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Tax Preparers Offer Mixed Reviews of IRS Improvements

By:
S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jan 31, 2024

In her 2023 Annual Report to Congress., National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins said that the IRS has made great strides in certain areas but continues to lag in others. Some tax preparers agree about the improvements, but others do not, Accounting Today reported.

In her preface to the report Collins wrote, “For the first time since I began serving as the National Taxpayer Advocate in March 2020, discussions about improving the taxpayer experience and modernizing the IRS’s information technology systems do not seem like merely wishful thinking. Realistically, however, the IRS has a tall mountain to climb to achieve its goals of rebuilding the agency, modernizing its systems, and providing the quality service taxpayers deserve.”

"The IRS has done more in the last year with the new money technology-wise than they've been able to do in the last two decades," Dan Henn, a CPA in Rockledge, Fla., told Accounting Today, adding that the improvements will make the tax agency easier to work with over the next decade.

John Dundon, president of Taxpayer Advocacy Services in Englewood, Col., called himself "a big fan of the changes made to the Tax Pro Account. It's been long overdue, and I'm anxiously awaiting new developments,” he said. “My biggest hope is that the new systems are secure and can thwart hackers."

Morris Armstrong, an enrolled agent and registered investment advisor with Armstrong Financial Strategies in Cheshire, Conn., likes the increased use of client accounts online because he can get authorizations and access more quickly. “The IRS website is always improving," he told Accounting Today.

"I'd like to see the IRS improve the training of the staff," Armstrong said. "It's still a situation where if you don't like the answer from one rep, you simply hang up and call another. That's a waste of their time and my time."

But Scott Kadrlik, managing partner at Meuwissen, Flygare, Kadrlik & Associates in Eden Prairie, Minn., was more pessimistic.

"It will take a long time for the IRS to get trained staff and upgrade software to be beneficial to the tax preparers and taxpayers," he said. "I don't see any significant changes for a number of years."

And Bruce Primeau, a CPA with Summit Wealth Advocates, said that members of the Minnesota Society of CPAs were not impressed with service at the IRS when the topic came up at a recent meeting.

"The question was asked whether any tax preparers had noticed any improvements in the IRS service levels, and the answers were a resounding 'no'" Primeau said. "Not sure how the IRS is defining 'improvements,' but I believe they still stand by the mandate that you can't call them looking for tax answers and rely on those answers when preparing a client's tax return. I think that's absurd."

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