Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, is the voice of
the taxpayer before the IRS and Congress. She leads the Taxpayer
Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS,
in helping taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and in working
for systemic change in the IRS and the U.S. tax code. TAS has
assisted more than two million taxpayers since its inception in
Throughout her career, Ms. Olson has advocated for the rights of
taxpayers, and for greater fairness and less complexity in the tax
system. In calling for fundamental reform in 2012, she wrote, "A
simpler, more transparent tax code will substantially reduce the
estimated 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion that taxpayers spend
on return preparation" and "reduce the likelihood that
sophisticated taxpayers can exploit arcane provisions to avoid
paying their fair share of tax."
Ms. Olson was appointed to the position of National Taxpayer
Advocate in January 2001. Under her leadership, the Annual
Report to Congress has become a vehicle for change. It is one
of two reports the NTA is required by statute to deliver each year,
and outlines the most serious problems facing the taxpayer.
Dozens of her recommendations for change have been introduced
as legislation since 2001 and fifteen have been enacted.
Ms. Olson is a member of the American College of Tax Counsel,
and delivered the group's prestigious Griswold Lecture in January
2010. More recently, she gave the 2013 Woodworth Lecture,
sponsored by Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University.
The non-profit Tax Foundation selected her to receive its
Public Sector Distinguished Service Award in 2007. Accounting
Today magazine has named her one of its Top 100 Most Influential
People in the accounting profession each year since 2004 and Money
magazine named her one of the 12 "Class Acts of 2004."
Prior to her appointment as the NTA, Ms. Olson founded and
was Executive Director of The Community Tax Law Project, the first
independent § 501(c)(3) low income taxpayer clinic in the United
States. From 1975 until 1991, she owned a tax planning and
preparation firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
An attorney licensed in Virginia and North Carolina, Ms. Olson
served as the chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section
of Taxation's Low Income Taxpayers Committee as well as the Pro
Se/Pro Bono Task Force of the ABA Tax Section's Court Procedure
Committee. She is the 1999 recipient of both the Virginia Bar
Association's Pro Bono Publico Award and the City of Richmond Bar
Association's Pro Bono Award.
Ms. Olson graduated from Bryn Mawr College cum laude with an
A.B. in Fine Arts. She received her J.D. cum laude from North
Carolina Central School of Law and her Masters of Law in Taxation,
with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center. Ms.
Olson has served as an adjunct professor at several law