IRS Alert: IRS retiring two e-Services incentive products on Aug. 11

UPDATED: The IRS announced late last week that it plans to retire two major e-Services incentive products used by CPAs, attorneys and enrolled agents to file authorizations and resolve IRS account problems.

The Disclosure Authorization (DA) and Electronic Account Resolution (EAR) products will be retired on Aug. 11, according to information received from IRS e-help desk representatives. The IRS posted an announcement on IRS.gov earlier today indicating that the products are being retired “primarily due to low usage.” The announcement has since been removed.

As a general alternative to support functions previously available in DA and EAR, the IRS website offered phone support through the IRS Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) line. With an average PPS hold time of 22 minutes per call, reduced IRS budgets, and an increasing emphasis on electronic interaction with tax preparers, this decision by the IRS is surprising.

IRS e-Services personnel indicated that they were surprised by the change. Although representatives confirmed that the IRS is planning to retire the products, they didn’t expect the announcement until June 13. The IRS has not been explicit about any electronic alternatives it will offer to support functions previously available in DA and EAR.

The Disclosure Authorization product allowed for real-time input of Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization. The DA product eliminated the waiting period resulting from IRS processing delays. Inputting authorizations into DA allowed for instant access to taxpayer information and other e-Services incentive products. Currently, processing of disclosure authorizations by faxing the IRS Central Authorization File is taking three business days.

The Electronic Account Resolution product gave tax professionals electronic access the IRS Practitioner Priority Service to resolve client account problems. There were seven EAR inquiries available, allowing tax professionals to address client issues such as notice research, installment agreement requests and refund issues. Tax professionals can use the Online Payment Arrangement tool in lieu of the installment agreement request in the EAR product. There are no other online options to replace the other EAR functions.

Beyond415 will continue to encourage the IRS to retain electronic tools such as the DA and EAR products. We will also keep you updated as more information becomes available on this issue.

UPDATED June 10, 2013:

Many practitioners are upset about the IRS decision to retire these products. Their responses have spurred a grassroots movement to petition the IRS to abandon its plans to retire the e-Services products or replace the products with other electronic solutions.

Click here to view and sign the petition.

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Jim Buttonow is a former IRS large case auditor, and cofounder and VP of product development for Beyond415.

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