IRS Volunteers Often Make Mistakes


The IRS runs a Volunteer Program that regularly solicits help from volunteers to file taxes for the low income, English language challenged or elderly taxpayers, among others. Last year, the agency used more than 87,000 volunteers to file about 3.1 million tax returns. But the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reviewed the work done by the volunteers and found a rather high rate of inaccuracy in the returns. This discovery was recorded in an official report by the TIGTA.

Out of 3 dozen returns prepared by the volunteers examined by TIGTA, it was found that only 14 were submitted in without mistakes. Granted, 3 dozen does not represent a large cross section of the millions of tax returns and it should not be seen as a general picture. Nevertheless, Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said he was still very troubled by the report. The report included details of three of the cases examined where volunteers actually changed factual details on purpose.

Inspector General George said, “The Volunteer Program plays an important role in helping many taxpayers, notably those who have low incomes and the elderly, disabled, and limited-English proficient, participate in the tax system. Like all taxpayers, they deserve to have their tax returns prepared accurately.”

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