More tax season headaches on the horizon

I hate to break it to you, tax pros, but the upcoming tax season? It’s probably going to suck.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says so. So does National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. It’s going to be a four-month-long headache, and we’re fresh out of Tylenol.

Where to start?

  • The IRS’s budget is woefully inadequate. Since 2010, the agency has lost 13,000 full-time employees and 7 percent from its operating budget while trying to serve an additional 7 million taxpayers. The numbers don’t add up. “The problem is trying to figure out how to survive with the constraints we are under and the obligations we have,” Koskinen told the Journal of Accountancy.
  • Koskinen estimated that 47 percent of taxpayer phone calls to the IRS might go unanswered in 2015, up a stunning 18 percent from 2014.
  • The fate of more than 50 tax extender laws is uncertain. Lame-duck lawmakers in Congress have vowed to address the extenders before the end of the year, but any further delays could push back the start of tax season and leave taxpayers waiting longer than usual for their refunds to arrive.
  • The tax provisions in laws like the Affordable Care Act and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (or FATCA) are making life miserable for IRS officials. “For example,” Forbes reporter Ashlea Ebeling writes, “Koskinen said the IRS requested $430 million in 2014 from Congress to implement the ACA but got zero, forcing it to take money out of enforcement and taxpayer services budgets.”

Thankfully, there are some resources out there that might help.

Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit
This year’s edition of the AICPA's toolkit includes a summary and FAQs related to the Affordable Care Act, details about new tax laws, and tips for providing additional services to tax clients. You’ll find the toolkit here.

CCH tax briefing
A new tax briefing from CCH titled “2014 Year-End Planning” should bring tax pros and taxpayers alike up to speed on the ACA, “repair” regulations, the net investment income tax, the additional Medicare tax on earnings, the uncertainty surrounding tax extenders, and more. Download the briefing here.

MACPA tax programs
A number of upcoming MACPA programs will address many of these issues. The events include:

You’ll find a complete list of MACPA tax programs here.

More to read
The following articles offer details on some important tax-related developments:



Bill Sheridan