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Society Partners with AICPA, Persuading Members of NY Congressional Delegation to Sign Letter to IRS Over Backlog

By:
Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Aug 18, 2022

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The NYSSCPA recently partnered with the AICPA to ensure that members of the New York congressional delegation understood the issues the IRS is having with its backlog. The NYSSCPA requested that congressional members sign on to a letter produced by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) urging the IRS to extend the suspension of automated collections, continue the pause on automated notices, and keep its surge teams in place until hiring challenges and processing backlogs are adequately addressed. Within the New York delegation, the letter was signed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

The letter, dated Aug. 15 and addressed to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, was signed by a total of 93 members of Congress. They wrote, “Since last year, numerous Members of Congress in the House and Senate have sent several letters regarding customer service issues, processing delays, and the outstanding backlog of returns. Several Members of Congress have urged you to provide penalty relief for taxpayers, have continually pressed the agency to pursue maximum overtime options for staff who are working on the backlog and on surge teams, and have asked the agency to deploy additional surge teams and other resources in an effective manner to reduce the backlog. Yet, we are writing again to urge the IRS to extend the suspension of automated collections, continue the pause on automated notices, keep its surge teams in place until hiring challenges and processing backlogs are adequately addressed.” 

They members of Congress urged Rettig to have the IRS “take additional steps to improve customer service issues, decrease processing delays, and work-down the backlog of paper returns and correspondence by continuing the maximum use of overtime and surge teams, as well as the continued suspension of automated notices and collections—which have been critical in reducing pandemic-related tax return and correspondence backlog.” 

They asked him to provide answers to 11 questions no later than Aug. 19, 2022. The questions include the following: 
• How do you plan to keep your promise to eliminate the backlog? 
• What is a “healthy level” of unprocessed tax returns? How does this level align with average carryover levels, prior to the pandemic? Please provide the average carryover level over the ten years prior to FY2020, and the current carryover levels.• What steps is the Agency taking to speed up its processing of tax returns? Please specifically note whether the agency prioritizes the processing of returns with refunds.
• What is the status of IRS efforts to implement scanning technology, as recommended bythe [National Taxpayer Advocate]?

• How many contractors is the IRS currently utilizing? How do contractors factor into the IRS’ stated hiring goals for submission processing and accounts management positions? 

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