The NTA Reimagines the IRS with a Dramatically Improved Taxpayer Experience
The National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins recently posted two blogs on specific ways the IRS can improve taxpayer services and modernize IRS technology with its 10-year $80 billion supplemental funding provided in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. We are sharing the NTA’s lists below, but you can read (or listen to) the detail in her posts.
Before the IRS moves forward in improving its overall operations, it is imperative that it fulfill its core filing season mission by eliminating the backlog of unprocessed original and amended paper-filed tax returns. The NTA strongly recommends that the IRS maintain the momentum of reducing backlog by concentrating in these areas:
- Hire or re-assign employees to process the backlog of paper-filed tax returns and correspondence.
- Hire enough employees to answer 85% of taxpayer telephone calls and institute “customer callback” technology on all toll-free phone lines.
- Improve service for tax professionals, who often call with complex issues or cases and cannot obtain timely and accurate assistance.
- Continue to suspend automated collection notices until the backlog is eliminated.
- Hire enough employees to fully staff Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) and extend walk-in capabilities.
Further, the NTA strongly recommends the IRS include these initiatives in the operational plan it will submit to the Treasury Secretary within six months to detail how the Act’s funding will be spent:
- Hire and train more human resources employees to manage hiring all IRS employees.
- Ensure all IRS employees – particularly customer-facing employees – are well-trained to do their jobs.
- Create robust and accessible online accounts with functionality rivaling the best financial institutions and through which taxpayers and practitioners can assess, download and upload all relevant information.
- Temporarily expand uses of the Documentation Upload Tool (DUT) or a similar technology.
- Improve the readability of tax transcripts.
- Enable all taxpayers to e-file their tax returns.
- Automate the paper filing process and implement scanning technology to machine read paper-filed tax returns and correspondence.
- Digitalize all paper, upload the data and implement an integrated case management system so all taxpayer information is accessible in a single database.
- Overhaul the gov website to make it more user-friendly.
- Continue to develop and improve voicebots and chatbots.
- Improve transparency.
- Issue clear notices and IRS guidance.
- Increase Taxpayer Advocate Service funding.
The NTA indicates that with proper oversight, there is a lot the IRS can do with the additional funds to significantly improve and revamp the taxpayer experience while protecting taxpayer rights.
The NTA Reimagines the IRS with a Dramatically Improved Taxpayer Experience: Part One - TAS
The NTA Reimagines the IRS with a Dramatically Improved Taxpayer Experience: Part Two - TAS