Topics Include: Tax Forums, Online Services, Enterprise Digitalization & Case Management, e-Signature, and the 2021 Get Ready Campaign
Tax Chair, Stephen Mankowski, CPA, recently attended the monthly IRS Meeting.
The IRS is intending to return to last year’s in-person format sometime in the future, pending the COVID-19 situation. Regardless of the format, there will be a Nationwide Tax Forum in 2021. The 2020 Forums attracted 10,300 paid attendees with access to 30+ seminars and a virtual exhibit hall. 18 of those sessions, including the IRS Commissioner’s address, are available on demand for a fee. Small business forums have been meeting quarterly throughout the pandemic and are excited to continue in this virtual world. The second multilingual forum was held recently online with Commissioner Rettig and Deputy Commissioner Lough in attendance.
Karen S. Howard assumed the role of Director of Online Services approximately four months ago. As a new leader in the Federal Government, she is working to bring her business expertise to taxpayer services. Ms. Howard is a veteran and has extensive experience in the retail industry, manufacturing operations and digital transformation. It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has underscored and accelerated the need for digital services. IRS.gov has had record website traffic of 78.7M viewers—more than six times of previous activity levels. This was primarily attributable to the launch of the Get My Payment app with 47M sessions, and at times, over 4M users per hour.
Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management
In July, the IRS created a new Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management Office, co-directed by Justin Abold-LaBreche and Harrison Smith, the objective being to take enterprise case management to the next level. More and more areas will be migrating into this office over the next three years. Digitalization data transformation is much more accessible for the IRS and taxpayers, as well as more accurate and timelier. There are many opportunities to make the IRS more efficient over the next year, especially with more than 1,438 forms between electronic and paper. While certain legislative requirements mandate that some things remain on paper, that is extremely rare. Newer technologies, such as machine learning, is allowing the IRS to enhance its Service both near and long term. In the future, the IRS could even foresee making taxpayer communications digital.
Update on e-Signature
The IRS is progressing with the implementation of e-Signatures on Forms 2848 (Power of Attorney) and 8821 (Tax Information Authorization). The IRS is planning to launch its Taxpayer Digitalization Platform (TDP) in January 2021. The platform will give both tax professionals and taxpayers secure access to create forms electronically. Taxpayer authentication will not be necessary as long as the tax professional submits the forms through the TDC. TDC submissions will be limited to one form at a time. The IRS is scheduling focus groups in November to gain feedback; and there will be a webinar in December to promote the platform.
2021 Get Ready Campaign
Now entering its fourth consecutive year, the Get Ready Campaign is launching in mid-November. The campaign is designed for a smoother taxpayer experience this coming filing season, including:
- What you can do to prepare now: year of changes, gathering records, and reminders to renew expiring ITINs
- What’s new: EIP (Economic Impact Payment) reconciliation Forms 1444 and 1444A and new income sources for taxpayers, such as refund interest (1099INT) and unemployment (1099G)
- Using online resources and the IRS website to help taxpayers stay safe
Stay tuned for next month’s IRS updates from NCCPAP.