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The IRS Is Looking for Volunteers…to Tell the IRS How It's Doing
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The IRS Is Looking for Volunteers…to Tell the IRS How It's Doing

"This helps the IRS deliver the best possible service..."

The IRS announced Tuesday that it's looking for "civic-minded volunteers" to become members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a committee that offers advice and recommendations on how to improve the IRS.

But while it may seem tempting to dole out advice to the IRS, be warned: the IRS is looking for people who can volunteer anywhere from 200 to 300 hours per year to the effort. That's more than five hours a week at the top end.

FILE -This April 13, 2014 file photo shows the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington. Tuesday, April 15, is the federal tax filing deadline for most Americans. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File) The IRS is looking for volunteers to tell the IRS how it's doing, and how it can improve. AP Photo/J. David Ake

"The TAP is vital because it provides the IRS with the taxpayers' perspective as well as recommendations for improvement," said National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. "This helps the IRS deliver the best possible service to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations."

The IRS has been getting plenty of advice from taxpayers outside the TAP. Over the last few years, for example, the IRS has been roundly criticized for delaying tax-exempt applications from conservative groups. The IRS was also found to be spending money on lavish conferences, along with several other agencies.

Those scandals have prompted Congress to reduce the IRS budget, which the IRS has claimed will hurt the services it provides to taxpayers.

As a result, members of the TAP may find themselves saying there's not enough help for taxpayers who are struggling to understand the tax code and accurately file their taxes.

People can join the TAP if they are U.S. citizens and if they don't have any outstanding tax debts. They must also pass an FBI criminal background check.

The IRS is looking for new members in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Alternates are needed in many of these states, and several more.

People can apply at www.USAjobs.gov, and can get more information about the process at www.improveIRS.org.

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