The nine-member IRS Oversight Board was created by Congress under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The Board’s responsibility is to oversee the IRS in its administration, management, conduct, direction, and supervision of the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.
The Board was created to provide long-term focus and specific expertise in guiding the IRS so it may best serve the public and meet the needs of taxpayers. The National Commission on Restructuring the IRS recommended the creation of the Board to provide “experience, independence, and stability” to the IRS so that it may move forward in a cogent, focused direction.
Seven Board members are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms. These members have professional experience or expertise in key business and tax administration areas. Of the seven, one must be a full-time federal employee or a representative of IRS employees. The Secretary of Treasury and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue are also members of the Board.
Candidates must be appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate, and must have professional experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:
Members are appointed based on qualifications without regard to political affiliation.
The Board operates much like a corporate board of directors, but is tailored to fit a public sector organization. The Board provides the IRS with long-term guidance and direction, and applies its private-sector experience and expertise in evaluating the IRS’ progress in improving its service. It reviews and approves IRS strategic plans and its budget requests, and evaluates IRS efforts to monitor its own performance. The Board reviews the evaluation and compensation of senior IRS officials. It also recommends candidates to the President to serve as IRS Commissioner, and can recommend a commissioner’s removal.
The Board reaches out to a wide variety of stakeholders to understand their views on tax administration and its impact on taxpayers. The Board interacts regularly with external groups that include tax professionals, taxpayer advocacy groups, representatives of state tax departments, IRS advisory committees, IRS employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, and other groups that have an interest in tax administration. The Board also conducts an annual survey of taxpayers’ attitudes about compliance and other issues relating to tax administration.
The Board regularly meets in sessions and holds at least one public meeting each year. The Board’s web site at www.irsoversightboard.treas.gov provides information on the Board’s meetings. Following its public meetings, the Board posts its agenda and stakeholder statements on its web site. Press releases describing regular meetings are also available on the web site.
The Board publishes an annual report, as well as a report reviewing the progress of IRS’ electronic tax filing efforts. The Board may also publish interim reports throughout the year on specific topics, such as the budget. All reports are available on the Board’s web site. The Board also is invited to testify before Congress periodically. The Board’s testimony is posted on its web site. The Board distributes press releases describing its activities to the media at the end of each of its meetings.
Under the law, the Board cannot be involved in specific IRS law enforcement activities, including examinations, collection activities, or criminal investigations. The Board also cannot be involved in specific procurement activities or most personnel matters. The Board does not develop or formulate tax policy on existing or proposed tax laws. However, the Board has an ongoing interest in IRS operations and administration and would be interested in the insights and observations of those working with the IRS. These insights can be helpful in understanding the IRS’ progress in communicating and implementing its long-term plans.
The Board maintains a staffed office in Washington, DC.
Correspondence should be sent to:
IRS Oversight Board
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220