Helping taxpayers and tax practitioners is one of the most important responsibilities of the IRS. However, long wait times on the phone and slow responses are unfortunately still a hallmark of interactions with the IRS, and they increased to all-time records during the pandemic, making it extremely difficult for practitioners to provide timely service to their clients and efficiently run their practices
The IRS now has an unprecedented number of unprocessed returns and correspondence in comparison to years before the pandemic, resulting in the issuance of numerous incorrect and mistargeted notices, liens, and levies. Additionally, the IRS is answering a record-low percentage of calls from all hotlines, including the PPS line, which prevents the resolution of straightforward issues. During its busiest times, the IRS was receiving 1,500 phone calls per second, resulting in a 2-3% answer rate.
In response to these issues, the Tax Practitioners United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition was formed and has come up with recommendations to help the IRS mitigate the burden on taxpayers and practitioners. This coalition is a diverse group of stakeholders from the tax practitioner community including those representing Latinos, African Americans, small businesses, practitioners and low-income taxpayers. The coalition members calling for immediate action from the IRS include:
- American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)
- Latino Tax Professional Association
- National Association of Black Accountants Inc.(NABA)
- National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
- National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
- National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP)
- National Society of Accountants (NSA)
- National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants, Inc. (NSBCPA)
- National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP)
- Diverse Organization of Firms (DOF)
- H&R Block
- Padgett Business Services
- Prosperity Now
- IRS webpage on Help for taxpayers and tax professionals: Special filing season alerts
- IRS webpage on IRS operations during COVID-19 : Mission-critical functions continue
The Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition has been actively advocating on behalf of taxpayers and tax practitioners to secure meaningful relief that can aid in making this tax season a little less overwhelming. The coalition urges the IRS to take the following steps:
- Discontinue automated compliance actions until the IRS is prepared to devote the necessary resources for a proper and timely resolution of the matter.
- Align requests for account holds with the time it takes the IRS to process any penalty abatement requests.
- Offer a reasonable cause penalty waiver, similar to the procedures of first time abate (FTA) administrative waiver, without affecting the taxpayer’s eligibility for FTA in future tax years.
- Provide taxpayers with targeted relief from both the underpayment of estimated tax penalty and the late payment penalty for the 2020 and 2021 tax year.
On January 24, 2022, the coalition held a media briefing outlining these recommendations days later, the IRS announced it would be suspending several more notices than it had originally announced. Additionally, they would reassign more staff to address the backlog of 24 million pieces of unprocessed mail.
On February 8, 2022, the coalition hosted a discussion forum titled: “Is Help on the Way from the IRS for this Filing Season?” The forum featured representatives of each of the members of the Coalition and was open to public, media, Hill staff and government employees. Click here to listen to an archive of the webinar.
