While much focus has been given to individuals in messaging from the IRS as the agency aims to capitalize on its Strategic Operating Plan, one official signaled to corporate taxpayers that they will also benefit from changes made to notices.
During a July 19 webinar hosted by the Tax Executives Institute diving into how the IRS intends to spend the approximately $80 billion authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act (PL 117-169), Large Business & International Division Program Manager Mabeline Baldwin reiterated an initiative included in the plan to redesign collection notices with plain, easy to understand language.
She said the IRS is looking to avoid falling behind on paper backlogs again like the agency did during the COVID-19 pandemic and enter next tax filing season in a “healthy position.” There were evidently projects in the works to simplify notices and streamline certain tax forms before the pandemic hit, but now the agency has the opportunity to take a “holistic view” in light of the new funding, according to Baldwin.
With respect to tax filing season, she said “a lot of people will immediately think about the individual side of the house … but it is an agency-wide effort, and we’re really trying to make sure that our corporate taxpayers are not left behind when it comes to providing the services that you all seek in terms of what we can do, and now we have the funding to do just that. We have and we will be looking to staff up and beef up our resources.”
The idea behind reworking notices is to quickly resolve taxpayer issues, as indicated in the Strategic Operating Plan. Success will be measured by increased notice response, decreased repeat noncompliance, and reduced lag time between when a return is filed and a taxpayer is contacted about an issue.
“For those who prefer, we will make all notices available to taxpayers, tax professionals, and IRS employees online, even if they are also required by law to be mailed,” the IRS stated in the plan as part of its second primary objective. Clearer notices will have instructions for taxpayers on what they need to do next upon receipt, and the IRS hopes to give taxpayers the ability to have two-way communication with the agency online soon.
IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel has said since the end of this past filing season that a Business Online Account is under development and will first be available to sole proprietors by the end of fiscal year 2023. The agency promoted its recently launched online information return system, IRIS, during National Small Business Week (April 30-May 6) and promised small business owners will be able to respond to some notices online as soon as this summer, such as LTR0143C, Signature Missing.
“By 2024, small business owners will be able to respond to the correction of self-employment income, employment-related identity theft notifications and dozens of other online notices,” a May 5 fact sheet added (FS 2023-13).
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