AICPA Pushes Back on IRS E-Services Closures

July 18, 2013

As soon as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in June that it planned to close down the Disclosure Authorization (DA) and Electronic Account Resolution (EAR) products on e-services, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) opened a dialogue with the IRS to strongly urge it to reverse its decision.  On July 15, 2013 the AICPA’s official comment letter was sent to the IRS.

Throughout our discussions, we have made sure the IRS knows that we continue to receive calls and e-mails from members and the state CPA societies opposing the planned shutdown.  The majority of the calls from AICPA members express concern about the retirement of the Disclosure Authorization service, which allows practitioners to electronically submit a Power of Attorney (Form 2848) and obtain tax transcripts online instead of submitting Power of Attorney forms by fax or mail. 

The AICPA’s letter from Jeffrey A. Porter, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, stated, “The AICPA strongly urges the IRS to reconsider the planned retirement of the DA and EAR e-services as they are valuable tools used by tax practitioners to submit disclosure authorizations such as Form 2848, Power of Attorney, as well as to address client account issues in a timely manner.  While it was noted that the reason for the decision to discontinue both e-services is due to ‘low’ usage, the IRS’s 2012 Data Book reports that for fiscal year 2012, approximately 330,000 disclosure authorizations were requested electronically.  We feel that this is not a ‘low’ number, but rather it indicates how integral the DA service is to tax practitioners and, therefore, believe it is important to continue to offer it as well as the EAR e-service to the many tax practitioners who have come to rely on these services.” 

Porter also argued that “if the IRS discontinues these valuable e-services, tax practitioners will be forced to call the Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) for assistance with client account issues on a more frequent basis.  While PPS is highly valued by tax practitioners, wait times to speak to an IRS customer service representative regarding client account problems have increased over the last several years to thirty minutes or more. 

The IRS has indicated it would continue to explore “an electronic replacement for DA and EAR” in the future.  Both services are currently open and fully functional, and will remain available for use until they are retired on August 11, 2013. 

Our sources at the IRS have indicated that the agency will not extend the August 11 cutoff date.  However, we will continue to push for the IRS to provide these services electronically, to better communicate with stakeholders, and to continuously seek our members’ input on the services that are going to be available via the new portal the IRS expects to roll out.  We will convey to the IRS our members’ preferences as we receive feedback from our members.