For some time now, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Retting has been declaring 2021 as the year his agency transforms the user experience of the American taxpayer.
Now, the agency has taken concrete steps in that direction.
The IRS has created a new position—the Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer—to “help unify and expand efforts across the agency to serve taxpayers.” The IRS has also filled those new shoes, naming Ken Corbin, currently the IRS Wage and Investment commissioner, to lead the taxpayer experience effort.
Corbin will take on the new role while continuing to serve in his present position.
“I’m excited for this opportunity and, with my dedicated Taxpayer Experience Office team, look forward to helping the IRS continue to earn the trust and respect of every American. We want to help taxpayers and we will,” Corbin said.
Corbin’s new position is the first senior leadership role created within the IRS under the framework of the Taxpayer First Act, which was enacted in 2019.
The IRS delivered its Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress in January. It provided a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at reimagining the taxpayer experience, enhancing employee training and restructuring the IRS organization to increase collaboration and innovation.
Members of the Taxpayer Experience Office, including Corbin, will report directly to the IRS commissioner.
“This position is designed to ensure the views and experiences of taxpayers and their professional representatives are factored into all aspects of IRS operations,” said IRS Commissioner Rettig. “While taxpayer service has always been a priority for the IRS, we can do more. Having Ken Corbin in this new position will provide a different way of ensuring the taxpayer component is factored into all aspects of global IRS operations and business decisions in a way that’s never been done before. Every taxpayer and every taxpayer interaction are important, and Ken will make a significant difference going forward.”
The Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer will work with business units and offices across the IRS, including Chief Counsel, the Independent Office of Appeals and the National Taxpayer Advocate.
Corbin is expected to work in coordination with the National Taxpayer Advocate, which is an independent organization inside the agency helping taxpayers with issues that can’t be resolved with the IRS.
The Taxpayer Advocate gives her stamp of approval
National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins sees Corbin as an excellent choice for the new position.
“The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s statutory mission is to identify problems taxpayers experience in their dealings with the IRS and to make recommendations to mitigate them. With Ken serving in this role, TAS will have a dedicated resource on the IRS operations side whose job is to address taxpayer problems. I believe his broad knowledge of tax administration, his understanding of issues impacting taxpayers, taxpayer service and taxpayer rights, and his demonstrated commitment to do the right thing will be a benefit for all taxpayers. I look forward to working closely with Ken and his team on behalf of our nation’s taxpayers to improve taxpayer service,” Collins said.
This new position isn’t just a fancy new title. Corbin will have a full to-do list the day he starts.
“The role will set the strategic direction for improving the taxpayer experience and identifying opportunities to make continuous improvements in real time for taxpayers and the tax professional community,” an IRS press release states. “This office will be focused on monitoring the taxpayer experience and providing other organizational units with information on changing taxpayer expectations, industry trends and ways to apply customer service best practices. Throughout this, there will be a continued emphasis on taxpayer rights.”
An IRS veteran, Corbin is no stranger to challenges. He’s served for more than three decades at the IRS in many different roles where serving taxpayers was a major component.
As W&I Commissioner, he oversees more than 35,000 employees across the country and serves more than 150 million taxpayers through work on the annual filing season as well as taxpayer-facing operations such as toll-free operations, tax return processing centers, Taxpayer Assistance Centers and tax forms, taxpayer correspondence and publication development.
Corbin began his career in government service at the Atlanta Service Center in 1986. During his career, Corbin has acquired an extensive background in operations from 10 years in Submission Processing, three in Accounts Management, six in Compliance Services, three in the Taxpayer Advocate Services and numerous executive assignments across the agency.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta. He is a graduate of the fall 2008 Candidate Development Program.