The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) called on Congress to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury with the necessary resources to deliver to taxpayers the guidance and services they need to comply with the new tax law (P.L. No. 115-97).
The AICPA’s identical January 30 letters to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees emphasized that the new tax law is “commonly based on broad legislative language” and that it “requires detailed guidance to ensure a proper and efficient implementation.”
A vast number of significant revisions will have to be made to the Internal Revenue Code, as well as a corresponding need for practical answers, the letter stated. To illustrate its point, the AICPA attached a copy of its January 29 letter to the IRS and Treasury identifying 39 areas of the new law that require immediate guidance in order for taxpayers to comply with their 2017 tax obligations and make informed decisions with regards to cash-flow, entity structure, retirement, wealth transfer and other tax planning issues.
Additionally, the AICPA urged Congress to determine the appropriate level of service it desires and that is needed by the IRS and to dedicate the required resources for the Service to meet these goals. The AICPA stressed that suitable hiring, adequate training and a modern technological infrastructure are also essential for the IRS to meet its responsibilities.
Because enhancing the relationship between the IRS and tax practitioners would benefit both the IRS and the millions of taxpayers they serve, the AICPA underscored that the IRS should create a new dedicated executive-level practitioner services unit that would centralize and modernize its approach to all tax practitioners.
In a separate, but related action, the AICPA made recommendations about how to improve federal tax administration in the testimony it submitted for the record of the January 30 hearing held by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight entitled “Legislation to Improve Tax Administration.”
The AICPA stated that its recommendations “will strengthen tax administration and improve compliance programs while protecting the public.” Proper governance and oversight, proficient taxpayer services and a practitioner-focused services unit, are all elements of an effective tax administration system, according to the AICPA. In addition, the regulation of tax return preparers and the limited use of contingency fees are necessary to promote voluntary compliance and protect taxpayer rights.