Tax Chat!

Tax Chat! is an online series of conversations with interesting people from around the globe who work on taxpayer rights in a variety of disciplines, including law, economics, public finance, psychology, and anthropology, and in fields such as human rights, tax ombuds/advocates, low income taxpayer clinics, and tax administrations.

View the Videos & Materials for the Tax Chat! series Transforming Tax Administration:
Toward an Effective, Trusted & Inclusive IRS

Coming Soon:
Designing a Direct E-File Tool for the 21st Century

Tax Chat! video from 14 November 2022

  • The Inflation Reduction Act contains $80 billion for modernizing IRS operations, and $15 million specifically for a report on the feasibility of an IRS-run direct e-file tool. This workshop will explore what is possible as planning toward such a product begins. The session will address the technical details of a pre-populated IRS-generated tax return, including results from a recent U.S. Treasury study on populating returns with income data reported to the IRS, international precedent from Denmark, data and legal considerations, design and user experience considerations, and the relationship of ID verification to a pre-populated return. The session will also explore other considerations on the path to an IRS e-file tool, including the technical development roadmap, outreach efforts, holistic customer support, web design best practices, user research, and data sharing.

    Moderator: Nina E. Olson, Executive Director, Center for Taxpayer Rights


    • Katherine Lim, Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
    • Kelly McBride, Group Product Manager for Tax Benefits, Code for America
    • Anu Murthy, Design Managr for Tax Benefits, Code for America
    • Lars Skriver, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Gabriel Zucker, Associate Policy Director for Tax Benefits, Code for America

Tax Chat! Videos are now available on YouTube

Tax Chat! No. 8
Administrative Burden and Taxpayer Rights

In this video, Professors Les Book, Keith Fogg and I discuss the manner in which procedures and rules of administrative agencies, including tax administrations, can place undue burden on persons interacting with the agency, such that they may not receive benefits to which they are entitled or their rights are impaired.  We discuss this more thoroughly in a draft article, Reducing Administrative Burdens to Protect Taxpayer Rights.  You can access the draft article here.

Tax Chat! No. 7
Artificial Intelligence and Taxpayer Rights

In this Tax Chat! we examine the taxpayer rights implications of the use of artificial intelligence in tax administration, including the right to fairness, nondiscriminations and the right to transparency.  In this regard, we discuss the litigation in The Netherlands over the System Risk Indicator (SyRI), which The Hague District Court found did not properly balance these interests.

Our guests for this conversation are Toon Calders, Sylvie De Raedt, and Anne Van de Vijver, who are members of DigiTax, an interdisciplinary team at the University of Antwerp researching the challenges and opportunities that digitalization brings to tax.

Tax Chat! No. 6
Gender Issues in Taxation

In this Tax Chat! our guests Michelle Harding, Eleonor Kristoffersson, Amy Matsui and Attiya Waris explore the ways in which tax policy and tax administration can either help or hinder efforts to achieve gender equality. While examples of explicit bias are rare, this does not mean that our tax systems do not affect men and women differently.

Specific challenges include women’s role as second earners, and their participation in the informal economy.   We also discuss the gender impact of illicit financial flows and how the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates many gender inequities.

Tax Chat! No. 5
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics – An International Movement

Our guests for this Tax Chat! are Keith Fogg, David Massey and Amy Lawton, Annette Morgan and Donovan Castelyn, Emer Mulligan, and David Sams, all of whom are involved in the clinical movement in their respective countries.

In this Tax Chat! we discuss the growth of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic movement from its inception in the US and its expansion internationally.  We chat about start-up issues including identifying the population served, scope of services offered, and geographic reach, interaction with the private bar, tax agencies, and the courts, and systemic advocacy initiatives, including filing amicus briefs and commenting on regulations.

Tax Chat! No. 4
The Economic Psychology of Tax Behavior

Our guest for this Tax Chat! is Erich Kirchler of the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Vienna.  Erich developed the Slippery Slope Framework, which suggests tax compliance is an interaction between taxpayers and the tax authority — one that involves a dynamic relationship between the power and trustworthiness of the tax authority.

In this Tax Chat! we discuss tax psychology methodology, the Slippery Slope Framework, the impact of audits and penalties on tax compliance, taxes and emotions, and challenges for tax administration in the wake of the pandemic.

Tax Chat! No 3
The Anthropology of Tax

Our guests for November’s Tax Chat! are Lotta Bjorklund Larsen, Johanna Mugler, and Nimmo Elmi. In this episode, we will explore “what anthropology is” and how anthropological research can uncover new insights into people’s behavior and assumptions about taxation, tax administration, government, and tax compliance. We discuss anthropological fieldwork and how anthropology interacts with other disciplines.  We also discuss Nimmo’s fieldwork with the Kenyan Tax Authority in the development of ITax; Johanna’s fieldwork observing OECD negotiations relating to the international tax framework; and Lotta’s work within the Swedish Tax Agency, following a risk analysis project from start to finish.

Tax Chat! No. 2
Taxpayer Rights, Human Rights, & Sustainable Development Goals

In our October 2020 Tax Chat! are Professors Riel Franzsen and Annet Oguttu, and Asha Ramgobin discuss the rights of governments to raise the necessary funding to achieve sustainable development goals for their citizenry and the rights of taxpayers to have their needs met. 

We also explore the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the ability of governments to meet those needs, and we also discuss how the international tax structure can undermine developing countries’ efforts to achieve sustainable development goals

Tax Chat! No. 1
Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayers’ Rights

In our inaugural Tax Chat! Professor Pasquale Pistone and Philip Baker, QC discuss international and national trends in taxpayer rights identified in the recently published Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayers’ Rights general and national reports. 

Topics include the right to privacy in light of exchange of information agreements; mandatory disclosure and consequences for attorney-client privilege; and proportionality of sanctions and penalties.