Seems the Revenooers plan to go silent – they just don’t want to talk to you anymore.
The National Taxpayer Advocate, in her recent report to Congress, notes that for the past year and a half, IRS has devoted significant resources to creating a “future state” plan which details how the agency will operate in five years. The plan is explained and developed in a document known as a Concept of Operations (CONOPS).
But CONOPS gives the Advocate a bit of heartburn – implicit in the plan (and explicit in internal discussion) is an intention of the part of the Revenooers to substantially reduce telephone and face-to-face interaction with taxpayers. IRS is hoping that taxpayer interactions with IRS through online accounts will address a high percentage of taxpayer needs.
- Taxpayers place more than 100 million telephone calls to IRS each year and have done so in every year since fiscal year 2008.
- Taxpayers make more than five million visits to IRS walk-in sites each year.
- Taxpayers send an average of about ten million pieces of correspondence to IRS in response to proposed adjustment notices each year, to which IRS must respond.
Seems the Advocate thinks that if IRS substantially reduces the opportunity for folks to actually talk with IRS employees, many taxpayers will find it much harder to resolve their problems and will have to pay third parties to assist them. (No doubt!) Hence, the Advocate has recommended to Congress that IRS make the CONOPS available for public review and comment (heretofore not done). Indeed, the Advocate has designated the future of taxpayer service (an oxymoron if ever there was one) as the number one most serious problem presently confronting taxpayers. Quoth the Advocate: “Of considerable concern….is what is not stated in the CONOPS. Nowhere in the CONOPS is there a statement that the IRS plans to reduce telephone service or close walk-in sites, even though that is a central component of its strategy……The widespread expectation is that traditional taxpayer services – telephone assistance and face-to-face assistance – will be scaled back dramatically. Based on our internal discussions with IRS officials, Taxpayer Advocate Service has been left with the distinct impression that the IRS’s ultimate goal is ‘to get out of the business of talking with taxpayers.’”
Who knows – maybe this is a good thing.
And the latest from Hillary, this week: a proposed 4 percent ‘fair share surcharge’ tax on the wealthy – now defined as folks making more than $5 million per year.
“This surcharge is a direct way to ensure that effective rates rise for taxpayers who are avoiding paying their fair share, and that the richest Americans pay an effective rate higher than middle-class families,” says a Clinton aide.
We’d call this a “broken record” argument, but who knows what vinyl is any more.
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.
Jeff Quinn, the author of this article is a CPA recently retired from the firm of Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He welcomes comments at [email protected].
In her mid-year report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson came up with a real tear-jerker, noting that “With funding down about 17 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis since FY 2010, and with the IRS having had to implement large portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) this year without any supplemental funding, sharp declines in taxpayer service were inevitable.”
F’rinstance, notes the Advocate, the IRS answered only 37 percent of taxpayer calls routed to customer service representatives overall, and the hold time for taxpayers who got through averaged 23 minutes. This level of “service” represents a sharp drop-off from the 2014 filing season, when IRS answered 71 percent of its calls and hold times averaged about 14 minutes.Read More
So you think you can move around and keep one step ahead of the IRS, thus avoiding receipt of their occasional nasty grams which most of us get at one time or another.
But it’s not that simple, and you keep the Revenooers in the dark at your peril!
The Internal Revenue Code repeatedly uses the phrase “last known address” which is an important concept with respect to your ability to receive refunds, as well as a variety of notices and documents which IRS may send you from time to time. And now hear this: when a document is sent to a taxpayer’s “last known address,” it is legally effective even if the taxpayer never receives it!Read More