Announcing registration for new Reimagining Tax Administration Workshop!
It’s been a while since we’ve posted a blog from the Center, but we have definitely been busy and there is a lot happening in the coming months, so I thought I’d start up our posts again.
The first thing I’d like to share is that the Center has two new employees. Anna Gooch has joined us as the American Bar Association Public Service Fellow. Among other things, Anna will be working on growing the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Support Center, a project of the Center’s that provides technical support and assistance to LITCs in the US and abroad. Anna is also working on another project that I will discuss in greater detail below.
Dulce Mascorro has joined us as the Pro Bono/Training Coordinator. In that role she is recruiting attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents to volunteer with LITC Connect, the “dating app” we developed for LITCs to connect with volunteer tax professionals. The American Bar Association Tax Section is partnering with the Center to recruit volunteers, and Dulce is also reaching out to state and local bar associations in the US to increase the volunteer base – she has created a database of over 800 such associations! (Dear reader, if you are active in your local bar association or tax professional society, please reach out to Dulce at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can partner with you to increase access to justice for low income taxpayers.) Dulce is working with Anna and me to identify the training needs of our volunteers and LITC staff, so we can develop targeted training videos and materials that will expand the volunteers’ skills in representing low income taxpayers in tax disputes.
But the most significant event coming up soon is a project Anna and I have been working on over the last year. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, we have coordinated a national survey of state tax administration practices and taxpayer rights. While there are many protections — both statutory and administrative — at the federal level in the United States, within the 50 states and their localities, along with the District of Columbia, there is a wide variety of taxes, administrative practices, and taxpayer rights protections.
As part of the project, Anna developed a comprehensive survey form which you can see here. With the help of scores of volunteers from the ABA Tax Section State and Local Tax Committee, LITCs, and even state tax agency personnel, many state surveys are completed and we are getting more in each day.
Which leads us to the announcement of our new workshop series, Reimagining Tax Administration: State Tax Practices and Taxpayer Rights. This free series of online panels will take place on four Tuesdays from 25 October to 22 November 2022, from noon to 2 pm Eastern Time.
- The first workshop will be on state filing obligations, e-filing ability, regulation of return preparers, and state refundable credits.
- The second workshop will cover state practices in audits, administrative appeals, and adjudication.
- The third workshop will consist of two panels – one on enforced collection of tax and one on the availability of collection alternatives.
- The fourth and final workshop will also include two panels, the first covering state taxpayer advocates/ombuds and taxpayer bills of rights, and the second discussing state funding of LITCs.
The motivating idea behind the survey and workshops is to identify best practices at the state level – especially with respect to the protection of taxpayer rights. We’ll also identify gaps, where state tax administration needs improvement in order to increase voluntary compliance and address noncompliance in a proportionate manner, grounded in taxpayer rights protections. Moreover, we will be introducing model legislation for establishment of taxpayer advocates/ombuds at the state level, and for state funding of LITCs so low income taxpayers can obtain pro bono representation in state as well as federal tax disputes.
To find out more about the Reimagining Tax Administration series and to register, please visit our website here. Also, you might want to read Anna’s recent post on the Procedurally Taxing blog, discussing some of the preliminary findings from our survey.
So! Until our next blog, take care and stay well!
All the best,
Nina E. Olson