Tax | Taxation

Is IRS help on the way? Feb. 8 town hall offers some answers

As the IRS continues to grapple with service issues surrounding worker shortages, stalled legislation, and pandemic-related workload, a nationwide coalition led in part by the AICPA is preparing to update members of its organizations and the public at large on where things stand less than a month into tax season.

The Taxpayer Advocate Coalition, a 13-member group of organizations that represent tax professionals nationwide, will hold a town hall meeting from 1 to 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Updates will be provided on measures the coalition has recommended to the IRS, as well as actions the IRS has taken to date.

The town hall is free, but no CPE will be awarded for attendance. The meeting will be recorded and made available for replay after the event.

In January, the coalition sent a letter to the IRS and members of Congress urging a number of relief measures. According to the Journal of Accountancy, those recommendations include the following:

  • Discontinuing automated compliance actions until the IRS is prepared to devote the necessary resources for a proper and timely resolution of the matter.
  • Aligning requests for account holds with the time it takes the IRS to process any penalty abatement requests.
  • Offering a reasonable-cause penalty waiver, similar to the procedures of a first-time abatement (FTA) administrative waiver, without affecting the taxpayer’s eligibility for FTA in future tax years.
  • Providing taxpayers with targeted relief from both the underpayment-of-estimated-tax penalty and the late-payment penalty for the 2020 and 2021 tax years.

Shortly thereafter, a bipartisan collection of federal lawmakers sent two letters to the Treasury Department seeking improvements to this year’s tax filing process. The letters ask the Treasury Department to reduce the need for taxpayers and tax preparers to contact the IRS.

The MACPA joined the effort by urging Maryland’s two senators and eight representatives to sign the letters. The House letter is signed by 191 representatives, including Maryland Reps. Jamie Raskin and David Trone. The Senate letter is signed by 25 senators, including Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.

Most recently, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon praised two recent moves by the IRS — to halt automated notices in cases where a payment has been credited to a taxpayer but no return has been processed, and to process backlogged tax returns, including by temporarily reassigning some employees to the effort. Melancon called them “positive steps in the right direction, but said “we must urge the (IRS) to move as quickly as possible to offer reasonable measures of relief, as we are already in the beginnings of tax busy season."

The Taxpayer Advocate Coalition is comprised of the AICPA, Latino Tax Pros, the National Association of Black Accountants, the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, the National Society of Accountants, the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants, the National Society of Tax Professionals, Padgett Business Services, the Diverse Organization of Firms, H&R Block, and Prosperity Now.


Bill Sheridan