In a straightforward, plain-talking news release (which is refreshing from the IRS), the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights, recently released two important items a “subway map” that “illustrates, at a very high level, the stages of a taxpayer’s journey through the tax system – from getting answers to tax law questions through audits, appeals, collection and litigation”
In the past, TAS has released a series of tax preparation roadmaps in their annual reports to Congress. These roadmaps break down the tax preparation process into seven components:
- Tax return preparation
- Tax return processing
The roadmaps show where certain sections intersect and even repeat. The biggest takeaway from these roadmaps is just how complex and difficult to understand the American tax system is. Olson herself has remarked about how difficult the roadmaps are even for tax professionals. If tax pros struggle with some of these concepts and processes, how can the average citizen be expected to understand them?
This new “subway map” is designed to represent a clearer visual representation of the tax return process. You can view it online or order a copy of it by calling 800-829-3676 and requesting Publication 5341. You can also watch a video introduction of the tax prep subway map.
If you’re interested in how TAS is working to bring transparency to the tax preparation process and advocate for the proper administration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, read IRS News Release IR-2019-123 to get more details and access to more resources.