TIGTA Says New Form 1040 Stressed IRS Capacity

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 22, 2019
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In a report issued last week, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said that the introduction of the new Form 1040, on top of all the other things the IRS had to do to implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, created a great deal of additional work for the agency at its busiest time of the year. 

As part of an effort to make taxes simpler, the IRS introduced a new Form 1040 that, theoretically, was only the size of a postcard but, in practice, retained its complexity due to the need for additional attached schedules. However, beyond the redesigned form itself, the process also entailed extensive revisions to other forms and regulations that referenced it. TIGTA said that the IRS had to revise other tax forms, instructions, and publications with updated reference to the new Form 1040 and remove references to eliminated tax forms such as Form 1040A and 1040EZ. Overall, the change required further revisions to 113 other forms, 66 sets of instructions, and 64 publications. In addition, because of the timing of the redesign decision, the IRS had to update some tax forms that were already released as final.  

Beyond all this, TIGTA noted that the new Form 1040 is missing places to enter the date of divorce or separation on Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments to Income, to determine if taxpayers are eligible to deduct alimony payments. 

TIGTA noted that the TCJA implementation called for much more work in general. The IRS had to create 48 new tax products, revise 494 existing tax products, and perform computer programming changes affecting 128 information technology systems, including addressing changes in the location of data fields in its fraud detection systems. The IRS also had to update 202 other tax products, which included creating three new tax forms and related instructions. 

The upcoming IRS Practices and Procedures Conference in December will feature talks and presentations from IRS employees who have experienced the agency's efforts to successfully implement the TCJA. 

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