March 7th, 2016
The National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently held a public forum on the IRS’s Future State initiative. The Future State initiative is aimed at enhancing taxpayers’ online experience for IRS interactions.
As part of the initiative, taxpayers would be able to set up an online IRS account, log-in to obtain necessary information about their account, interact with the Service and perform actions in regards to their account, such as filing amended returns. Enhancing online access would free up IRS personnel to handle more taxpayer phone calls and deal with other pressing issues, such as combatting the use of stolen identities to file fraudulent refund claims.
However, the Taxpayer Advocate finds fault with the Future State initiative. Although the Taxpayer Advocate agrees that enhanced online access will benefit taxpayers, Olson questions whether the IRS will continue to meet taxpayers’ needs while curtailing phone and face to face service. Should the Service’s shift to assisting taxpayers via the internet not succeed, taxpayers will be forced to turn to third parties for help with compliance issues and shoulder increased compliance costs. Finally, the Taxpayer Advocate expressed concerns that in developing its future state initiative, the Service has failed to adequately solicit taxpayer input and participation.
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