IRS needs more staff to help tax filers

first_img“It cannot answer the phone calls it currently receives, much less the phone calls it can expect to receive in light of tax reform, without adequate funding.”Indeed, the new tax law could prompt a wave of confusion that the IRS is ill-prepared to handle.The agency estimates it needs about $500 million just to change computer programs, update forms, write new regulations and answer questions stemming from the bill.After the 1986 tax reform, agency call volume spiked, and the number of returns that required corrections also ticked up, and it is fair to expect the same now. Though the IRS has tried to improve its phone service recently, even before the tax law passed it anticipated that fewer than half of callers would obtain help from a live person this year.Given the complexity of the new law, many people will have questions that are more than basic.“Taxpayers who want to learn about how the tax law affects them are left searching about 140,000 web pages on IRS.gov or turning to paid professionals,” Olson wrote. Worried that you won’t be able to fill out your returns correctly under the new tax law?Do not take it out on the poor IRS employee who could not answer your tax question, even after you spent a half-hour on hold.Blame the GOP-led Congress, which, in its anti-IRS fervor, has driven the agency into the ground. It has become one of the most reliable traditions in contemporary Washington.Every year, the national taxpayer advocate explains that under-funding the IRS makes the tax filing process unnecessarily miserable for those who follow the law, while rewarding those who flout it.And every year, the Republican-led Congress decides to keep the tax system unnecessarily miserable for the law-abiding and easier on the lawbreakers.“Funding cuts have rendered the IRS unable to provide acceptable levels of taxpayer service, unable to upgrade its technology to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, and unable to maintain compliance programs,” national taxpayer advocate Nina Olson wrote in her annual report to lawmakers. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post.Hate the Internal Revenue Service?center_img While the taxpayer advocate argued that the IRS could do more with less, there is no doubt that underfunding is a key driver of the dysfunction.Congress has cut the agency’s budget by some $300 million since 2009, a bit under 3 percent.During that time, lawmakers have saddled the IRS with responsibility to oversee the phase-in of a new health-care law and, now, a major tax overhaul. Can’t the IRS — and the Americans it is supposed to serve — just cope?“On the surface, it appears ‘customers’ (taxpayers) don’t have a choice about seeking another tax agency to work with — there are no competitors to which they can move their ‘business,’” Olson wrote.“In fact, however, there is a competitor, and it is the lure of noncompliance. If the IRS isn’t going to provide you the assistance you need in the manner you need it, then why bother complying with the tax laws?” More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Regional Development Agencies – more action and less talk

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Travelers describe suspected abduction attempt at Batesville rest area

first_imgBatesville, In. — A Zionsville-area woman is warning people to be alert when stopping along the highway while traveling. The woman described the incident that happened at the I-74 rest stop near Batesville and has sent a message of caution to others.Here is her account of what happened:Abby Sue19 hrs ·PSA: so we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break. Just my daughter and I went inside (i didn’t have my phone or purse on me). As we were walking in some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter, I held her hand the entire way in and walked swiftly ahead. As the lady was trying to talk to us she was also lighting a cigarette which she immediately extinguished upon us entering building. We went to far end handicap stall and went in together. I heard the lady enter and she was talking to another lady about us heard her say “the little girl”, I told my daughter we weren’t washing hands and I was going to carry her out. As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave after us leaving her bag on the floor of the stall she was in. The other lady with her was probably 6’. I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors. Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 foreign men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…We called 911 and reported it and I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware of my surroundings my daughter may have been taken from me. It is a terrifying world we are living in  I wanted to share to try to remind everyone to be aware of your surroundings, hold on to your children and stay off your phones so you are not distracted!!!This was at a rest stop around mile marker 151 (Batesville) heading west on I -74last_img read more

