and yet, as Olson noted, “You may have spent $60, but you might have brought in $5,000 by serving that taxpayer in that walk-in site.” In addition, she stated that the priorities have been a bit misplaced, with effort focused on cheats rather than helping those who indeed want to pay taxes.