Tax Technology Resource Center
In today’s forward-thinking tax practices and corporate tax departments, technology is no longer just a tool to complete a return. Technology is your way to work smarter, decrease the risk of error and focus more on long-term tax strategies to add value to your organization.
The AICPA Tax Section is your go-to resource for the information and tools you need to embrace technology trends and the exciting progression of our tax profession.
Learn about the importance of shifting tax from a center of compliance to a driver of strategy.
Gain awareness of what technology you should consider in your practice.
Be future ready by understanding the impacts of technology on the accounting profession.
For many tax professionals, tax software is their single most important technology tool. Return preparers depend on their software to apply the complex rules of federal and state tax laws accurately. To help tax practitioners find the best software solution for their firm’s size, client complexity and budget, The Tax Adviser and Journal of Accountancy releases an annual survey of preparers’ ratings, likes and dislikes of their tax preparation software.
The IRS has a suite of online tools to help practitioners and their clients comply with tax filings and payments.
|E-Services for Tax Professionals||Perform certain transactions online, such as requesting and receiving client transcripts. See the AICPA’s Tax Section e-Services guidance to help you utilize this IRS tool.|
|Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)||Request or renew a PTIN online. A PTIN is required if you prepare or help prepare any federal return for compensation.|
|Modernized e-File (MeF) Program Information||MeF is a web-based system that allows electronic filing of corporate, individual, partnership, exempt organization and excise tax returns through the Internet. See the IRS’s guidance on e-signatures to help with e-filing.|
|Online Payment Agreement||Use this tool to apply for certain types of payment agreements with the IRS. See the AICPA’s Tax Section Online Payment Agreement guidance to help you utilize this tool.|
|Offer-in-Compromise (OIC) Pre-Qualifier||See if a client may be eligible for an OIC. An OIC is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS to settle a taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed.|
|Direct Pay||Help a client pay their tax bill directly from a checking or savings account or through the IRS2Go mobile application.|
|Where’s My Amended Return||Track the status of an amended return.|
|Where’s My Refund||Check on the status of a refund.|
|View Tax Account||Get a payoff amount, the balance for each tax year for which a client owes, and up 18 months of payment history.|
Cybercriminals are familiar with tax offices and tax software and know that tax professionals have a plethora of client data –– data that these thieves want to use to commit financial and tax-related crimes. As a tax professional, you have a very important job to safeguard your clients’ data. Laws and professional responsibilities bind you to a high standard of quality control to be certain data is kept safe.
Professional Responsibilities in Data Security for Tax Professionals
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) safeguards rule, tax preparers must implement security plans to protect client data. Failure to do so may result in an FTC investigation. Learn how to comply with these rules and read more guidance on data security in IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.
- Sec. 7216, Disclosure or Use of Information by Preparers of Returns:
This criminal provision in the Internal Revenue Code prohibits preparers from knowingly or recklessly disclosing or using tax return information. See the AICPA’s Tax Section guidance and IRS FAQs to help you comply.
- AICPA Code of Professional Conduct: As a member of the AICPA, you have responsibilities to the public, clients and colleagues, including responsibilities to keep client information confidential and secure. Access the full Code of Professional Conduct.
- Treasury Department Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the IRS: These rules impose an obligation on practitioners to exercise due diligence in preparing returns or other documents related to a federal tax matter. A violation may subject a practitioner to sanctions, including censure, suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. See the AICPA’s Tax Section guidance on Circular 230.
- Other Requirements: Depending on your situation, you may need to adhere to other privacy requirements. See the AICPA’s privacy risk management guidance.
Practice Guides and Tools
- Tax Practice Quality Control Guide and template document: This guide provides information on why quality control is needed and what each element of quality control entails. Tax practices of all sizes can use this Word template to fashion their own written quality control system.
- Sample Sec. 7216 consent letters: These template letters can be used whenever you need to obtain written consent to use or disclose client information to a third party.
- Tax Identity Theft Information and Tools: This resource page contains tools and guidance that helps practitioners combat tax-related identity theft and advise clients.
Visit our Cybersecurity Resource Center to access additional tools and learn how cyberattacks are impacting other aspects of the accounting profession.
Running a tax and advisory services practice can be difficult. With the proper use of technology, your firm can run more efficiently, and you can serve your clients better than ever before.
Practice Guides and Tools
- Managing Client Communications with Technology: Every business should stay current on the latest communication methods and focus on their online reputation. Part of our Tax Practitioner’s Marketing Toolkit, this guide helps you with your social media, email communications, teleconferencing and cybersecurity.
- Technology for a Planning & Tax Advisory Services Business: Learn what technologies you should consider for your practice. This overview contains tips on how to approach and implement various types of software in your practice.
Articles from the Journal of Accountancy
- A New Discipline for Tax: The emerging discipline of tax information and operations management could change the role of tax professionals from one focused on compliance to one dedicated to creating value.
- Turning Commodity Services into a Goldmine: Find innovative ways to benefit from emerging technologies.
- The Changing Role of the Accountant: Learn ways to embrace technology for future success.
- How CPAs Can Solve Tax Operations and Technology Puzzles: Explore the information and technology challenges presented by the various systems that provide data downstream to the tax function.
As tax professionals, we understand the quickening pace of technological, legislative and demographic changes because we see it affecting each step of our professional lives. Over time, we’ve reinvented the tax profession and evolved into what our clients need most. New technologies are helping us transform tax from a center of compliance into a driver of strategic value.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
- Virtual Currency Overview: Listen to this video to hear how Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are affecting the tax profession.
- Reality Check: Virtual Currency and its Tax Ramifications, The Tax Adviser: This article describes a few key aspects of virtual currency, its tax ramifications and what tax practitioners need to know about it.
- CPAs’ Top 5 Questions About Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Journal of Accountancy: This article discusses ways CPAs can leverage this new technology to improve client service.
Robotic Process Automation, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
- Data Analytics: A High-Level Introduction for Accounting Practitioners, The Tax Adviser: This article helps you learn how tax practitioners better trained in data analytics could improve decision-making in several areas
- Using Big Data to Identify Tax Risk, The Tax Adviser: This article helps you learn how to use data from the IRS to predict a client’s audit risk.
- The Next Frontier of Data Analytics, Journal of Accountancy: This article addresses why CPAs and organizations need to learn to use advanced technology to predict and achieve outcomes.
See more on business intelligence and data analytics and how technology is being used to transform other aspects of the accounting/audit profession.
Reviewed Dec.1, 2018