Nothing Says I’m Sorry Like A Check

Apology payments” from the IRS — now that sounds like a great idea to me.

The Internal Revenue Service should issue “apology payments” of up to $1,000 to taxpayers whose cases are mishandled, the National Taxpayer Advocate told Congress yesterday.

Nina E. Olson, a federal official appointed by the Treasury secretary, said Congress should also enact a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

“I believe taxpayers and tax administration will benefit from an explicit statement of what taxpayers have a right to expect from their government and what the government has a right to expect from its taxpayers,” Olson said.

Not everyone thinks it’s a great idea, though. Here’s what one critic said: “It sounds like something where they could assuage people who know enough to go to the taxpayer advocate and complain very loudly, but there are potentially a lot of people who are damaged by things that happen at the IRS. One million [dollars] in apology payments just seems really ad hoc, and I don’t see any way that could be administered in a fair way.”

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