Suarez seeking friendly resolution

first_img However, Suarez remains determined to find a way out of Anfield and admits even captain Steven Gerrard’s pleas for him to stay cannot offset the lure of the Champions League, while also reiterating he would jump at the chance to go to Real Madrid. “I’m still defending the Liverpool shirt and I will do so until the last minute,” Suarez, who was left at home for Wednesday night’s friendly against Valerenga in Norway because of injury and is unlikely to feature against Celtic in Dublin on Saturday, told Spanish newspaper Marca. “My aim is to reach an agreement with the club in a friendly manner and I hope the clause we agreed a year ago is fulfilled. Up to now, it hasn’t been. “It’s not that I want to or am desperate to leave, but I like things to be clear and a year ago I made my position to the club clear. “Gerrard has a lot of history with Liverpool and his words are very important but everyone should understand that I need to play the Champions League to keep growing as a footballer. “Now I have the chance, I want to take it. A Champions League team (Arsenal) is making a big effort to get me and one always wants to be where they feel comfortable. “There were a lot of rumours (about Real) that were different to reality: Madrid never called me personally or Liverpool to try and negotiate. “Every player aspires to reach the top and Real Madrid is among the most important clubs in the world. It would be very difficult to say no to Real Madrid.” Asked where he would choose to go were it up to him Suarez, who earlier in the summer complained about his treatment by the British press, added: “I would decide what’s best for my private life and my family.” Suarez maintains he has an agreement with Liverpool which, following their failure to qualify for the Champions League, allows him to leave if any club bids £40million. Arsenal tested that theory with an offer which exceeded the figure by a pound but it was rejected by the Merseysiders who insists they have no obligation to sell at that price, only open negotiations. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, told Press Association Sport he did not believe there was a “cast-iron” buy-out clause and as he understood the situation Liverpool were not under any obligation to sell. Suarez thinks differently however. “We (Suarez and his agents) had an offer from a Champions League team, we considered the situation and decided that, as a new coach (Rodgers) was coming, and the club was making a big effort to get into Europe, we should renew my contract with a new clause: if we didn’t get into the Champions League I could leave if there was an offer of over £40 million,” he told Marca. “I don’t feel that (these are his last days at the club). I’m still enjoying being at Liverpool and the moments I’m experiencing with this club. “I’ll remember the day of my debut, and that I came here from Ajax with great expectations and then played some unforgettable games.” On his last two public appearances – Gerrard’s testimonial on Saturday and an open training session on Monday – Suarez was cheered by fans. That appreciation will not repeated in the wake of Wednesday’s developments despite the player’s protestations of praise for the support he has received during a turbulent time at the club in which he was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and received a 10-game suspension – six of which are still outstanding – for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. “The Liverpool fans are incredible. I’m very grateful for their support,” he said. “I’m very proud to feel their love and it demonstrates that I’m doing a good job.” Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has backed Rodgers’ stance over Suarez. “I think it’s probably right for Brendan Rodgers to take him out of the group,” Carragher, who retired at the end of last season after more than two decades with Reds, told Sky Sports News. “No one player is bigger than the squad, and he’s not actually going to be playing because he’s banned, so Liverpool need to concentrate on getting right for that first game of the season against Stoke. “And if Suarez is a distraction for everyone he needs to be taken out of the group.” The 35-year-old also believes Liverpool might be more willing to let the former Ajax forward leave Anfield if it was not to one of their main domestic rivals. “Arsenal are a big rival for a top-four place,” he added. “Maybe if he wanted to go somewhere else it wouldn’t be such a big issue and maybe Liverpool would sanction a deal because nobody wants unhappy players at the training ground, on the pitch….it affects other people. But it’s very difficult for Liverpool.” The Reds boss is unhappy with the attitude shown by the Uruguay international – who seems intent on forcing a move to Arsenal – in recent weeks and has been told to train on his own. Rodgers rejected Suarez’s claim he had reneged on an agreement last summer which would allow the player to leave for a Champions League club, saying interviews given by the 26-year-old suggesting as much showed “total disrespect” to the club. Press Association Wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez still hopes to come to a “friendly” resolution with the club over his transfer saga despite incurring the wrath of manager Brendan Rodgers.last_img read more