April 14, 1999
National Taxpayer Advocate’s Office
Reorganizes to Provide More Help
WASHINGTON - In the first stage of the
Internal Revenue Service's reorganization, the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office
will be realigned and strengthened to provide taxpayers a greater voice inside
IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti announced Wednesday the new
organization will feature an expanded network of 88 Taxpayer Advocates.
In addition, several other new job categories will be created to bolster
National Taxpayer Advocate Val Oveson’s effort to build a new
organization dedicated to helping taxpayers.
“These changes give the National Taxpayer Advocate better tools to serve
as the taxpayers’ voice inside the IRS,” Rossotti said.
The moves reflect changes approved last year by Congress and President
Clinton in the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, which gave the National
Taxpayer Advocate’s office new powers and responsibilities. The office
provides an independent voice inside the IRS, including assisting
taxpayers in tax disputes, championing taxpayer’s rights and providing
recommendations for improving tax administration.
“If taxpayers have problems they can’t fix through normal IRS channels,
we’re the place they can turn to for help,” Oveson said. “We’re the
taxpayers’ watchdog at the IRS.”
As part of the IRS modernization effort, the National Taxpayer
Advocate’s office becomes the first part of the agency to be
reorganized. Later, other parts of the IRS will shift from a
geographically based system in 33 local District offices to a
customer-based structure built around four major groups of taxpayers.
The blueprint approved by the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office, the
IRS Modernization Design Team and the agency’s Executive Steering
Committee calls for the following changes:
There will be 74 local Taxpayer Advocates located across the country.
There will be at least one Taxpayer Advocate in each state, and one at
each of the 10 IRS Service Centers.
The local advocates will report to nine Area Taxpayer Advocates serving
under the National Taxpayer Advocate. This important change adds more
independence by allowing advocates to report directly to the National
Taxpayer Advocate, a switch from the old standard of serving under IRS
Four more Advocates will be added when the new IRS operating divisions
are put in place during the agency’s reorganization process. These
Advocates will be specialists who suggest improvements in the four new
divisions: Wage and Investment; Small Business and Self Employed; Large
and Mid-Size Business; and Tax Exempt. The IRS will conduct a national
search for these four positions.
Caseworkers handling taxpayers’ cases through the National Taxpayer
Advocate’s Problem Resolution Program will now be assigned full-time to
the job. Previously, they split time between Taxpayer Advocate casework
and other IRS casework.
To reflect the added importance of the National Taxpayer Advocate’s
organization, job positions will be changed to receive higher pay grades
because of increased responsibilities. Management positions in this area
also are being redefined to reflect more responsibility and new duties.
IRS employees working under the National Taxpayer Advocate will be able
to compete for the new positions being created. This step is being taken
because of the expanded job requirements.
Rossotti said the IRS will work closely with the National Treasury
Employees Union during this period. The sweeping job changes in the
National Taxpayer Advocate’s organization will be more pronounced than
in other areas during the IRS modernization effort, Rossotti said.
The reorganization in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office represents
another step in the IRS’s effort to provide better service to taxpayers.
“This new approach will provide people a helping hand from within the
IRS,” Rossotti said.
As the changes unfold in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s office, people
will still be able to get help. If taxpayers have been unable to resolve
a problem with the IRS, they can contact the National Taxpayer
Advocate’s toll-free help line at 1-877-777-4778.
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