When Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hardware issues resulted in the outage of several key online systems on April 17, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The website crash forced the IRS to delay the tax deadline by one day. “It also served as a warning sign for those of us advocating for the agency’s modernization,” AICPA Taxation Vice President Edward S. Karl, CPA, CGMA writes in a recent AICPA Insights blog post.
The day after the technology collapse, the Taxpayer First Act — described as the most transformative revisions to the IRS in 20 years — won unanimous passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. “The legislation was rightly focused on taxpayers,” Karl wrote on May 31. “But as the Senate considers its own approach to modernizing the IRS, I want to put in a good word for CPA tax practitioners.”
Karl pointed to the AICPA-led effort that provided IRS modernization recommendations to Congress last year. One of the key elements of the proposed framework was the designation of an executive-level “practitioner services” unit.
“Over time, the IRS has established a number of functional departments,” Karl explained. “Unfortunately, these units are not coordinated in a way that enables practitioners to access quickly critical information, such as their clients’ account status. Nor do the current teams or processes systematically solicit, gather or evaluate practitioner feedback from a quality review perspective.”
Noting that practitioners represent millions of taxpayers every year, Karl said a practitioner services unit would benefit taxpayers served by the practitioner community and allow the IRS to leverage their limited resources in serving unrepresented taxpayers. “It’s a win-win for taxpayers,” he wrote.