"Kinder and gentler is certainly a description that I don't have any problem with," said Val Oveson, the new National Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS.
Oveson is in charge of making the much-despised agency more people-friendly by offering new and improved customer services.
"I want to be seen as a problem solver," Oveson says. "Someone who is willing to go on the line for taxpayers every day to make a difference."
This year, taxpayers have broader rights to hearings and appeals, while the burden of proof in disputes has also shifted from taxpayers to the IRS.
It's a new attitude that's being noticed.
One taxpayer commented, "I'm very satisfied, and the people who work at the IRS seem very pleasant."
And tax experts are noticing the change, too.
"It's still their job to collect taxes. That hasn't changed," said Eileen Brown of H&R Block. "However, they have gone through additional retraining. So while maybe they're not warm and cuddly, they do listen to taxpayers' problems."