The IRS released its most recent strategic operating plan earlier this month. The plan is a milestone for newly appointed commissioner, Danny Werfel, and covers 2023-2031. The extensive plan, which will span nearly a decade, covers nearly 200 key projects and is broken down into over 40 core objectives that the agency is expected to meet.
At the heart of these objectives is customer service, compliance enforcement, and technology updates. Commissioner Werfel in his remarks took the time to acknowledge the agency’s extreme lack of customer service in recent years and places emphasis on the service and technology projects as a means to get taxpayers the service “they deserve.”
Already in recent months we have seen steps taken to enhance the number of different notices that taxpayers can respond to electronically and online.
Additionally, Commissioner Werfel noted the need to expand the IRS’ ability to scan paper documents that the agency receives. It is reported that the IRS currently has over two million unprocessed paper tax returns.
That count does not include paper documents received in conjunction with notice replies or other compliance related proceedings. Depending on the documents being filed, our clients are still experiencing wait times anywhere from six weeks to 12 months for responses to mailed documents.
The enhanced compliance initiatives are pledged to address wealthy individuals, large corporations and large partnerships. This comes amidst criticism that in recent years, low-income individuals, specifically those claiming the earned income credit, were experiencing some of the highest audit rates of any return type. The agency cited the lack of compliance officers qualified to audit complex returns as the reason for higher income individual and business returns experiencing less oversight.
The technology portion of the plan pledges that real time data will begin to be available to taxpayers with more self-service tools available online. Among the extensive list of anticipated projects is also the implementation of a case management database as well as enhanced automatic processing to cut down on the manual work currently required. Goals for technology implementation are set to be achieved as early as this year.
The complete, 150-page strategic objective can be read HERE.
While many tax professionals are anxiously anticipating improvements from the IRS, it remains to be seen how many of these objectives will be timely achieved, or how quickly they will contribute to backlogs being addressed.