The Coalition has submitted the following correspondence in support of recommendations:
- February 16, 2022 – Coalition Letter Response to Feb 8 Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Challenges Facing Taxpayers
- January 27, 2022 – Taxpayer Advocate Coalition The Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Statement on IRS Actions Offering Limited Taxpayer Relief (Coalition statement)
- January 24, 2022 – Diverse Coalition of Stakeholders The Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Statement on Media Briefing on IRS Service Issues (Coalition media briefing )
- January 14, 2022 – Coalition Letter to IRS and Treasury on Relief for Taxpayers for the 2022 Filing Season
- May 10, 2023 – AICPA recommendations on the H.R. 190, Saving Gig Economy Taxpayers Act
- May 9, 2023 – AICPA Comments to IRS on Acceptance of Electronic Signatures and Electronic Filing for All Returns and other Documents
- May 3, 2023 - AICPA Comments on S. 1338, Legislation to Treat Electronically Submitted Tax Payments and Documents as Timely If Submitted on or Before the Applicable Deadline
- April 28, 2023 - AICPA Comments to IRS and Treasury on Centralized Partnership Audit Regime, Including Related Forms and Schedules
- March 28, 2023 - AICPA Comments on IRS Operational Plan for Resources Included in the Inflation Reduction Act
- March 17, 2023 - AICPA Comments Requesting Lookback Period for Refunds and Credits to Apply to All Disasters Going Forward
- February 13, 2023 - AICPA Comments on OMB Number: 1545-0159 on Form 3520 and Form 3520-A
- February 7, 2023 - 2023 AICPA Compendium of Tax Legislative Proposals – Simplification and Technical Proposals
- January 13, 2023 - AICPA Comments on Proposed Regulations to Implement Section 7803(e) Regarding IRS Independent Office of Appeals
- December 23, 2022 - AICPA Press Release on AICPA Encouraged by IRS Decision to Delay 1099-K $600 Threshold Implementation, Urges Further Consideration to Raise Threshold
- October 28, 2022 - AICPA Comments on Virtual Currency Reporting under Internal Revenue Code Section 6045 and Section 6050I, Form 8300 and Instructions
- August 31, 2022 - AICPA Urgent Request for Immediate Guidance Regarding New International Reporting Requirements, Schedule K-2 and Schedule K-3 for Tax Year 2021
- August 17, 2022: AICPA Endorses Congressional Letter Urging Action to Address Backlog
- August 10, 2022: AICPA Addresses Level of Service with Practitioner Phone Line
- August 5, 2022: AICPA Comments on Tax Provisions in Senate Reconciliation Legislation
- July 11, 2022: Letter to Treasury and IRS on the additional measure to address the backlog
- May 13, 2022: AICPA statement on the destruction of 30 million tax documents by the Internal Revenue Service.
- February 17, 2022: Senate Finance Committee hearing on Spotlighting IRS Customer Service Challenges with AICPA, GAO, and IRS National Taxpayer Advocate testifying (written testimony and statement on hearing)
- February 10, 2022: Letter to Treasury and IRS and statement by Senate Finance Committee Republicans urging IRS to provide maximum taxpayer support during difficult filing season
- February 8, 2022: House Ways and Means Committee Oversight Subcommittee hearing with the National Taxpayer Advocate on Challenges Facing Taxpayers (written testimony and coalition letter response)
- February 3, 2022: Letter to IRS from Senate Finance Committee Republicans on ID.me
- January 26-27, 2022: Letter to Treasury and IRS from Senate Democrats and statement on increased IRS funding as Americans prepare for 2022 tax filing season
- January 26, 2022: Letter from 217 Members of Congress to Treasury on filing season and relief recommendations
- September 3, 2021: HR 5155 - Taxpayer Penalty Protection Act of 2021
- IR-2023-74, April 10, 2023 — Treasury and IRS propose regulations identifying micro-captive transactions as abusive tax transactions.
- IR-2023-72, April 6, 2023 — IRS unveils Strategic Operating Plan; ambitious effort details a decade of change.
- IR-2023-45, March 13, 2023 — Danny Werfel began work today as the 50th commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
- IR-2023-40, March 7, 2023 — IRS issues renewed warning on Employee Retention Credit claims; false claims generate compliance risk for people and businesses claiming credit improperly.
- IR-2023-31, Feb. 21, 2023 — IRS and Treasury issue final regulations on e-file for businesses.
- IR-2023-29, Feb. 16, 2023 — Taxpayers can now upload more documents to IRS; new online option for 9 notices can help resolve issues faster.
- IR-2023-23, Feb. 10, 2023 — The IRS provided details today clarifying the federal tax status involving special payments made by 21 states in 2022.
- IR-2023-19, Feb. 6, 2023 — IRS introduces new service industry tip reporting program.
- IR-2022-227, December 23, 2022 — Treasury, IRS provide transitional guidance for broker reporting on digital assets.
- IR-2022-226, December 23, 2022 — IRS announces delay for implementation of $600 reporting threshold for third-party payment platforms’ Forms 1099-K.
