Advocacy Group Pushes For Tax Filing Rights - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Advocacy Group Pushes For Tax Filing Rights

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SALISBURY, Md. - Filing taxes. Each year, piles of paperwork are passed, post marked and processed by millions of Americans.

But after years of filing returns, many like Zac Wheeler don't understand what exactly happens during the process.

"It's just... it's still over my head," said Zac Wheeler.

But, there's good news for him and millions of Americans: the Taxpayer Advocate Service - an independent organization within the IRS - wants to provide some clarity with a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

"It would be very beneficial," said Bob Lockwood, owner of Essential Accounting. "They're all in the tax law, but that tax law is thousands of pages."

The Bill of Rights was first proposed in 1981, and the organization is pushing for it's adoption into the tax code. It would be similar to those of the Constitution, and bring them up front for all to see.

Currently, the proposed rights are buried in the law, and include things like the right to raise objections with the agency and the right to have attorney representation in dealings with the IRS.

The suggested rights would be pulled together in a list to help anyone and everyone filing a return.  But for those who opt for a helping hand by having someone else file the forms, there's a proposal for that, too.

"All paid tax preparers should be qualified by the governing body they are reporting to," said Lockwood.

It was a regulation being implemented three years ago - one requiring continuing education and testing - but it was ruled invalid last year.

According to Lockwood, those who prepare taxes for others have a "preparer tax identification number" or PTIN, and must renew or refile the number each year. But, no other requirements are necessary.
 
Lockwood says they would help the IRS run more efficiently. More qualified preparers could mean less errors and fewer follow ups by the agency.

"It's not asking a tax preparer to do that much," said Lockwood, who adds that he voluntarily takes classes to stay abreast of new laws and changes to the old ones.

Wheeler agrees with the suggestion. "I think it's great," he said. "I think that it puts everybody at the same place so that you know the person you're going to has met those qualifications."

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