Tax Byte

Building a New IRS – Werfel Addresses AICPA National Tax Conference

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel promised tax pros this week that brick by brick the industry will start to see a steadier foundation of IRS improvements. Werfel, while speaking November 14 at the AICPA National Tax & Sophisticated Tax Conference in Washington, D.C., touted improvements toward building a new IRS – both those we’ve seen and those to come.

These already accomplished and expected improvements are in large part because of the significant funding boost provided to the IRS under the Inflation Reduction Act. And though IRS funding continues to be a seemingly partisan issue on Capitol Hill, the logic behind underfunding the IRS simply doesn’t add up, according to Werfel.

“I think more people need to hear this basic choice that we have: the choice between an accessible IRS, the choice between an IRS that can figure out the balance due on our complicated returns, the choice for an IRS that can lean in and be proactive in disrupting scams and protecting victims,” said Werfel. “These don’t seem to me to be overly political objectives. This does not in any way seem to be, in my opinion, a nefarious agenda. It’s a good agenda, and it is our agenda.”

Tax Pro Account

Specifically on the agenda Werfel referenced are steady improvements to the IRS’s Tax Pro Account tool, which ain’t been perfect, as I’ve heard from many of you. That said, it is a significant step in the right direction and one that the IRS continues to work toward enhancing. And in this case, slow and steady might win the race.

(The IRS isn’t actually winning any races—let’s be honest—but you know what I mean. We’re still rooting for it.)

“Each filing season, you and others should come back to the IRS and say, it’s different…it’s better, it’s improving,” Werfel said. “In some cases, things can be done big and dramatic — like bringing in 5,000 customer service reps and immediately turning around some of those statistics,” he added. “But in some cases, the funds take a while, and the bricks go slow, but they do move forward.”

The IRS has stated that tax pros should be able to accurately view payment activity and any balances due. And as you all likely know, the tool has only applied to individual authorizations. However, the IRS is continuing its trek toward expanding it to businesses as well.

To that end, it has launched the first phase of a much-anticipated business online account, which started with unincorporated sole proprietors. Over time, features are expected to include business taxpayers’ ability to check tax payment history, schedule and make payments, view notices, authorize powers of attorney, and conduct other business with the IRS.

Building a New IRS

Ultimately, people should not question whether the IRS can improve with an increase in funding, because it already has, according to Werfel. “The question should be: ‘Can the IRS continue to improve?’ because we’re already showing improvement,” he said.  “Do we have a lot more work to do? Of course, but it’s like brick by brick, laying the foundation, taking these critical modernization funds and investing in them.”


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