The IRS recently updated the public on how it’s been spending its cash infusion, including new online accounts and mobile-friendly forms. It also announced an end to surprise visits from tax collectors.
“We’ve started transforming IRS operations,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel stated. “These will provide significant benefits for taxpayers, tax professionals, and the tax system over the next decade. We have a unique opportunity, a once-in-a-generation chance, to envision and realize the future of tax administration.”
The Tax Advisor reports these changes—most occurring by the end of fiscal year 2024—include:
- Enhanced capabilities for tax professional online accounts, including account authorization management, payment viewing, and secure two-way messaging.
- Business online accounts, allowing businesses to view outstanding balances, make payments online, and conduct a business tax check.
- The addition of 18 forms that can be submitted via mobile devices. “This is an important upgrade because about 15% of Americans rely on mobile phones for their internet access,” writes The Tax Advisor’s Martha Waggoner.
- A continued expansion of information return intake system (IRIS) capabilities, including bulk filing for those dealing with thousands of Form 1099-Ks.
The IRS recently hired a new Chief Transformation and Strategy Officer to spearhead improvements further. It’s also inviting public input on improvements to its alternate dispute resolution (ADR) programs to “help to reduce the time, costs and administrative burden for taxpayers and the government in resolving tax disputes.”
The agency currently provides four main ADR programs, including Fast Track Settlement (FTS), Fast Track Mediation – Collection (FTMC), Rapid Appeals Process (RAP), and Post Appeals Mediation (PAM). “But the use of these programs fell by 65% between FYs 2013-2022, and the IRS doesn’t have enough data to understand why. For instance, the IRS doesn’t collect data on how often it rejects taxpayers’ requests to use these programs,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office points out.
In a separate announcement, the IRS says it has immediately stopped most unplanned visits to taxpayers’ homes and businesses to collect unpaid taxes and unfiled returns. Previously, the IRS made tens of thousands of unannounced visits annually, Inc. reports.
The move, in part, is an effort to help keep both taxpayers and IRS agents safe. First, there will be no more confusion about whether it’s really the IRS knocking on your door. Instead, agents will send out appointment letters. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that more than 75,000 people lost around $28 million to tax scam artists pretending to be IRS agents in 2018 alone.
Second, various risks to IRS agents themselves will be curbed. Some of these risks are from the taxpayers themselves. “The agency in recent years has experienced more threats, in part tied to conspiracy theories that agents were going to target middle-income taxpayers more aggressively,” AP reports.
Feel free to contact us with questions on how these improvements and changes could affect you.