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Improve the IRS!

If you've always wanted to tell the IRS how to do its job, now's your chance. Join the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel.

TAPlogo As you may know, I was a TAP member for three years, wrapping up my term last December. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

I got to meet people from across the United States who really want to make the IRS' services and products better. We've already done a lot, but there's much left to do.

So if you want to help and live in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania,  Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina or Washington state, now's your chance.

TAP is seeking new members from those states.

The panel also is looking for folks willing to be alternate members in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. These folks will  be considered for membership if a vacancy occurs in their location.

What's the deal: First, it's a volunteer position. But while you get no compensation (although Uncle Sam will reimburse your TAP-related expenses), the payback in the people you'll meet, the projects you'll work on and the results you'll see is immeasurable.

Second, it does take time. The official word is 300 to 500 hours a year. Yes, 500 hours comes to 12 and a half 40-hour work weeks, but don't panic. You're not going to be doing three straight months of TAP work.

It's spread over 365 days and includes conference calls, time spent reading materials, speaking to others about TAP as well as some travel.

So be ready to work, but don't be scared off. Most TAP members quickly learn how to integrate the post into their lives.

Finally, you don't have to be a tax professional or even a tax geek to join. TAP wants a diverse cross section of folks, including a wide representation of how we make our livings or used to if you're retired. 

In fact, as a writer and a TAP member, I found that people with no formal connection to taxes often had a great ability to see problems and the best perspective on how to change things.

Apply now: TAP will be accepting applications through April 20.

You can complete and submit the form electronically.

If you run into any problems with the application or have any other questions, call TAP's toll-free number 1-888-912-1227.

Thanks for your consideration and good luck!

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