Over the past few years, the level of customer service at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could have been better. The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) reported that in the 2022 filing season, taxpayers experienced several issues. The issues experienced included significant difficulties reaching customer service via telephone, delays with taxpayer correspondence, and refund processing. While it was undoubtedly an improvement over the prior year which was abysmal for the agency, more work must be done. The NTA report recommended several updates, including creating an online account for business taxpayers and their tax professionals, expanding the availability of e-filing tax returns for taxpayers which previously have not had access, and implementing advanced scanning technology to reduce the time and cost of processing paper-filed tax returns.
Last week, the IRS issued IR-2023-194, highlighting how various investments made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 have been paying off. It details the new compliance programs targeting egregious tax evaders and insights into how several practical improvements are paying off. Specific information about business tax accounts, the ability to respond to online notices, and the introduction of mobile-friendly forms have been discussed. To help clients, prospects, and others, Tanner has summarized the key details below.
- Business Tax Accounts – The agency recently launched the first phase of this functionality, which allows unincorporated sole proprietors with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to set up an account. Access will allow them to view their business profile and set up account access management. This service is only one small step for business tax accounts. Over the next five years, it is expected accountholders will be able to view letters or notices, add third parties for power of attorney, schedule tax payments, and store bank account information. The goal is a single location where business taxpayers can interact with the IRS.
- Respond to Online Notices – During the pandemic, many notices were sent out in error, causing concern and frustration due to the inability to resolve issues. Processing times were prolonged due to staffing issues, and matters were made more complicated because responses could only be sent via mail. However, this has changed since taxpayers can now respond to some common tax notices online, such as Earned Income and Health Insurance Tax Credits. During the 2023 filing season, taxpayers could reply to notices online, saving time and money. In fact, as of September 29th, over 32,000 responses have been received online.
- Mobile-Friendly Forms – The agency is also making it easier to submit mobile-friendly forms with the launch of the first three forms. This service includes Form 15109 – Request for Tax Deferment, Form 14039 – Identity Theft Affidavit, and Form 14242 – Reporting Abusive Tax Promotions/Preparers. Form 13909 – Tax Exempt Organization Complaint is expected to launch later this autumn, with at least 20 of the most-used tax forms to be launched in early 2024. These updated forms are designed to be adaptive for mobile device screens that can be submitted online when completed.
In addition, the agency is also working to expand the functionality of existing online platforms. Individual taxpayer accounts will receive new features and functionality following the May launch of virtual assistance and live chat. For example, taxpayers can now validate bank account information and save it in multiple places, preventing the need to enter it every time a payment is made. Several updates are also being made to tax professional accounts to make serving individual and business needs easier, such as a more robust ability to manage active client authorizations on file with the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) database.
The modernization efforts undertaken by the IRS continue to make it easier to interact with the agency. Over the next several years, additional enhancements will be implemented to create new efficiencies. If you have questions about the information outlined above or need assistance with tax or accounting issues, Tanner can help. For additional information, call 801.532.7444 or click here to contact us.
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