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  • Kevin Glass

Taxpayers FIRST Is A Cross-Ideological Coalition To Advise on IRS $80 Billion Budget Boost

The Internal Revenue Service received the largest budget boost in the agency’s history last year through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), an additional $80 billion in funding over the next decade. Ensuring that money is spent judiciously is critical for policymakers at the IRS and elsewhere in the federal government. The IRS faces immense challenges in modernization, enforcement, and the protection of taxpayer rights with this budget boost.


In this spirit, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation is launching the Taxpayers For IRS Transformation (Taxpayers FIRST) project. Taxpayers FIRST convenes an expert group of non-governmental stakeholders with a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives to offer guidance to the IRS as it plans to spend the most significant infusion of funding it has ever received. The Taxpayers FIRST project aims to assist IRS officials and policymakers so that the new funding is spent effectively, improves taxpayer services, upgrades outdated technology, and helps efficiently reduce the tax gap while respecting and strengthening taxpayer rights and due process.


“The Taxpayers FIRST project being launched by NTUF is timely,” says Fred Goldberg, a former IRS Commissioner and member of the Taxpayers FIRST Advisory Board, “and the project will play a critical role in helping assure that all taxpayers are empowered to interact with the IRS in ways that they have every right to expect in complying with their tax obligations.”


The Taxpayers FIRST Advisory Board consists of former IRS leaders, academics, think-tank policy experts, former congressional staffers, and more. Over the coming year, Taxpayers FIRST will discuss and develop policy recommendations in collaboration with this expert group, produce papers to communicate these recommendations with policymakers at the IRS and in Congress, and share a vision for improved services and technology with taxpayers across the country. With these activities and more, Taxpayers FIRST’s work will serve as a guidebook for the IRS as it proceeds with the implementation of its $80 billion budget infusion.


"The Taxpayers FIRST project is an innovative and collaborative bipartisan effort to provide workable guidance and feedback to IRS as it moves forward with its strategic planning,” says Caroline Bruckner, professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business and Taxpayers FIRST Advisory Board member. “My research on small business tax literacy gaps shows that the IRS can’t audit or digitize its way out of a $496 billion tax gap. Education and outreach strategies that focus on small business taxpayer service and emphasize collaboration across the federal government need to be prioritized as IRS moves forward with implementing tax administration reform."


In the coming weeks, Taxpayers FIRST will announce its first event as well as begin development of policy recommendations to demonstrate how the IRS can focus its new budget authority to meet IRA goals while protecting taxpayer rights.


More information on the Taxpayers FIRST Project, as well as a list of Advisory Board members can be found at www.taxpayers-first.org. For more information, please contact Kevin Glass, NTUF Vice President of Communications, at 703-299-8670 or at kglass@ntu.org.


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