WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nine organizations representing diverse segments of the tax practitioner community today presented to federal lawmakers a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to improve services provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to taxpayers and tax practitioners. The groups called for an improved governance and oversight structure for the IRS and proposed a new unit within the IRS that would centralize the agency’s services to tax practitioners.
The recommendations were developed by the groups over several months and are endorsed by the following organizations: alliantgroup, LP, American Institute of CPAs, Crowe Horwath, LLP, National Association of Enrolled Agents, National Association of Tax Professionals, National Conference of CPA Practitioners, National Society of Accountants, National Society of Tax Professionals, and PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES®.
“The current degradation of the IRS taxpayer services is unacceptable,” the groups stated in their framework, Ensuring a Modern-Functioning IRS for the 21st Century. As an example of how poor the service has become, the paper cited figures from the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2016 Annual Report to Congress that reported the percentage of taxpayer calls answered by the IRS between 2004 and 2016 has dropped from 87 percent to 53 percent.
“As tax practitioners, we advise millions of taxpayers on tax matters, assist them with compliance responsibilities, and represent them before the IRS,” the groups wrote. “We understand what is working and not working with tax administration from both taxpayer and practitioner perspectives. As one of the IRS’s most significant stakeholders, we are both poised and committed to being part of the solution.”
The groups noted as “striking” the similarities between the condition of the IRS today and the circumstances that motivated creation of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service more than 20 years ago. Therefore, the groups recommended that any effort to modernize the IRS and its technology infrastructure should build on the foundation established by the Restructuring Commission and the report issued by the Commission in June 1997.
The recommendations are generally based, consequently, on the vision statement in the Restructuring Commission’s report. Among the governance and oversight recommendations are:
- Setting and maintaining consistent priorities and strategic direction;
- Re-establishing the annual joint hearing review by the Joint Committee on Taxation;
- Requiring the Joint Committee on Taxation to provide a bi-annual report;
- Requiring a Government Accountability Office review of the IRS Oversight Board;
- Enabling the hiring of qualified and experienced professionals at the IRS;
- Determining the appropriate level of service and compliance they want the IRS accountable to provide and dedicating appropriate resources for the agency to meet those goals; and
- Gauging performance with customer satisfaction surveys.
Also recommended is a new dedicated “executive-level” practitioner services unit within the IRS that would centralize and modernize the IRS’s approach to all practitioners. The groups explained that over time, the IRS has established a number of functional departments. As a result, IRS employees are dispersed across the IRS and are not coordinated in a way that enables practitioners to timely access critical information (such as their clients’ account status or the availability of dispute resolution opportunities). Nor do the current IRS teams or processes systematically solicit, gather or evaluate practitioner feedback, they charged.
“Enhancing the relationship between the IRS and practitioners would benefit both the IRS and the millions of taxpayers served by the practitioner community,” they wrote.
“We are committed to a service-oriented, modernized tax administration system that earns the respect and appreciation of all taxpayers and stakeholders,” they concluded.
alliantgroup's mission is one of education and awareness—we exist to help industry organizations, U.S. businesses and CPA firms take full advantage of all federal and state tax credits, incentives and deductions available. Our government has legislated these powerful incentive programs to help businesses grow and successfully compete both in the U.S. and abroad. We are proud to have helped over 20,000 businesses claim more than $5 billion in tax incentives. alliantgroup’s headquarters is in Houston, Texas, with offices across the country including New York, Boston, Chicago, Orange County, Sacramento, Orlando, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.
About the American Institute of CPAs
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.
The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; forensic accounting; business valuation; and information management and technology assurance. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation which sets a new standard for global recognition of management accounting.
The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.
Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at www.aicpa.org/press.
About the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) is the organization powering enrolled agents, America’s tax experts®. NAEA is a non-profit membership organization composed of tax specialists licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department. NAEA provides the networking, educational opportunities, programs and services that enable enrolled agents and other tax preparers to excel beyond their peers. Enrolled Agents are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who both specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.
About the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
NATP is the largest association dedicated to equipping tax professionals with the resources, connections and education they need to provide the highest level of service to their clients. NATP is comprised of over 23,000 leading tax professionals who believe in a superior standard of ethics and exemplify professional excellence. Members rely on NATP to deliver professional connections, content expertise and advocacy that provides them with the support they need to best serve their clients. The organization welcomes all tax professionals in their quest to continually meet the needs of the public, no matter where they are in their careers.
The NATP headquarters is located in Appleton, Wisc. To learn more, visit www.natptax.com.
Media representatives are invited to contact Nancy Kasten, Director of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org for all requests.
About the National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP)
NCCPAP is a professional organization that advocates on issues that are of importance to CPAs in Public Practice throughout the United States. NCCPAP members represent over one million businesses and individual clients. NCCPAP monitors and influences tax administration and tax policy by meeting with Internal Revenue Service representatives and state taxing authorities as well as national and state elected officials. In addition, NCCPAP provides a platform for its members to exchange ideas and information on managing and running a successful CPA practice in today’s competitive environment. go.nccpap.org
About the National Society of Accountants (NSA)
NSA and its affiliates represent more than 30,000 members who provide accounting, auditing, tax preparation, financial and estate planning, and management services to approximately 19 million individuals and business clients. Most members are sole practitioners or partners in small- to medium-size accounting firms. NSA protects the public by requiring its members to adhere to a strict code of ethics. For more information, visit www.nsacct.org.
About PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES®
PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES® is a professional small business tax, payroll and compliance firm with dual U.S. headquarters in Georgia and Massachusetts. Founded in 1966, PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES® has catered to the needs of small business owners for more than 50 years, providing expert business advice, consultation, tax preparation, government compliance, financial reporting, and more across its network of more than 300 offices in the U.S. and Canada.
For more information about PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES®, visit www.smallbizpros.com.