Section 5 of the Data Book provides information on the scope and composition of the IRS’ taxpayer assistance programs. The IRS assists taxpayers in meeting their Federal tax return filing and payment obligations in a variety of ways, such as through its telephone helpline, via the Internet, at IRS walk-in sites, and through volunteer income tax assistance. The section also presents information on the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and IRS Office of Appeals workload.
Highlights of the Data
- In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the IRS provided taxpayer assistance through over 493.2 million visits to IRS.gov, assisted over 61.3 million taxpayers through its toll-free telephone helpline or at walk-in sites, and received 234.0 million inquiries in the Where’s My Refund application (Table 19).
- The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommends changes that will prevent those problems in the future. Taxpayers may submit an application for assistance to TAS. In FY 2015, TAS received 227,189 new requests for assistance and closed 227,512 cases, including those received in a prior fiscal year (Table 20).
- The mission of Appeals is to resolve tax controversies without litigation, on a basis that is fair and impartial to both the taxpayer and the Federal Government. The Appeals Office considers cases that involve examination, collection, and penalty issues. Taxpayers who disagree with IRS findings in their cases may request an Appeals hearing. The local Appeals Office is separate and independent of the IRS office that proposed the tax adjustment, collection action, or penalty. During FY 2015, the IRS Appeals Office received 113,870 new cases and closed 117,673 cases, including those received in a prior fiscal year (Table 21).