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If you think you have an interesting "Today's Woman" topic, you can contact Candice Madsen at email@example.com. A Sandy woman was picked by the U.S. Department of The Treasury to serve on the nationwide Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. There are only 100 people on the panel, and Kirsten Ball is the only one from Utah.
Making it onto the panel was no easy feat. Ball had to complete a lengthy application and go through some rigorous interviews. It's a huge time commitment -- 300 to 500 hours yearly -- and it's all volunteer.
Ball believes it is her civic duty to get involved. She loves doing taxes, and she's not even an accountant.
"I've just always enjoyed tax issues, and I think it's fascinating to see how the tax code works," Ball said. "I think people are always surprised when you're interested in the tax code."
She actually has a background in gerontology and is a small business owner, but as the daughter of a county assessor, she grew up talking taxes. Now she's doing it on a volunteer basis as a tax payer advocate.
"If we don't make suggestions, the IRS can't improve. If we don't know what their frustrations are or issues that are coming up, then those same things will keep occurring," Ball said.
Members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel listen to taxpayers, identify issues and make suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction. So far, Ball says she has worked on making some of the tax jargon more reader-friendly.
"I read it, and my head was spinning. I mean it's very, very complex, so they need different perspectives from people," Ball said.
She's also on a committee looking at how the cancellation of debt works. "When people have gone through bankruptcies or foreclosures, they'll be getting notices, possibly from the IRS, when some of that debt is canceled is reported on a 1099 as income and taxable gain," she said.
Another thing to watch out for: how you report the government check you received last year. The IRS says 15 percent of the tax returns received so far include error in reporting last year's stimulus payments as income.