- IR-2022-222, December 16, 2022 — The Internal Revenue Service announced Courtney Kay-Decker as the new Deputy Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer today.
- IR-2022-214, December 6, 2022 — Treasury and IRS propose regulations identifying syndicated conservation easement transactions as abusive tax transactions.
- November 10, 2022: IRS statement – Commissioner Rettig’s final message.
- November 4, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-195 — IRS Independent Office of Appeals taking important steps to expand communications with external stakeholders and to improve taxpayer access to Appeals.
- October 27, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-191 – IRS moves forward with taxpayer service improvements; 4,000 hired to provide more help on phones during 2023 tax season.
- October 19, 2022: IRS statement 2022-185 — Taxpayers in areas covered by certain Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster declarations they may have more time to file their returns to qualify for the penalty relief under Notice 2022-36 for their 2019 and 2020 tax returns.
- August 24, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-155 – IRS provides broad-based penalty relief for certain 2019 and 2020 returns due to the pandemic; $1.2 billion in penalties being refunded to 1.6 million taxpayers.
- August 18, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-154 – IRS Appeals invites input on enhancing video conference options for taxpayers and tax professionals.
- July 20, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-142 on the 5-year IRS Strategic Plan FY 2022-2026 outlines its goals to improve taxpayer service and tax administration
- February 16, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-38 and FAQs on IRS provides further details on additional relief for certain partnerships preparing schedules K-2 and K-3 for 2021
- February 14, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-32 on IRS launches resource page on IRS.gov with latest details and information for taxpayers during filing season
- February 9, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-31 on IRS continues work to help taxpayers; suspends mailing of additional letters
- February 7, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-27 on IRS announces transition away from use of third-party verification involving facial recognition
- February 2, 2022: Commissioner Rettig memo on creation of Inventory Surge Team of Accounts Management prior employees
- January 28, 2022: Professional Managers Association statement on Charge and Response: Congressional Letter Urging IRS Action During 2022 Tax Filing Season
- January 27, 2022: IRS statement - Providing meaningful assistance to taxpayers in the current environment (suspend notices in situations where we have credited taxpayers for payments but have no record of the tax return being filed)
- January 24, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-18 on IRS begins 2022 tax season; urges extra caution for taxpayers to file accurate tax returns electronically to speed refunds, avoid delays
- January 12, 2022: IRS statement IR-2022-11 on National Taxpayer Advocate delivers Annual Report to Congress; focuses on taxpayer impact of processing and refund delays
- January 10, 2022: IRS statement and IR-2022-08 on 2022 tax filing season begins Jan. 24; IRS outlines refund timing and what to expect in advance of April 18 tax deadline
- IRS webpage on IRS operations during COVID-19 : Mission-critical functions continue
National Taxpayer Advocate:
- May 4, 2023 - NTA Blog: Refund Statutes and the Lookback Rule Make Taxpayer and Tax Professionals’ Eyes Glaze Over
- May 1, 2023 - NTA Blog: Foreign Information Penalties: Part Three: Keeping a Watchful Eye on the FBAR Guard Dog
- April 20, 2023 - NTA Blog: Chapter 61 Foreign Information Penalties: Part Two: Taxpayers and Tax Administration Need Finality, Which Requires Legislation
- April 17, 2023 - NTA Blog: Chapter 61 Foreign Information Penalties: Part One: Taxpayers and Tax Administration Need a Legislation Fix
