Elizabeth Tucker, Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support, was this year’s IRS keynote speaker. She gave attendees an inside look at where the IRS is and where it’s looking to be in the future.
She pointed out that in recent years, as you already know, that it’s commonplace for tax legislation to be passed at the end of the year. While this used to be an anomaly, it is now the norm and the IRS doesn’t foresee this changing. Of course, this has a big impact on disseminating the information as well as modifying tax forms and instructions to accommodate the proper reporting of items affected by the tax law change.
Ms. Tucker had some interesting statistics to share:
- Last year, more than 37 million taxpayers prepared their own e-filed income tax returns. This is up 12% from previous years.
- Last year the IRS issued 75 million refunds via direct deposit. This is up 6% from previous years.
- The cost for the IRS to process an electronically filed return is 17 cents vs. $3.66 to process a paper return.
Did you know the IRS has an app for your smartphone? It is called IRS2Go and can provide taxpayer information such as refund status. To download the free app, visit the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace. Ms. Tucker also said the IRS plans to make more apps available during the upcoming filing season.
In an effort to reduce taxpayer interactions with the IRS, an overhaul is being done to streamline and clarify correspondence. The goal is to use as much plain language as possible in correspondence. To date, 85 notices have been updated – this makes up to 50% of all IRS notices. The IRS hopes to deliver feedback next year as to whether streamlining these notices resulted in quicker taxpayer resolution.
Ms. Tucker stressed that information reporting is key in this day and age. Specifically she pointed to the upcoming basis reporting requirements for stocks and securities and credit card reporting. These tools will make the IRS more efficient and able to create better standards to determine when an audit should be triggered or a notice should be sent out to a taxpayer.
The IRS is committing a lot of its resources to technology to improve its processes going forward. The IRS is on the brink of a major milestone in 2012. The IRS is implementing customer accounts beginning in 2012 which will enable taxpayers to access their information daily. This is a step forward in having information available in real time. It is a step toward accomplishing the following:
- Speeding up refunds
- Getting notices out faster
- Matching data more quickly
- Reducing taxpayer calls to the IRS and their tax preparers
- Increasing efficiency in tax collection
In closing, Ms. Tucker commended the tax professionals such as those in the room who ensure the accuracy of their clients’ return and are ethical in doing so. She also stated the IRS offices appreciate NATP’s feedback and candidness regarding their processes. Tax professionals working with the IRS in an effort to increase tax compliance is a win win for everyone.