Was it something I said?
Today's mail brought me a note from Sheila Andrews, Director, very graciously thanking me for my application to serve as a volunteer member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, but saying that "we are unable to offer you a position on the TAP at this time."
The TAP is "a group of 75 citizen volunteers who listen to taxpayers, identify taxpayers’ issues, and make suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction." For the 2015 panel they generously decided to include one American living abroad.
Yippity-skip, said I, and applied.
And the answer was "no".
Disappointed? Yes and no. I honestly thought I could do some good on the panel and I was ready to put in the hours (and the travel).
On the other hand it did occur to me after I sent off my application that membership in the panel and what I write on this blog about the U.S. tax system (and our issues with it) might not be a good mix. If what they were looking for was a champion for the existing system that just needs a few tweaks and a bit of outreach to cajole those international taxpayers into cheerful compliance, then frankly I'm probably not the best person for the job.
I was however very amused by the form letter I received which was clearly written for Americans living in the homeland. In the second paragraph I am invited to consider volunteering for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics which are "nationwide." The idea is intriguing, but when they say "nationwide" are they talking about U.S. territory or the scope of the American nation which includes 7 million American citizens outside the U.S.?
The first. Looking at the list of clinics I see no LITC's for taxpayers outside of the U.S. And, of course, no opportunities for me to volunteer for such a thing where I live (along with roughly 100,000 other American citizens).
Not only is that a damn shame but it seems to me that this letter reveals a mindset that does not include Americans living outside the U.S. as part of their clientele.
Here's hoping that the international rep for the TAP can do something about that. Probably not but, hey, I live in hope....