“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? 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 census
With a dominant win last Friday at Oregon, the No. 12 USC women’s tennis team now returns home, ready for its rematch with the No. 9 Baylor Bears today.The Women of Troy (8-4) have played high-quality opponents all season, and today’s dual meet will be no different. This is the fifth time in nearly three weeks that the Women of Troy will face a top-10 team.Rematch · Junior Maria Sanchez and junior Lyndsay Kinstler were unable to top Baylor earlier this season, falling 8-4 in their match. – Geo Tu | Daily TrojanThe last time USC took on Baylor (9-2) was in February at the ITA National Team Indoor championships in Wisconsin, where USC fell to the Bears 5-2, but the Women of Troy will get to challenge the Bears at home again in this match.When they competed against each other last month, the Women of Troy’s nationally ranked No. 3 singles player, junior Maria Sanchez, lost her only dual singles match of the season to Baylor’s No. 8 Lenka Broosova 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Sanchez currently boasts a 10-1 singles record and hopes to defeat Broosova to avenge her only loss.“The team morale is really good heading into this week. We’re all fired up to play Baylor again,” Sanchez said.Meanwhile, Baylor is coming into the match having just beat Texas Tech 6-1 and Iowa State 7-0 last week. In addition to Broosova, Baylor has four other nationally ranked singles players: No. 41 Nina Secerbegovic, No. 53 Csilla Borsanyi, No. 82 Jelena Stanivuk and No. 98 Taylor Ormond.Last time the two teams met, No. 21 sophomore Alison Ramos of USC was able to take down Borsanyi 7-5, 7-6, but Secerbegovic and Ormond posted wins over USC’s freshmen No. 22 Danielle Lao and No. 91 Valeria Pulido, 6-3, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-2, respectively.In doubles, Baylor’s Broosova and Borsanyi team up as the No. 11 duo. They took down USC’s Sanchez and senior Lyndsay Kinstler 8-4 in the teams’ last meeting.USC is 0-2 all-time against Baylor, falling 4-3 to the Bears in 2006 at Marks Stadium.USC’s lineup for the match has not yet been determined. The match will start at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.