August 5, 2021 1:54 am

National Taxpayer Advocate Report

The mid-year report from National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins contains an assessment of the 2021 filing season. It assesses the IRS response to 73 administrative recommendations that the Advocate made in the 2020 Annual Report to Congress that was released at the start of 2021. Finally, it identifies key objectives that the Taxpayer Advocate Service will pursue in the upcoming fiscal year. Here are some interesting takeaways from the report:

  • Despite COVID-19 and the IRS’s obligation to distribute Economic Impact Payments, the 2021 tax filing season was not too different from previous tax seasons. However, the season ended with the IRS having to manually process 35 million returns.
  • IRS service to taxpayers was dismal due to staff having to work remotely during the pandemic. Only 7% of telephone callers reached someone for assistance.
  • The IRS learned important lessons that will help it improve tax administration and taxpayer service. This may include, for example, the development of accessible, robust online accounts and callback technology.
  • The IRS implemented in whole or in part 66% of the Advocate’s recommendations from the 2020 annual report.
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