August 18, 2022 - Douglas Myser

AICPA recommendations executed at IRS. In a letter filed with the IRS and Treasury Department officials, Jan F. Lewis, CPA, and chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee stated to IRS Commissioner Charles Retig, and Lily Batchelder, Treasury's assistant secretary for tax policy, several recommendations they deemed critical to getting the IRS back to operational speed, which was diminished due to the initial Covid lockdown, where the IRS fell behind on processing nearly 24 million tax returns, and then stopped processing mail, to catch up with the returns. It warned that unless that happened, "another frustrating tax season next year for taxpayers and practitioners, would happen", and that it was needed to rebuild trust with the American people. AICPA recommendations executed at IRS.

Some of the recommendations included, Letting the public know what to expect regarding the mail and unprocessed tax return delay, or what it deemed "Communicating operating status", giving updates on the progress being made, so taxpayers could have a reasonable expectation of when those services would be met. They suggested "Surge Teams", used to nip the backlog in the bud as fast as possible. The IRS then hired nearly 2,000 people, and shifted another 800 from the work they were doing, to create a surge that was designed to get the backlog of tax returns, and correspondence work finished. Then they suspended Collection Action, like a Tax Levy or IRS Wage Garnishment for a few months, to further reduce the workload of the agency, until the backlog was cleaned up. The last thing they did was establish a new "Reasonable Cause" criteria for those whose late returns or actions were a result of the IRS backlog, and the taxpayer not being able to effectively communicate with the IRS, or reasonably be able to get their work done.

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