The national taxpayer advocate, who serves as ombudswoman for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), released her annual report last week, saying budget reductions have “significantly hampered” the agency’s ability to provide top-quality service. While additional funding would undoubtedly help, an even better way to help taxpayers and collect revenue more effectively would be for Congress to eliminate many tax expenditures.
Nina Olson’s report notes that IRS funding has decreased by nearly $1 billion, or 8 percent of its budget, since Fiscal Year 2010.
Her report says that shrinking budgets for the agency mean “fewer dollars available to fund all federal programs.” Restoring the lost funding, she said, would lead to more effective revenue collection and could help reduce the budget deficit.
The annual report came after a very tough year for the agency. The IRS became embroiled in controversy when it was revealed that it had applied extra scrutiny to some political advocacy groups that had applied for tax-exempt status. Olson’s office issued a special...