The American Institute of CPA (AICPA) has participated in a group of 10 stakeholder organizations to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with recommendations as it prepares reports to Congress as mandated by the Taxpayer First Act (TFA). In the letter, the group notes that they are providing “collective input” as the IRS prepares these reports and “most importantly,” recommend the IRS establish a new Practitioner Services Division as an integral part of the organizational modernization.
“The IRS…needs to adopt a visionary approach looking beyond immediate constraints to develop long-term goals…The IRS should provide flexibility in its design to ensure the agency will continue to evolve,” the group said.
AICPA President and CEO, Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, considers the collaborative efforts of the organizations involved a key indicator of the broad support for the recommendations outlined in the letter. “Stakeholders from across the profession are facing the same challenges and together, we agreed on solutions to address the top issues faced by practitioners everywhere. The recommendations outlined in this letter better empower practitioners to help their customers and, ultimately, help all taxpayers.”
The following organizations participated in providing the recommendations to the IRS:
· alliantgroup, LP
· American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)
· H&R Block
· Latino Tax Professionals Association
· National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
· National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
· National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP)
· National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP)
· Padgett Business Services
· Prosperity Now
“The IRS is clearly taking the requirements of the Taxpayer First Act seriously, and we appreciate this commitment,” said Robert Kerr, EA, National Association of Enrolled Agents Executive Vice President. “NAEA is glad to join with the practitioner community to ensure the IRS provides improved tools for tax practitioners, better training for IRS personnel, and a renewed vision for service to taxpayers.”
In their feedback, the tax practitioners highlighted key priorities in each of the three areas in which reports are being submitted to Congress. The letter outlines recommendations for providing taxpayers access to empowered IRS employees, timely information and tailored resources; placing greater emphasis on customer-focused employee training; and improving the technological and organizational infrastructure.
The establishment of a dedicated Practitioner Services Division – as suggested in the letter – is a concept that has gained strong support throughout the practitioner community. Jeffrey A. Porter – a CPA and tax practitioner from Huntington, West Virginia – echoes the sentiments of many of his colleagues, saying, “The IRS should create a new Practitioner Services Division to address the unique and more complicated needs of the tax preparer community. Additionally, the IRS and taxpayers would benefit from the creation of this division if practitioners are able to more efficiently resolve their clients’ issues with the IRS.”