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TXCPA Meets with the IRS Taxpayer First Act Office

In a call on June 2, Lisa Beard and Jim Clifford with the IRS Taxpayer First Act Office (TFAO) described their progress on implementation of the tax law to members of the TXCPA Federal Tax Policy Committee. 


The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 had 46 provisions; the TFAO is responsible for three of those provisions:

  • taxpayer experience/customer service,
  • employee training, and
  • modernization/reorganization to facilitate implementation of taxpayer first strategy (the data will define the structure).


The TFAO received over 1,000 comments letters and has met with over 100 stakeholder groups. They also conducted Hill briefings, met with Treasury and IRS leadership, and visited 25 IRS locations nationwide to form the foundation for change.


The call focused on the taxpayer experience in which the TFAO has defined six “big ideas” for a holistic approach:

  • proactive outreach and education geared towards taxpayers who want to be informed using readily understandable language,
  • full suite of digital self-service options:
    • fully functional taxpayer online account:
      • all aspects of a taxpayer’s account available online, and
      • taxpayers will be able to authorize a representative to access their online account if necessary.
    • online document exchange, and
    • online chat and call-back features.

(Implementation for individuals is moving faster than for businesses due to identity authentication issues and the need for some businesses to have multiple authorized users.)

  • seamless transitions:
    • integrated case management where the assistors can access and address all aspects of the taxpayer’s issues,
    • telephone, chat, email or videoconference readily available with one click,
    • instill a concierge mentality, enabling and empowering employees to stay engaged and find someone to answer the taxpayer’s question, and
    • if passed along, then new assistor is up to speed, removing the barrier of the taxpayer (tax professional) restating the whole issue to a new agent.
  • access for the “underserved population’’ such as taxpayers without internet access or other access limitations, taxpayers without bank accounts, overseas taxpayers, low income taxpayers, elderly, disabled, etc.,
  • coordinate with the professional community and recognize these ecosystems of partnerships to vet ideas; connect as a community with the IRS acting as a hub,
  • data management and analytics by utilizing the IRS’ existing data more strategically and empower the other five big ideas.


The TFAO made it clear that feedback from taxpayers and tax professionals is not a one-time part of this process; rather, there would be ongoing conversations with the interested parties. Their process will be that of listening, learning and then designing/implementing, which will lead to more listening, learning and adjusting as an ongoing process. They also agreed that a change in culture to being more willing to communicate was foundational. The training strategy is far along and soft skills have been an important area in training. They will continue to look for duplications, be taxpayer focused and strive to improve operational efficiency.


The timeline for the TFAO’s plan includes presentation to Congress in December with formal adoption one year after presentation. However, many ideas which have been developed in this process are currently being implemented.


As we receive more communication from the TFAO leadership, we will provide that information to the TXCPA membership.






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