Topics Include: e-Signature Update, TFA Report to Congress, Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress, and Taxpayer Relief Initiatives
As reported by Tax Chair, Stephen Mankowski, CPA, who recently attended the monthly IRS Meeting
The Taxpayer Digital Communications (TDC) Secure Messaging Program deployed e-Signature on 1/25/21. To access this capability, a tax practitioner must either be registered for e-Services or access it through Forms 2848 or 8821. This will allow taxpayers to submit their forms with an SSN, EIN, or ITIN. If married, both the taxpayer and spouse require separate uploads. Note that practitioners can only send one form at a time. Processing of forms will occur in the same manner as if faxed to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF).
Taxpayer First Act (TFA) Report to Congress
The report outlines strategies to improve the taxpayer experience, training, and organizational design. Under the taxpayer experience area, they are looking to improve within a Community of Partners and expand upon groups that are already working with the IRS. Within Organizational Structure, the IRS is bringing all of its efforts under a single umbrella. A key part of the report includes creating a new position called the Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer who would work to drive improvements across the agency to taxpayers’ experiences with the IRS. The agency is aiming to establish this position during the current fiscal year.
Small Business/Self-Employed Taxpayer Relief Initiatives
The SB/SE created a focus guide last year and a new one for this fiscal year called, It’s Still the Time!, with the goal being to understand the taxpayer focus and leverage technology. One new issue is a marijuana initiative as many states have adopted new laws relative to medical and recreational use. A new page was released to help small businesses as it is still not legal from a federal perspective. Virtual Currency continues to be an area of concern and training for employees. There is a new Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) with frequent announcements for 2021. One area not anticipated is COVID-19 related fraud. They are working with IRS Criminal Investigation to address this issue.
- With social distancing, the IRS has been working with taxpayers to determine if onsite vs. remote is the best approach. They have already started with Zoom calls to reach taxpayers.
- The “hearing all voices” campaign is focused on multi-lingual communities with English as a second language. They explain SB/SE services and listen to their challenges to determine best methods of service.
- Automated liens and levies have been turned off for the time being. They have been off since April and the IRS is working to determine the best time to turn them back on.
- Short-term installment agreements have been extended to 6-months. This program has been in effect since January 2020.
- Campus cases under $250K can now be setup without financial statements provided they are paid during life of the statute. Installments under $250K will also not be required to file a tax lien.
2021 Get Ready Campaign
The official start of the filing season is February 12th. Things are coming together quickly from a communication perspective. Regarding Publication 5367, Opt-in Program to Taxpayers, the IRS announced an extension to all taxpayers and also encouraged them to use the online tool to obtain their IP PIN. Regarding EIP payments, if the taxpayer received the maximum payment, they don’t need to do anything. However, they do need to file a 2020 tax return (preferably electronically) to receive any unpaid EIP. Taxpayers can go to Secure Access to be able to view the amount of EIP received.
Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress
The Report to Congress is now online. The IRS learned a lot during the pandemic with remote workforce and security concerns. The report focuses on issues that the taxpayer faced during COVID-19. There was an overriding theme of giving the IRS sufficient funds to properly administer, upgrade/modernize technology, and address international challenges. The report also focuses on staffing because large numbers of employees will retire in the next few years and the IRS receives about 100M calls annually and needs staff to handle the volume.
Look for my next IRS Update Report at the end of February.
The National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) is a professional organization comprised of Certified Public Accountants practicing in the United States. In addition to serving as a forum for education, networking, and community impact, NCCPAP also advocates for its clients. NCCPAP influences tax administration and tax policy by regularly meeting with Internal Revenue Service representatives, state taxing authorities, and elected officials. NCCPAP members represent over one million businesses and individual clients. The organization is headquartered in Woodbury, NY. For more information visit, www.NCCPAP.org.