Taxpayer Advocate Service Recommends IRS Change Mission Statement to Reflect New Expanded Role

Nov 15, 2010   

On October 26, 2010, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (“TAS”) announced that it will recommend in its annual report to Congress that the IRS change its mission statement to reflect its expanded role in administering benefit programs and to acknowledge that the IRS now will have two missions: revenue collection and administration of benefit programs.

The current IRS mission statement is direct and simple: “provide Americas taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.” The current mission statement was adopted in 1998 after the passage of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act which mandated that the IRS review and restate its mission to place a great emphasis on serving the public and meeting taxpayers needs while still focusing primarily on revenue collection services.

Now, however, with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) the IRS will also be responsible for enforcing and monitoring compliance with the individual and employer health insurance mandates.

Under the PPACA, all Americans will be required to carry a minimum level of health insurance or pay a tax for every month they are without such coverage. It will be the responsibility of the IRS to monitor individuals and employers and to punish those who do not comply starting in 2014. Starting in 2014, individuals and businesses will be required to report to the IRS, on their tax returns, whether they have purchased or provided the required insurance and to disclose which months, if any, in which they failed to do so. Using this information, the IRS would determine whether the employer or individual qualified for an exception to the mandate or should be required to pay a separate tax which has a yearly maximum of $750 per person.

According to a Congressional Budget Report, in order to carry out its new duties, the IRS will need $10 billion in additional funds, none of which were provided for in the PPACA. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that this additionally funding would allow the IRS to hire 16,500 new agents and personnel whose role it would be to monitor and enforce the new healthcare mandates. It is the need for these new employees and the lack of Congressional funding that is driving the TAS call for a new mission statement.

The TAS, an independent office within the IRS that assists taxpayers in resolving their problems with the Service and identifies and proposes changes to systemic problems that exist within the Service, hopes that with the acknowledgement of its new expanded mission, the IRS will receive the increased funding it needs to properly administer the mandates.