- April 6, 2023 - NTA Blog: IRS Strategic Operating Plan Has Potential to Transform Tax Administration
- March 16, 2023 - NTA Blog: National Taxpayer Advocate Urges Congress to Maintain IRS Appropriations But Re-Direct Some Funds Toward Taxpayer Service and Information Technology Modernization
- February 27, 2023 - NTA Blog: Lookback Rule: The IRS Fixes the Refund Trap for the Unwary
- February 9, 2023 - NTA Blog: The IRS Must Be Proactive in Issuing Timely and Clear Guidance to Resolve Tax Reporting Ambiguities
- January 20, 2023 - NTA Blog: National Taxpayer Advocate Releases 2022 Annual Report to Congress
- December 27, 2022 - NTA Blog: Heard Loud and Clear: IRS Postpones Implementation of $600 Form 1099-K Reporting by a Year
- September 15, 2022 - NTA Blog: The NTA Reimagines the IRS with a Dramatically Improved Taxpayer Experience: Part Two
- September 14, 2022 - NTA Blog: The NTA Reimagines the IRS with a Dramatically Improved Taxpayer Experience: Part One
- August 24, 2022 - NTA Blog: Good News: The IRS Is Automatically Providing Late Filing Penalty Relief for Both 2019 and 2020 Tax Returns. Taxpayers Do Not Need to Do Anything to Receive this Administrative Relief
- June 24, 2022 - NTA Blog: Beginning Today, Some of Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable Taxpayers Will Automatically Have Their Accounts Excluded From Assignment to Private Collection Agencies
- June 22, 2022: NTA FY2023 Objectives Report to Congress (IR-2022-129, full report)
- April 28, 2022: Blog on IRS Online Accounts Do Not Have Sufficient Functionality and Integration With Existing Tools to Meet the Needs of Taxpayers and Tax Professionals
- April 19, 2022: Blog on Math Error Notices: What You Need to Know and What the IRS Needs to Do to Improve Notices
- March 30, 2022: Blog on Getting Rid of the Kryptonite: The IRS Should Quickly Implement Scanning Technology to Process Paper Tax Returns
- March 2, 2022: Blog on An Overloaded IRS Stops Certain Automated Notices, But Taxpayers Still Need to File Federal Tax Returns and Pay Outstanding Taxes
- February 1, 2022: Blog on Hello, Is Anyone There? Taxpayers and Practitioners Continue to Experience Frustration Over Lack of Adequate Phone Service
- January 14, 2022: Blog on National Taxpayer Advocate Releases 2021 Annual Report to Congress
- January 12, 2022: 2021 Annual Report to Congress (Full Report , Executive Summary , Most Serious Problems)
- November 10, 2021: Blog on IRS Delays in Processing Amended Tax Returns Are Impacting TAS’s Ability to Assist Taxpayers
- September 21, 2022: Blog on TAS Facing Similar Challenges as the IRS: Processing Delays and Low Level of Service
- Fiscal Year 2022 Objectives Report to Congress (Full Report , Review of the 2021 Filing Season)
Coalition Top News Hits:
- April 20, 2022: Bloomberg Tax – The IRS is long overdue for substantial and systemic changes
- February 17, 2022: The Tax Adviser – AICPA testifies to Congress on IRS service problems
- February 15, 2022: The Washington Post – Eight scary automated IRS notices that are being suspended
- February 10, 2022: The Journal of Accountancy – IRS identifies paused taxpayer notices
- February 9, 2022: The Journal of Accountancy – Tax pros share IRS service challenge stories, solutions
- February 3, 2022: The Washington Post – Op ed, Nina Olsen: Five ways to fix the IRS, starting with a halt to most audits
- February 3, 2022: Politico – All hands on deck
- January 28, 2022: The Washington Post – Three days after the 2022 tax season started, an overwhelmed IRS suspends some taxpayer notices
- January 26, 2022: Tax Notes – Tax Pros Offer Filing Season Relief Recommendations
- January 25, 2022: Accounting Today – IRS Child Tax Credit letters may have wrong information
- February 10, 2022: Journal of Accountancy –- IRS service issues: What a coalition of tax pros seeks to change
- February 3, 2022: Tax Section Odyssey – ;Bonus edition — IRS woes and possible remedies
- January 25, 2022: Tax Section Odyssey – Tax season déjà vu in 2022