On the morning of August 22, Audrey Casillas, KYCC Economic Development Specialist, represented Los Angeles communities as an invited speaker during the National Taxpayer Advocate Public Forum. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olsen and Rep. Xavier Becerra led this meeting at Boyle Heights City Hall to discuss taxpayers’ wants and needs from the IRS in order to comply with their tax obligations. In attendance were members of the public and media. This forum was held to discuss potential issues, concerns and questions regarding the still developing “Future State” plan set forth by the IRS two years ago.

In an effort to take advantage of growing technological advances, the IRS announced its new “Future State” initiative. It proposed an updated plan in which taxpayers will be able to use online user accounts as a channel to interact with and obtain information from the IRS. The goal is to elevate the entire taxpayer experience to a whole new level, one in which convenience and efficiency are streamlined. As the IRS “Future State” efforts continue to evolve, getting feedback from a variety of voices is critical to improve tax administration.

The objective of the public forum at Boyle Heights City Hall was to garner opinions from attending members and speakers in order to ensure the “Future State” will be successful in meeting taxpayers’ needs. Ms. Casillas was in support of the “Future State” initiative, but understandably had a few concerns that she believed needed to be addressed as the plan moved forward. Most importantly, she believed that the switch to an online portal would be “daunting” to a considerable portion of the city’s population. KYCC works with many monolingual, low-income immigrant families that would surely struggle with the language and technological barriers presented in the new plan.

“These taxpayers, with limited English and technology proficiency will be greatly impacted by the transition of IRS services to the online portal, and will require more support,” Casillas said. “There are also reasonable concerns for identity theft.”

These taxpayers already experience a great deal of trouble and stress trying to communicate with the IRS. Since they are frequently unable to receive help from the IRA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs have been flooded with requests for assistance. Ms. Casillas hopes that the IRS’ “Future State” plan includes comprehensive and supportive services to offset the linguistic and technological challenges these taxpayers will inevitably face.