As we wrap up Public Service Recognition Week, a week set aside to honor individuals who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees, I want to take a moment to publicly recognize the public servants who work at TAS and the IRS. Today, more than ever, employees are working incredibly hard to assist taxpayers and protect their rights under unprecedented conditions amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency. Jacob Lew said it quite aptly: “I think there is no higher calling in terms of career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.” That appropriately sums up what TAS employees do every day.
In the twenty years of TAS’s existence, TAS employees have served more than 4.5 million taxpayers, made hundreds of administrative recommendations adopted by the IRS, and proposed approximately 45 legislative recommendations enacted into law by Congress. Our employees independently and collectively carry out TAS’s mission of helping taxpayers with individual problems and recommending “big picture” or systemic changes at the IRS or in the tax laws.
This can be a daunting task on a normal day. Amid balancing new telework environments, changes in processes, and unforeseen challenges and limitations, TAS’s and the IRS’s frontline employees have been doing extraordinary work under these circumstances! All TAS employees are working trying to keep operations as normal as possible for the taxpayers. The IRS was recently tasked with issuing some 150 million Economic Impact Payments as part of the CARES Act, and to do so, it has developed new processes, procedures and systems in record time. Many IRS functions, including TAS, came together with other federal agencies with one goal in mind – and that was to get as many payments in the hands of eligible individuals as quickly as possible. This was and continues to be a monumental task, as not all taxpayers have received their payments and other glitches have arisen. At the same time the agency works to resolve these problems, we should recognize that over 120 million taxpayers have received their payments due to the dedication of public service employees.
TAS alone has more than 1,500 dedicated employees – many with longstanding IRS or other government agency careers – who come together day after day to make a difference in the lives of U.S. taxpayers living in the United States and abroad. Our employees are truly the foundation of our advocacy organization. Their selfless acts of service do not always receive the attention they deserve. I, and TAS’s leadership team, appreciate and salute them every day, and especially this week in recognition of Public Service Recognition Week.