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New National Taxpayer Advocate Expected to Start in Early April (1)

Feb. 21, 2020, 8:05 PMUpdated: Feb. 21, 2020, 8:23 PM

The IRS expects to have a permanent leader for the Taxpayer Advocate Service in place by early April, according to an internal message obtained by Bloomberg Tax.

The internal message sent to the service’s employees by IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig Wednesday doesn’t disclose who that person is but said a formal announcement will be made in the next few weeks. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent arm of the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve disputes with the agency.

The message rules out Bridget Roberts, who has been serving as the acting leader. Roberts will return to her former position as deputy national taxpayer advocate when the new permanent head of the organization starts, the message said.

Roberts has led the TAS since Nina Olson stepped down from the role last summer after 18 years on the job.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing said Olson’s replacement had been chosen.

The position of national taxpayer advocate is appointed by the Treasury secretary after consultation with the IRS commissioner. The person must come from outside of the IRS and have a background in both customer service and the tax law. He or she must also have experience representing individual taxpayers, according to the 1998 law that created the position.

Olson’s replacement will be the third person to fill the national taxpayer advocate role since its inception.

(Updates to include additional information in seventh paragraph. A previous version corrected the date the message was sent.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Allyson Versprille in Washington at aversprille@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com; Sony Kassam at skassam1@bloombergtax.com

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