The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has offered Congress suggestions in an April 6 letter about IRS reform. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chair Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and ranking member John Lewis, D-Ga., released a discussion draft last week, The Taxpayer First Bill, which proposes to redesign IRS operations.
In the letter, Annette Nellen, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, on behalf of AICPA, suggested that Congress establish a new Practitioner Services (PS) division. According to the Nellen, the PS division “would lead the IRS’s integrated support of practitioners, thereby facilitating economies of scale, providing systemic issue resolution and better business practices.”
In addition, the letter to lawmakers included a list of several suggested PS division responsibilities. Those responsibilities would include:
- engaging with the tax professional community,
- ensuring a liaison with all major IRS operating divisions,
- offering robust practitioner hotlines, creating an online tax professional account, and
- establishing a learning consortium.
Tax Return Preparers
Also, the AICPA suggested that Congress provide the IRS with a well-defined approach to the regulation of tax return preparers with Congressional oversight. To that end, Nellen wrote that all tax preparers should be subject to Circular 230 standards. Moreover, the AICPA supports the use of a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) for all signing tax preparers.
“The AICPA firmly thinks that creating a PS division and the regulation of tax return preparers will make a substantial difference in taxpayer awareness, confidence and compliance, thereby instilling trust in the tax administration system as a modern functioning IRS of the 21st century,” Nellen wrote.
Other Suggestions for IRS Reform
Further, the AICPA letter included suggestions for improved taxpayer service, identity protection, IT development, and the expanded use of electronic systems. “As the Subcommittee moves forward in restructuring the IRS, we urge the Subcommittee to seek active engagement of taxpayers and their practitioners in the development of the IRS strategies and comprehensive plans,” the letter concluded.
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff