Communication and Simplification [IRS Small Business Forum]

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Communication and Simplification [IRS Small Business Forum]

Jan 27, 2009

Posted by Molly Nelson - In case you didn't catch it on Twitter, I braved a rare display of the elements in Washington this morning to attend the first IRS Small Business Forum of the year.  (If you want to start following me, or other NASE staff on Twitter, click here.)  The bi-monthly forums are put on by the IRS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many trade groups and associations like the NASE attend to hear the latest news and give input to the IRS on how policies and programs affect small businesses and the self-employed.

One of the stated goals expressed in today's forum was increased communication with taxpayers by the IRS, especially in light of the slow economy.  Chris Wagner, the Commissioner of the Small Business /Self-Employed Division, stressed that the IRS is there to help, and "they know your interactions with the IRS may be different than in the past," but they are working to be flexible. 

Nina Olson, of the National Taxpayer Advocate, came out strongly in favor of eliminating tax law complexity in the office's annual report to Congress.  Olson shared with us some of the "fun with facts" that went into this year's report, for example that since she started with the NTA in 2001 there have been 3,250 changes to the tax code, which is an average of 1 change per day.  She also said that according to the "word count" function in Microsoft Word, the internal revenue code has 3.7 million words in it, meaning the number of words in the code has tripled since 1975 (yikes!). 

And that reminds me that filing season is officially under way.  Although I'm glad I don't have to read the entire tax code to file my taxes!  At least, I don't think I do...

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