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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Press Release


September 12, 2012
TIGTA - 2012-42
Contact: David Barnes
(202) 622-3062
David.barnes@tigta.treas.gov
TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

The IRS Needs to Strengthen its Volunteer Program

WASHINGTON - Preparing accurate tax returns remains a challenge for the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Volunteer Program. This is the finding of a new audit report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The Volunteer Program provides no-cost Federal tax return preparation and electronic filing to underserved segments of individual taxpayers, including low-to moderate-income, elderly, disabled, and limited-English-proficient taxpayers.

TIGTA conducted this audit to determine whether taxpayers visiting IRS Volunteer Program sites receive quality service, including accurate tax return preparation.

TIGTA found that tax returns were prepared incorrectly because some volunteers did not follow all guidelines. For example, volunteers did not always use taxpayers' intake sheets correctly.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS continue to emphasize with volunteers the necessity of reviewing the intake sheet with taxpayers during tax return preparation to ensure that tax returns are prepared accurately. In addition, the IRS should also establish minimum due diligence standards for volunteers when preparing tax returns.

"The IRS has taken numerous actions to ensure the integrity of volunteers," said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "The IRS must continue to train and educate volunteers so that taxpayers will receive accurate tax return preparation," he added.

IRS management agreed with TIGTA's recommendations. The IRS updated Form 13614-C, Intake/Interview and Quality Review Sheet, and plans to continue to emphasize training on proper intake and interview techniques. The IRS also plans to adjust volunteer training and resource materials to clarify and underscore the due diligence obligations of volunteers when preparing tax returns.

Read the report.

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Note: The difference between the date TIGTA issues an audit report to the Internal Revenue Service and the date TIGTA publicly releases the report is due to TIGTA's internal review process to ensure that public release is in compliance with Federal confidentiality laws.

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