New IRS Taxpayer Journey Roadmap
Recently the IRS released a roadmap of the Taxpayer Journey through the IRS. Here’s what it looks like:
Recently the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an organization within the IRS, released a “subway map” of the tax system. The TAS’s main goal is to help protect taxpayers’ rights, and the sole purpose of this map is to educate people on how the tax system works. The map is divided into seven sections: tax return preparation, tax return processing, notices, examinations, appeals, collection, and legislation.
The map had two objectives, and it fails at one of them in spectacular fashion. One is to better inform taxpayers of the different routes they could take on their taxpaying journey (and what to expect when going down any of the roads). The other is to showcase how simple it can be to navigate through any of the routes taken.
Unfortunately, it only highlights the complexity of the entire process, leaving most with more questions than answers. While this is the first time the IRS has done something like this, it still leaves a lot of room for improvement. Nina Olson, one of the individuals who spearheaded the design of the map, even made note of the confusion upon its release: “Anyone looking at this map will understand that we have an incredibly complex tax system that is almost impossible for the average taxpayer to navigate.”
If you’re confused now by looking at this, it gets worse. Due to the complexity of each phase and the number of steps, certain sections and steps were taken out. In some situations, these removed steps are crucial. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is currently working on a fully integrated version of the map that should be released within the next year, although no specific release date has been announced. Ideally, the interactive map would allow any taxpayer to open a certain section and view all relevant information and surrounding steps. Upon the release of the map, Olson also made the following comment on their hopes for the interactive map:
“This digital road map will be the culmination of many years of work and research by TAS into human cognition and learning, notice clarity, and taxpayer empowerment.”
If a taxpayer was attempting to use this map during a time of conflict with their taxes, they would find themselves lost in the maze pretty quickly. While even a simple map can be hard to follow, it’s easy to see how someone would get confused with this one.
When I worked at the IRS, I saw people lost at every single turn. I saw how confused and frustrated people were when they were simply just trying their best. That’s why Landmark Tax Group is here for you. Whenever you find yourself lost in the maze or on the “road” that is our tax system, reach out anytime.
Landmark Tax Group is here to navigate this complicated system for you, and we help our clients through this maze every day.
We look forward to helping you bypass this maze and find tax relief success today!