The Internal Revenue Service is promising this tax season will be markedly better than in years past, with faster processing and speedier service to taxpayers and tax professionals alike.
Some observers agree that last filing season bodes well.
“For the first time since I began serving as the National Taxpayer Advocate in March 2020, discussions about improving the taxpayer experience and modernizing the IRS’s information technology systems do not seem like merely wishful thinking,” writes NTA Erin Collins in her recent
Some tax preparers agree — but some don’t.
“The IRS has done more in the last year with the new money technology-wise than they’ve been able to do in the last two decades,” said Dan Henn, a CPA in Rockledge, Florida. “The IRS we know today will be vastly different from the IRS in three, five or 10 years from now. It will be easier for the tax pro [and taxpayer] to work with them.”
“I’m a big fan of the changes made to the Tax Pro Account,” added John Dundon, president of Taxpayer Advocacy Services in Englewood, Colorado. “It’s been long overdue, and I’m anxiously awaiting new developments. My biggest hope is that the new systems are secure and can thwart hackers.”
“I like the increased use of client accounts online because I can get authorizations and access more quickly,” said Morris Armstrong, an Enrolled Agent and registered investment advisor with Armstrong Financial Strategies, in Cheshire, Connecticut. “It’s also helpful, as a businessman, that I can see what authorizations I have online with the IRS, as opposed to having to file a FOIA request. The IRS website is always improving.”
‘A tall mountain’
“As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. Fueled by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the IRS has:
- Expanded in-person service
Taxpayer Assistance Centers;
- Increased toll-free phone help and expanded customer call-back features to reduce wait times;
- Added more detailed status information to the “Where’s My Refund?” tool;
- Enhanced paperless processing;
- Enhanced the Individual Online Account with chat, scheduling options and payments control; and,
- Launched the pilot of the Direct File free-filing program.
The IRS also recently said it would
It’s a start, some say.
“I’d like to see the IRS improve the training of the staff,” Armstrong said. “It’s still a situation where if you don’t like the answer from one rep, you simply hang up and call another. That’s a waste of their time and my time.”
“Realistically,” NTA Collins added, “the IRS has a tall mountain to climb to achieve its goals of rebuilding the agency, modernizing its systems, and providing the quality service taxpayers deserve.”
‘A number of years’
Bruce Primeau, a CPA and financial planning consultant with Summit Wealth Advocates in Prior Lake, Minnesota, said IRS enhancements came up at a recent meeting of his state society.
“The question was asked whether any tax preparers had noticed any improvements in the IRS service levels, and the answers were a resounding ‘no'” Primeau said. “Not sure how the IRS is defining ‘improvements,’ but I believe they still stand by the mandate that you can’t call them looking for tax answers and rely on those answers when preparing a client’s tax return. I think that’s absurd.”
Other preparers take a long view for real, positive change.
“It will take a long time for the IRS to get trained staff and upgrade software to be beneficial to the tax preparers and taxpayers,” said Scott Kadrlik, managing partner at Meuwissen, Flygare, Kadrlik & Associates, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “I don’t see any significant changes for a number of years.”
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